Meet Mac McQuack (or Mrs. Beaky) depending on how you look at things. And since we really don't know how to look at those types of things, for the time being, we're just going to stick with Mac.
As I'm typing this, I can hear Mac quacking away! It's supposed to storm here and the boys were concerned about the neighbor's cat, so tonight Mac is hanging out in my laundry room. I cannot help but laugh at what a crazy day it has been, what a crazy life we are leading, and I can't stop wondering what crazy lessons the Lord wants to teach us with this little guy. (It's not the first time the Lord has used a feathery friend as a sign! Read another crazy bird story here.)
The morning started early yesterday for my little blond-headed boy who wakes with the sun. I'm learning how important it is to sneak in that one-on-one time whenever I get a chance, and I knew that it would be a good opportunity to hang out with just Barrett while the big boys did school and the girls slept. So I decided to take my coffee outside and watch him play in the sandbox. While he was digging away and filling up his dump truck, one load after another, I kept hearing an unusual sound. A bird, maybe? Our yard (and sometimes our house) is full of them. But then something caught my eye. A little ball of yellow fur waddling through our backyard! Before I could open my mouth, Barrett started chasing after the little duck, squealing with delight. I couldn't believe my eyes!
I called for Will and the boys to come outside and in a matter of minutes they were ready to claim him (her?) as our very own pet. They picked him up, stroked his soft yellow fur, and started trying to decide on a name. They made him a home in our baby pool and then headed off to the Feed and Seed Store to buy some duck food and other necessary duck supplies. I was left at home duck-sitting, wondering what in the world a duckling was doing in our yard and what in heavens we were going to do with a pet duck. And so the story begins...
One little duckling who needed a home...
While Will was driving the boys to the store, he told me that he was praying and asking the Lord to show him what this was all about. We both knew that there was more to the story than what we could see with our eyes. (There always is!!!) We just didn't know what! Within a few minutes of Will's silent prayers, the lady at the Feed Store told Will something interesting. "You know ducks can IMPRINT, don't you?" Well, no, we didn't know that and I didn't really know what she meant until I started doing my own research. The more I read, the more I marveled at the Lord's providence and faithfulness in sending this fluffy, yellow duckling into our backyard. Bizarre as it may sound, I have no doubt that Mac McQuack was sent here for a purpose!!! I can only smile at God's sense of humor! Crazy, I know!
Over the past few days, I've learned a lot about ducks and about the phenomenon of imprinting. It seems that God designed ducks (and geese) to bond in a very unique way. When they get taken away from their momma, they lose their identity. They lose their family. They lose their pack. But that's where imprinting comes in. Amazingly, as you begin caring for the duck, you become their identity. They become one of you. They actually think they are one of you. Even if they look different than you. Even though they are different than you. No matter what, they stick with you. They follow you around! They need to be with you! They want to belong! They imprint! They attach! So when you choose a duck for a pet, you're choosing it for the long haul. It's incredible how God made these creatures!
Lest you think this post is just about ducks or that our big news is Mr. Mac McQuack, here is the rest of the story. The real story behind this story!
There's another little one who needed a family. Not a little duckling, but a sweet, little girl. An ocean away. A little girl from Sophi's country with beautiful dark skin and dark hair.
Meet the newest member of the Blackmon family. Well, not officially ours yet, but in our hearts, the work has begun. The supernatural, God-planned phenomenon of imprinting, her little life joined to ours. Knit together, not in my womb, but in my heart. An incredible journey just beginning!
We've been looking at her picture on Reece's Rainbow for over a month now. Reading through her file, watching her videos. Praying for her, seeking the Lord's direction. And the Friday before Easter, we took that first step. We sent in our commitment papers and are already moving ahead on updating our home study! We never imagined that we would be adopting again, so soon, but here we are, clearly being led down this path by our Faithful Father.
