It is so hard to believe this day is finally here! We are now just counting down by hours, rather than months or days. I went to bed early and have been waking up off an on since about 2:30, and I just can’t sleep anymore. The last blog I wrote was from China, right before we came home with Ayla. That was just under 2 years ago, but I can remember it like it was yesterday. There have been SO many blogs in my head since then that have never made it in writing… funny moments, sweet moments, and lots of stories of God’s faithfulness.
I know those close to us have heard a lot of the stories throughout our process to Eva, but for her sake, I want to share them here so we can look back on them together when she’s older. We knew God calling us to adopt again about 8 months after we came home… November 2012. This was not our plan. On paper, it did not make sense for us to adopt. We couldn’t afford the first adoption and we had even less now. Some people are afraid to ask (and some aren’t, haha) if we struggle with infertility. The answer is we don’t know! We’ve never tried to get pregnant. After touring with the international children’s choir, we just really felt led to international adoption. After we brought Ayla home, we talked to several friends who were ahead of us and had adopted kids asking questions about their adoption… the tough questions about abandonment, and feeling unloved by their birth family. We know those moments lie ahead for us too, and we just thought it would be a beautiful thing for Ayla and Eva to have each other in those moments.
There were such amazing moments with Ayla’s adoption (you can look back at old blogs), that I was honestly a little nervous starting over. I wondered how it could possibly happen again the second time around. Not that we had to have fireworks… it ultimately comes down to God’s peace in our hearts, but I did want some stories to share with Eva. And God was gracious.
We wanted to settle on a name early on for Ayla’s sake. It’s hard enough talking about “a little sister in China”, much less one without a face or a name. So, we decided pretty quickly on Eva. I loved the meaning of it – “life-giving”. For a middle name we were torn. I loved Grace because her name would mean, “life giving grace,” but I also wanted to use Ann since it was my mom’s and my middle name. We had plenty of time to decide, so we just waited. Then one night I was awake in bed and decided to look up the meaning for Ann. And guess what? It means grace! So there we go… we are using Ann AND it means “life-giving grace.”
Little did I know when we used this name just how meaningful it would end up being. Back in August, my Big Daddy got really sick and we were told it wouldn’t bee long before he’d be with Jesus. Every time I saw him, he would ask, “Do we know who Eva is yet?” We had been told to expect a file around late September, so I didn’t think he would get to see who she was. I was shopping in Publix on August 29, when I saw I had missed a call from our social worker. When I called her back I was SHOCKED to hear that she had a file for us… for a little girl who wasn’t even one yet! I waited for her to email over the file, and after I went up and down the same aisle at least five times, I went home so I could look through everything. It was her! (I hoped Steven would agree when he got home from work – haha). We turned in the paperwork the next morning, and I got pictures printed to take to Big Daddy. We have pictures of him with Ayla and a picture of Eva that I am so thankful for! That was August 30. Eva’s first birthday was September 3, and Big Daddy went home on September 5.
Our family has been in a season of sorrow. We have been grieving together over the loss of my cousin Drew last month. The losses are very real, but our hope is sure! It has been hard to have such conflicting emotions at the same time, but I praise God for the bright spot Eva will be in a dark time for our family… a little “life-giving grace.”
Adoption is such a beautiful picture of the gospel. About 4 hours away from me right now, is a little 16-month old girl who has no idea that everything about her little life is going to change today. She is waking up about now (6:30 is the time we were told she wakes up… hopefully that will be changing too!), and her sweet nanny is getting her ready for the last time. She’ll be taken on a longer drive than she’s ever been on and be placed in the arms of a complete stranger who looks, smells, and sounds completely different from what she has always known. Can you imagine how traumatic that will be for her? It is heartbreaking to think about. We, on the other hand, have been counting down to this exciting day. Longing for it. Because we do know what’s in store. We are gaining a daughter and she is gaining a family… not because she’s done anything or has anything to offer, but because she is chosen. God chose this precious little one to be ours and is placing her in our family. Adoption – not just the process of getting to our child, but living in the reality of it every day, has brought a much sweeter understanding to my own salvation. The gospel is the adoption story of God’s pursuit of us. We would never love God except that He first loved us and went through great costs to bring us into His family. Parenting makes me realize the need for God’s grace on a daily basis. How often do we try to get it all together and bring something to the table each day? Or, how often do we feel unworthy because we’ve fallen short again? That’s the whole point… we can’t get it all together and nothing we can do makes us worthy. That’s why we need Christ. I think over the time Ayla has been with me. We’ve had some rough days… I mean, she’s three and she’s a little sinner with an imperfect mom. But never once has she ceased being mine. Never once have I decided she’s no longer my daughter. My love for her is not dependent on her. And then I think about Christ’s love for me, and I realize that’s what draws me to love Him.
So here we are… it’s Gotcha Day, or Eva Day as my friend calls it. And today, January 6, is also special for another reason. I know I am a huge nerd for figuring this out, but this is really cool. We got Ayla on March 5, 2012. She was 22 months and 1 day old on her gotcha day. Today, we have had Ayla for 22 months and 2 days… so she has now been with us longer than she was without us. I just love how God gives us these little things! So our girls’ birthdays are on the 3rd and 4th of the month, and their Gotcha’s are on the 5th and 6th. Lord willing, Eva will be in our arms around 2:30 China time, which is 12:30 am CST. We cannot wait to become a family of four in just a few hours! Please be in prayer for this time… for Eva as she leaves all she knows, for Ayla who has to learn to share mommy and daddy, for the nanny saying goodbye, and for our family that we will know how to best love our little girl today. We know so many are praying and are confident those prayers are being answered. See you soon… with the pics you’ve been waiting for!
(I promise the rest of the blogs will have pics... lots of pics on fb too).