Wednesday, July 10, 2013


A few days ago I was tucking in my beautiful 13 year old daughter, Caitlin.  She has been home for four months now and the changes are remarkable.  This particular evening she was extremely talkative and attempting to convey to me several stories within the confines of her limited language skills.  One story stood out above all the rest.

She cradled an imaginary baby in her arms and said, "Caitlin - China."  The implications clearly being that this was Caitlin, as a baby in China.  Then she said, "Caitlin - mommy, daddy - China.", referring to her biological parents.  What happened next was heartbreaking.  With tear soaked eyes, Caitlin took the imaginary baby (herself) and threw it on the floor ........ her parents had thrown her away! This was what she had been told her whole life.

 How does one respond when confronted with the truth of a child being discarded like yesterday's garbage?  How could anyone right such a wrong?  With a quivering lip and open arms I enveloped my beautiful daughter and she readily accepted the comfort.  I explained that now she has a new mommy and daddy and we will love her forever - but the reality of her tragic life cuts me deeply to the core.

I applaud my daughter for the healing steps of discussing her past.  I revel in the knowledge that in only four short months she has learned so much.  She now swims like a fish, ripsticks, bike rides, kayaks, does taekwondo, studies her English with conviction, is immensely helpful around the house and even gives and receives hugs.  She is a miracle and a blessing all rolled into one amazing package. 

Were things always this great?  Most definitely not!  Four months ago, in China, an incredibly shy little girl rounded the corner and did not want to be touched.  Our first night together was comprised of mostly tears.  On day two we got nothing but dirty looks.  For much of the next several weeks and months we alternated between one or the other; or both!

People think that any adopted child must feel so lucky.  How many times have I heard, "They've won the lottery!", but the reality is much different.  These children had almost nothing; but what they had was comforting to them, even if it was abusive.  They need time to grieve the loss of their orphanage, friends and care givers, their country, their language and everything they have ever known.  The older ones had to make the courageous choice to leave everything behind and even had to sign their own adoption paperwork.  In many ways it is even harder for them to look back and know that they did it to themselves.

But time passes ......... very slowly at first - and you dig down deep and find something inside of yourself you didn't know was there.  You find compassion and love that God planted within you when He accepted you as His child.  When He loved you in spite of your actions and dirty looks; in spite of everything you did or did not do ............. He loved you ........... and you find this grace within you and you pour it out on your child.  You love her unconditionally regardless of her behavior and you, too, begin to change.  Together you grow and understand her pain and you live through it by her side.  And when one day she tells you why she hurts so badly and she shows you how her own parents threw her away, something special happens.  You hurt together, and you grieve together and you both become who God intended you to be ................. Father and Daughter .............. Forever!

 This is the remarkable journey of our newest family member but it is only the beginning.  We know we may yet have many difficult days ahead.  It is the story of three amazing siblings, Matthew, Luke and Rachel who have risen to every challenge and wrapped their hearts around their newest sister.  It is the story of one incredible woman and my wife of 19 years who holds us all together.  It is a journey of hope, sorrow and love that binds us together in a way that we could have never fathomed.  It a story that has helped us, through God, to become better and stronger as individuals as well as a family.  It, too, could be your story!

Millions of children in China, the U.S. and around the world long for nothing more than to be loved; to have a full tummy; to have a mommy and a daddy.  It could be you that answers their pleas for help.  When I go to bed at night my heart aches as I am haunted by the faces of those I had to leave behind.  I long for nothing more in this world then to go back and save another child.  To give someone hope; where there is none.  To show a child love who has known none.  Perhaps, you too, could answer a silent cry from the other side of the world?  Perhaps, you too, are someone's miracle?

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