Lifting us off our feet, growing our faith. Reminding us what it's all about! What really matters! What He has called us to do! Walking by faith, NOT BY SIGHT, not by what our eyes see, or what medicals say, or what doctors and specialists advise, or what our bank account looks like, but simply by faith in a Father who knows what is best, whose heart is good and kind, and whose wisdom far exceeds ours. We trust Him, and so we follow. Even when it looks crazy or feels foolish, we follow. We follow with hearts that, one minute are excited beyond words about this new adventure, and then the very next minute, hearts that are crying out, "Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief." We follow one step at a time, one paper at a time (and there are hundreds, all that must be filled out, signed, notarized, and apostilled) and one payment at a time (more on that to come). Bottom line, we follow! We follow Him, and He has led our steps to you, little one! Father God has a plan and purpose for your life. Your birth was not a mistake. Your condition was not an accident or a surprise to your Maker. Before you took your first breath, you already belonged! You were chosen by Him, and now, you are chosen by us. You have a family now. A Momma, a Daddy, three big brothers, a little brother, a big sister, a baby sister, and a pet duck!!! There's also a whole slew of family and friends who love you and are praying for you! Yes, you have a special need, but that just makes you all the more special!
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
Every time I look at Mac the Duck, I shake my head and smile! He's soft and fluffy, and he's hilarious chasing after the boys in the backyard. I have no idea where he came from or how he ended up in our backyard, and I can't even imagine what we will do with a pet duck. A duckling is one thing, but a full-grown quacking duck? However, the one thing I do know is that this little guy was Heaven-sent encouragement. If Father God designed a duck to be able to imprint and attach to a new family, then, of course, He can open our little girls' hearts to attach as well!
Attachment is one of those words that pop up all the time for anyone who has gone through an adoption. I've learned all about Reactive Attachment Disorder. I've read books and blogs and often have people ask me if I think that attachment has happened with Sophi. For us, this is one of our biggest hurdles and, probably, my biggest concern. In my mind, it's even bigger than her learning how to talk. We are constantly talking to her about family, telling her that families stick together, and pointing out the difference between family and strangers. And I am constantly having to lay my fears and worries down at the foot of the Cross, confessing my unbelief, and asking for the faith to believe He can work this miracle in her heart. I have no idea how much Sophi is capable of understanding and really not sure where we are on the attachment spectrum. But ultimately I know that no matter what we do or don't do, attachment can only come from our Father's work in her heart and in ours. Because of all that she experienced (and didn't experience) in the first 5 years of her life, we know that she needs much healing and comfort in all the broken, shut-down, and darkened places in her heart and her mind. (Watch this documentary to get some insight into life in an institution in Sophi and Little Girl's country.) It will take time, His timing, not ours. The same will be true, I'm sure, for our newest little girl. And I'm not going to lie. It's frustrating. It's hard. It's messy. It's been one of the most trying aspects of this journey...
Adoption is messy, and some days I can't believe we are about to walk down this road again. What will this next adoption look like? Will she struggle in the ways Sophi has struggled? Will it be harder? Easier? Will she understand more? Will these two little girls ever know and understand that they are loved and chosen, that they belong? We pray they will. We hope and believe they will. And, so, we continue to walk by faith, one foot in front of the other! Thankful for the feats He puts in front of us and the faith He gives us to follow!
I'm also thankful that as we are starting out on this newest adventure, the Lord sent a little duck to remind me that all things are possible. All things possible for our Little Girl who Wants to Find Her Voice. All things possible for our Little Girl with the Dark Hair and Feet that Don't Move. All things possible for every single one of us! It might take a lifetime, but my hope and prayer is that these little girls will attach to us and us to them, our hearts knit together! Imprinted for life!
And so the next chapter begins in this crazy, messy, and beautiful story! I'm thankful to be a part of it, and thankful for you, following along too! We need your prayers now, more than ever before! More details to come soon! XOXO, Melanie (Do you remember what XO Mission stands for? X an Orphan off the list! Be looking for updates at xomission.com and for ways that you can be involved in our newest adoption journey!)