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:: over and over again

Today I’m missing Ali Rose.

So I thought maybe you were, too.

Her mama has been really good at texting me little updates that she knows I wouldn’t want to miss.

Baby girl learned to walk this week. “15 steps across the kitchen floor” is what her text said. It was followed by a picture of her brother, arms wrapped around his little sister. This is the same brother who said, just days after Ali Rose came home,

Mom, I think she is our best-est gift.”

Several people have asked me if I’m grieving the loss of these children and I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t. I miss them often. It’s not one of those kinds of missing, though, where you wish the person wasn’t gone. I’m glad they’re gone. It’s what we were praying for from the first day they each came into our care – that God would place them in a long-term family, whether their biological one or a new one. So I’m glad they’re gone, because it means that prayer was answered.

It’s more that I miss being a mom. I miss having the responsibility of those five little hearts. I miss reading children’s books and fixing bottles and planning my day around naptime. I even miss hearing Eden Hannah’s “eh-eh-eh” in the middle of the night. I miss Lily’s hand in mine on long walks around the neighborhood – walks that led us into places in her heart where we’d never been before and (often enough) places in my heart where I needed to go. I miss waking up early with Ellie and laying on the couch together, both in silence, savoring what I knew wouldn’t last forever…what shouldn’t last forever. This is a strange place to be – in between – knowing that everything is as good as it possibly could be, but at the same time unable to ignore the void that’s created when the five most important people in your life suddenly move on.

I see it written on blogs and in books and sometimes on eloquent facebook statuses. Adoption is all about loss.

Yes, it’s a celebration, but someone…somewhere…loved and lost a child. Maybe, in an abandonment case, this is hard to imagine, but there was probably a caregiver in an orphanage who loved that child extra – more than the others. I’m grateful to have experienced the other side of adoption, getting to be the person who loves for a season, knowing that the child in my arms would soon move on. Someday (I hope), it will be my turn to be on the receiving end of a child who has been loved by many different people, often by people who will never know the rest of that child’s story. This experience has given me insight into those people. I’m praying for them even now. Praying that they’ll love those children with abandon, even while knowing that it won’t last forever. The investment is forever.

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This whole experience has been hard, but I would live this whole year over and over and over for the joy of placing these children in their parents’ arms. Each of those moments will forever be etched on my mind as precious.

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Yes, I’d do it over and over and over again. Yes, I miss them so much it hurts sometimes,

but isn’t it beautiful to know that God is good enough and big enough

for us to rest secure that when he breaks our hearts,

it’s with something even better and even bigger in mind

for me, for them, and for you?

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I’m so grateful to have known a tiny piece of God’s heart through the past year,

the lengths he went to to adopt us.

It’s Christmas Eve today.

Tomorrow is a celebration of a God who gave us his baby

because he had something better and bigger in mind for us.

And he’d do it over and over and over.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

show hide 10 comments

  • Kimberly Boyer -

    Mandie, your life, testimony, andall you do make me so happy…such inspiring encouragement to me so many days Thank you , Kim Boyer.ReplyCancel

    • Kim, I think the same things about you! So grateful for your example of love and faithfulness over the years. Give Taylor a hug from me! :)ReplyCancel

  • Mandie,
    Yesterday I clicked over from Katie’s blog and started reading. I have just finished. Every word. On 33 pages. I have laughed, and I have cried. Our Lord is amazing.

    Oh how I miss Uganda. I have travelled there twice this year. I think I may have even met you. 😉 Did you bring Eden to the King Fisher one night to pick up some things that her mommy sent for her with a couple of girls from Nashville that were on a Visiting Orphans trip? I was with that group. That was in June. Then I went back in October. I can’t wait to get back there. It’s looking like it will be July.

    I love how we make plans and then God does what He wants to anyway. Like you, I thought I knew what my life was supposed to look like. Instead of getting married and having babies, He led me to a Russian orphanage when I was 29 years old to adopt my little one that is now a big 8 year old (and I still haven’t found Mr. Right, which is OK with me!).

    For now, my heart is in Uganda and I am in Texas. I am waiting with great anticipation for what God will do next. Thank you for sharing your story. I have enjoyed reading every word.

    With love,
    AllisonReplyCancel

  • Susan -

    Wow! Hey Mandie. Two nights ago I found your blog by way of Katie Davis’. I went back and read everything and with tears in my eyes, I told my husband “I have to talk to her!” I was planning to contact you after the holidays, but when I read this I couldn’t wait. You see, God has been doing something amazing in my heart for babies in Uganda. I have been fostering babies for 12 years now here in North Carolina, so I know firsthand the feelings you are describing. Lately, however, we have not been needed and I have prayed for God to please bring us babies that need our love. In my prayer time one morning He whispered to my heart “I’m not bringing them to you because I need you to go to them.” He has opened my eyes and my heart to the needs in Uganda and keeps bringing them to my attention. We are praying that He will make it clear what He wants us to do; whatever it is, we are saying yes. I was so captured by your story and how you were able to love and care for these babies and find their forever families. I really feel like this is what we’re being called to, I’m just not sure exactly how. Anyway, I would love to talk with you sometime about your experiences and learn more about how it all works there.
    May God pour out His blessings over you and your family this Christmas.
    In Him,
    SusanReplyCancel

    • Susan, I’d love to connect and give you some places to start once you’re looking into maybe taking a trip to Uganda. Keep in touch!

      mjReplyCancel

  • Cindy -

    Sweetness.ReplyCancel

  • BEAUTIFUL BEYOND WORDS!!! I loved this post. It made me cry tears of pain and joy. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • The fact that you loved all of these children with abandon will bring a lifetime of gifts to you and them. Many blessings to you this Christmas.ReplyCancel

  • Jeanne Hildebrandt -

    Merry Christmas EVE!! What a wonderful message…you say it so well. I continue to pray for your heart as it heals. You are extraordinary and I am so glad you are part of my family. I love you and can’t wait to see you!!!ReplyCancel

  • Oh Mandie Joy. Love your heart.

    Thank you for this. We pray every day for Mama Betty, the babies home worker who loved our little M. It really is a heart-rending thing to think of the years of love I wasn’t there to give – so thankful that He was THERE and that He provides others to love and give.ReplyCancel

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