Friday, December 2, 2011

128 Seconds

Late last night, I decided to check my e-mail while I was warming a bottle for my little one. I'm pretty sure my heart skipped a beat when I read these words:

I clicked on your blog and scrolled down and was so surprised to see who your S is! We loved and prayed our hearts out for her too, and I'm so excited to know that you will be her family... I read through your blog a little and read that you only have her one picture. Did you see a video? When I was searching for adoption information in the spring, I found her description on another agency's waiting child list...I spoke with someone on the phone to see if they had more information about her, and was sent the video. I think it is a couple of years old...I'm sure it'd be OK to send it to you if you haven't seen it...  

This e-mail was from a friend of a friend who had been reading about little Olga. I could not believe it! I immediately responded that we had not seen a video and all we had was one little picture - S and her crazy, striped stockings and even that picture is dated 2 years ago. I have looked at her little face countless times. I've read through the sketchy medicals over and over again, trying to piece together her little life. We've asked our agency for any additional information, and they've said several times that we should be glad we have as much information as we do. Over the past few months, I had resigned myself to studying that one little picture. I knew we would get to meet her soon enough, but the waiting has been so hard. To have a glimpse into her life would be such a gift. 

It took several attempts to get the video e-mailed and finally downloaded on to our computer, and it was not until this morning that my four little boys huddled around me and Will, and we saw 128 seconds of our little S.  I wondered if the boys should see it, but they were dying to see their little sister. Will had seen it before the rest of us, and his only words were, "It's both heartbreaking and hopeful." At first, I almost did not believe it was her. She was so tiny. Her hair was so much darker than in the picture. She must have been about three years old. She had just learned to walk, and the video captured her taking a few steps with the help of a caregiver. The first half of the video had sound, and we could hear her whimpers and cries. After taking a few steps, she let out a loud fuss, and did the classic "legs go limp move" and plopped down on the floor. At that point, I was trying to find the "hopeful" and laughed to myself knowing she would fit in with these boys great. I've seen that move so many times! :) The second half of the video she crawled a little and her caregiver positioned her with a few stuffed animals around her. It was obvious that she did not know what to do with them. In the background, you could see a camera flashing. She was still crying. She looked overwhelmed. She looked lost. She looked scared. Oh, she looked so very, very sad. My heart was breaking... 

And I felt the fear creeping in. I've felt it before. I felt it the first time I read through her medicals. During the first few weeks after we committed to adopting her, I felt it every time I looked at her picture or even thought about adoption. I felt the fear when I had to read through the text book for our educational requirements of our home study that described "institutional behaviors" and what to expect from a child adopted from Eastern Europe. I knew this fear all too well. 

I could not stop thinking about all the things that could be wrong with her, both physically and emotionally. What would it be like to have her home? Would she ever be ok? Questions flooded my mind. I was filled with such an intense sadness for the days, months, and years that she has spent in that orphanage with those hard, concrete floors and paint chipping off the walls. My husband was right. It was heartbreaking to see. Even my 4-year old kept saying, "Mom, she looks so scared and so sad." "Yes, baby, she is sad and scared. It's hard to watch isn't it?" Along with the sadness I was feeling, I could not shake that fearful spirit welling up inside of me. "Lord, where is the hopeful part? I don't see it yet." 

Ever so slowly, though, as I watched those 128 seconds over and over and over again, I felt my faith begin to rise up. "Lord, I do believe. Help my unbelief." I've prayed those words more times than I can count over these past 6 months. More times today than I can count too. As I was crying out to the Lord and confessing my doubts, fears, and unbelief, I began to feel His peace and presence lifting me out of that pit of fear. "Lord, You can do ALL things. Nothing is impossible to You. You can heal this little girl. You can take away the sadness. You are the author of all joy. You are our healer. Let my faith arise. Open my eyes. I lift my hands to believe again. As I pour out my heart, these things I remember. You are faithful God forever."


...to bring good news to the afflicted...
to bind up the broken-hearted,
to proclaim liberty to captives,
and freedom to prisoners...
to comfort all who mourn...
giving them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting...
Instead of your shame you will have a double portion,
and instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion.
Isaiah 61:1-7

Verse after verse, promise after promise started filling my mind. EVERY TIME, every single time, over the past few months that I have been attacked by that spirit of unbelief (and, yes, I believe it is an attack), the Lord has been so faithful to point me to His promises for S and for myself. All of a sudden, I remembered the picture of the cross and the words I wrote in my post about Olga just a few days ago.


Yes, it's a path of foolishness, but I know that there is ONE who has walked ahead of us down this very path. His blood-stained footprints lead the way. His nail-scarred hands are always reaching out to steady, comfort, and guide us....when you look at that sweet face and those big eyes, I hope (her) condition seems small underneath the shadow of the cross! I pray that whatever fears and reservations you have about adoption shrink under the shadow of the cross, too!


Now, when I look at that video and look at S's sweet face and big brown eyes, I am seeing it all under the shadow of the cross too. I am resting in, trusting in, and CLINGING to with all that is in me the POWER of the cross! The nail-scarred hands of Jesus are reaching out to me today to steady me. The very words I had just written, longing to encourage a family who might be wrestling with their own fears of adoption, are now comforting and encouraging my own heart. My fears and reservations are shrinking. They're being washed away. I see His blood-stained footprints leading the way, even as I watch those tottering, shaky steps of my little girl.


Listen to the words of this song by Jeremy Camp. I heard it a few minutes ago, and the words took on a whole new meaning as I reflected on all that the Lord has been doing in my heart today. 

Seated above, enthroned in the Father's love
Destined to die, poured out for all mankind
God's only Son, perfect and spotless One
He never sinned, but suffered as if He did

All authority, every victory is Yours
All authority, every victory is Yours

Savior, worthy of honor and glory, worthy of all our praise, You overcame
Jesus, awesome in power forever, awesome and great is Your name, You overcame

Power in hand, speaking the Father's plan
You're sending us out, light in this broken land

We will overcome by the blood of the Lamb
and the word of our testimony, everyone overcome

I cannot even begin to describe how thankful I am for having these 128 seconds of S's life captured on video. I'm thankful for the Lord's perfect timing and providence in allowing us to see this video. I'm thankful that one day she will have a little glimpse of her story and her past. I am also so thankful to know that since last December, she has been prayed for by this sweet, new friend of mine who sent me her video. More than two years ago, when this video was taken, the Lord knew that I would be sitting here tonight watching my tiny daughter. Even as I am listening to her crying, I am, through my own tears, praising Him for His faithfulness and thanking Him for His mercy! We will overcome by the blood of the Lamb...

XOXO

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