September 28th was the day Jesus took my Brooke home.
It has been two years....many families who have lost a child point out that it is now two years closer to when I will see her again. They are right. But just now it doesn't help.
I will see that sweet face again. She is with my beloved Savior. But right now, it is just too far away.
When I went to her grave last year, I laid down and cried. I cried a whole year's worth of tears. And I asked God, "Why?" Why my baby girl? Why now? Why, my Lord? I didn't really expect an answer - so many times, the answer to those questions have to wait until I can look in Christ's eyes to hear. Instead I felt a deep calm settle on my soul. I suddenly thought there would be a little girl named Glory that would make it all clear. I didn't really trust that feeling - how many times do we "feel" something and it turns out to just be our imagination? But I thought about it as I drove home after crying out my grief for the day. In my mind, it was going to be another precious little girl with Down Syndrome that would ease the pain of Brooke's loss.
Well....now I know.
God brought a little girl into our lives at the end of July. We had gone through the process of getting ready to adopt again. We were trying to go back from Bryson (in earlier blog posts) and a little boy aging out from Serenity's orphanage. Nothing went smoothly. In the end, Bryson had passed away months before and the other little boy had already aged out. Okay. Heartache. Now what? What was God asking? We prayed with no clear direction - that is always a heartbreaking time. God seems to be calling, but we don't know where to go.
We got an email from an agency that we had worked with before saying they needed more families willing to adopt children domestically with special needs. We thought, "Why not?" and sent in our homestudy - all the while knowing it would take a very special situation that a family would choose US with such a large family.
Then one Friday night, we got a phone call. There was a little girl. With a terminal diagnosis. And no family. Everything ran through my mind at once. THIS was little Glory. THIS was the one God whispered to my heart about. I pictured something happy, soothing, and a balm to heal the scar on my soul. Instead, because of having to walk this road with Brooke, we knew God could and would walk us through ANYTHING. BUT I DID NOT WANT TO WALK THAT ROAD AGAIN! To say Don and I wrestled for hours (because we had only hours to give our decision) would be to put it mildly.
I felt that we were standing at a crossroads. We could take the "easy" (ha ha!) way that we were already walking....hadn't we given a lot already? Wasn't our plate so full it felt things were falling off? Didn't we have enough to do already? We could say no and just keep on our road. The "comfortable" road. (Okay, that makes me laugh...this road has not been comfortable for a long time - full of joy unspeakable - a road I would never change - but NOT comfortable.) OR we could choose to go through the valley of shadow. Again. But I also knew He would be right with us on that road.
A few days later I was on my way to a new state. I held little Glory close to my heart and began to cry already. How was I going to let this tiny girl go? But God was already writing a new story....maybe the diagnosis was not what they thought? Maybe a doctor who was biased in his opinions? We are still waiting to find out. But I hold this tiny Glory so close to my heart. Brooke's legacy - my new baby girl.
(Sorry, scanned picture from a studio..can't get it scanned right)
Please pray for the precious birth mother. I got to meet her and love her dearly. What a hard, hard thing to have to do - yet, she gave up her baby because she loved her so very much. She chose the baby's best, not her own.
I still wish for my Brookie. But just like our Mercy-girl gave us the strength to move into the world of special needs. My Brooke gave us the strength to move into the valley of the shadow.
By the way, God has been busy these last months (as He always is). With her adoption hearing a week away, I would like to introduce this little birdie. She joined us in an amazing way in Nov 2016. Through a God-directed mistake, we heard about a newborn in the US with Apert Syndrome - just like Serenity and Jillian. In one week, we went from thinking "What, Lord?" to "There is no way a family would choose us?" to "Wow! Okay. Here we go!"
She was born 6 weeks early. She is fed via gtube. She started out at 4 1/2 lbs and has now made it to 15lbs. We have had a lot of hospital stays and surgeries already in the last 10 months....but we are soooo in love.
I wish I knew how to rotate this....but this is our darling spunky little birdie.
God is good. Life is hard....but God is good. Even as we walk the valley of the shadow mourning the loss of Brooke. Even though our hearts continue to mourn the loss of Nora. Even as each day is bursting at the seams and I don't know how to do it all. Even with literal sleepless nights....I cannot believe how He has blessed us. It is not because of anything in us - in fact, it is in spite of us.
There are still a lot of surgeries and unknowns ahead of us. So much to trust Him for. So much to wait and see what He chooses to do.
To Him be all the glory, honor, and praise!