As my daughter’s twelfth birthday approaches, I am drawn once again to the mother on the other side of the world; the mother who gave a piece of herself away the day they dropped this bundle at the gate of an orphanage. I wonder if this day is set aside as a day of remembering, or if the memory of her lost one is buried deep within heart, to painful to touch. If so, I pray the Lord touches that wound and replaces it with a peace that surpasses all understanding.
(Originally posted November 5, 2014)
I pull the brush through her long, thick hair and watch her reflection in the mirror. Her lips never stop moving as she shares a story from school that day. She pauses and looks in the mirror and asks, “I wonder what my birth mom looks like?”
And this question steals my breath and quickens my heart as I search for the perfect words to say. Because I desperately want to shield her from her early story and the unknowns that international adoption offers. I want to rescue her identity from words like “abandoned” and “orphan.”
So I take these moments to teach her of God’s amazing ability to weave a more beautiful story through the events that make up our lives.
Because God reveals beauty in the words that fall hard at our feet. He has taught me not to hide from them; instead I have learned to embrace the hard.
When the world says abandoned, God says “chosen.”
When her little friends say orphan, God says, “my precious one.”
When the world says unloved, God says, “securely wrapped in my never-ending, forever love.”
This adoption process goes on much longer than the two year paper trail and the flights across the world. This adoption process is a continual recognition and enlarging of God’s unconditional love for us; His chosen and much-loved children, grafted in to His family through adoption.
God has taught me, and is teaching her, to embrace Him in the unknown edges of her story. Because international adoption offers more unknowns than answers, and leaves us with questions that will never be answered.
And it’s at these moments, that I think of you, an unknown Chinese mother. A mother living with her own very hard unknowns. It’s at these moments, that I pray the Lord will reveal His great love for you and redeem the hard parts of your story; that He will fill the void of the unknowns of your life.
You will always tug on the edges of her story, the story that is shaping her in to the woman God created her to be.
Her story will always include you.
And as I stare at her reflection in that mirror, and take in her features that are so clearly not mine, I smile. I can’t say for certain, but I can say with some confidence, “Look in the mirror, Grace. I think she probably looks a lot like you.”