"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”- William Butler Yeats

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

When sleep doesn't come....I write.

Yes, it's 3:32 a.m. I've been awake since 2 a.m., and have watched enough infomericals to finally drag myself out of bed. I'm behind on returning emails, but I promise I will soon!

Finally, after about an hour and a half of laying there, I came to the computer to read about Liberian adoptions (my new obsession) and pretty much to surf blogs. After a bit, I decided I would go ahead and share about our sweet baby girl's 3rd birthday.

Anna Grace turned 3 today!! (Thank you to those that emailed wishing her a happy birthday!) We had a small celebration at home with just family. It was nice and uneventful. She was so excited to once again be singing, "Happy Birthday, Anna Grace!"

Towards the middle of dinner, her eyes were a bit glassy and she wasn't her happy-go-lucky, non-stop-energy self. After everyone left, I took her into the bedroom to put on her pj's, and noticed she felt warm. I put the thermometer on her and lo and behold....103.7! Poor baby! She never even said she didn't feel well. Amanda is on antibiotics for strep, so I have a feeling that's where we are headed with her. Please, if you can, say a prayer for her quick recovery and that the other two little ones don't catch whatever it is she has. It would be so appreciated.

Throughout the day today, I spent a lot of it thinking about Anna Grace. I thought about how we celebrated her birthday last year with a baby shower awaiting her arrival. It's been a roller coaster of a ride since she's been home and we've both changed and grown so much. God is truly faithful and he sometimes pushes us out of the box so that we can grow closer to Him and so that He could mold us into the person He created us to be.

As Anna Grace lay asleep in my bed tonight, after I awoke at 2:00 a.m., I began pondering about how much I truly, truly love this angel. I thanked God and His Blessed Mother for finally giving me the grace of loving her completely and unconditionally. But, the icing on the cake is that I believe that she, too, finally loves me that same way. I can't tell you how often lately I am carrying her and she puts her sweet, little head on my shoulder and taps my back. Her sign of being content. Sort of like a cat purring. :) It melts my heart. I find myself walking around thanking God for her being in my life, numerous times throughout the day.

I also thought about her birthmother and wondered if she thought about Anna Grace today. She must have. I prayed that she some how knew that her baby was part of a family that loved her so much.

I thought about Anna Grace's abandonment and the reasons behind it. Was it because of her special need? Was it because she was a girl? Or simply, was it because God destined her to be our daughter. I choose to believe the latter.

Anna Grace has come such a long way. She loves her family and her family loves her. We still have struggles and I think we will for a long time to come, but I can handle them now. We both can handle them now.

Being Catholic, confession is one of our sacraments. I admit, not one of my favorites, but none-the-less, something that I very much need in my life. It just happened to be that one of those really, really bad days with Anna Grace (no eye contact, total defiancy, etc.) was a couple of weeks before Holy week. It was also the day that our church had a reconciliation mass. Our Lord knew I needed it. I remember going into the confessional and just bawling. God bless our sweet priest. He is so patient and compassionate, everything Christ wants each of us to be.

I apologize, I digress. It's late. Anyways, I will share this because although I know the confessional is confidential, I think that only pertains to the priest's end of it, and not mine, but I mostly want to share because I want to give God the glory for using this faithful servant to put things into perspective for me.

Back to the confessional. After I let out all of my negative feelings (which are not really sins), many of which I was ashamed of even feeling, he said to me. "We are all given crosses to carry and to bear. Anna Grace may just be your cross. Think about the cross we gave Jesus to carry, yet he loved us unconditionally and carried the cross, humbly and willingly until his death." WOW! Those were powerful words. Words I will never forget.

My first immediate reaction, as will probably yours be, was to think that my child could never be a burden, a cross. But, as the night passed and I prayed and I thought about his words, they were so true.

I've changed so much as a person with each of my adoptions. Beginning with my thoughts about birthmothers (with AJ), to becoming more of a humble human being and learning so much about humility from a child (with Kai), to being brought to my knees quite often asking the Lord to give me wisdom, guidance and the true heart of a mother towards Anna Grace. God has used this little girl to show me how to love unconditionally. To show me how to love as He loves. Not how to love when you are loved. Not how to love when you are needed. But how to love, truly blindly love, with all of your heart when it's most difficult to. To love when you are rejected, as our Lord was. Although His love is unchanging, I believe that's when He had to have loved us most.

I lay tonight watching her sleep, stroking her hair and thanking God for his faithfulness. His trust in believing that I could do this. Even at times when I didn't think I could. I know I could never have gotten this far without Him. It is because of Him that I have gotten this far.

A couple of times, when I was stroking her hair and whispering to her, through tears, how blessed we were to have her and how much I loved her, she stirred in her sleep and realized she was in my bed. She slightly opened her eyes and reached out for me to hold her hand. I did and she quickly fell back asleep with a smile on her face. The love in my heart at that moment seemed to fill my chest to a point where I thought it would explode.

The little girl that used to reach her arms out to strangers to be picked up, now runs to Mama when approached by strangers. She trusts and knows she is safe with me.

The little girl who hated being carried like a baby and nuzzled, who raged, scratched and hit, now says daily, "I wanna sit with Mama" as she climbs onto my lap to play with her toys, watch tv or just to be cuddled.

The little girl who cried incessantly when she first came home and I tried to put her in our bed to sleep with us, now begs to "sleep in Mama's bed" and falls asleep holding my hand.

The little girl who rarely gave me eye contact, who used to shut her eyes to block me out, now cradles herself in my arms and takes my face into her hands to make sure that I am looking at her when she speaks.

I am blessed beyond measure. Not once or twice, but countless times. Our God is a sovereign God who rejoices in our joy. Anna Grace is pure joy and I know that our Savior is smiling down and thinking, "It took a while for this Mama to get it. But, as always, I've done it again. A perfect match!"

Thank you, Jesus! Happy 3rd birthday, my beautiful girl!
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Tammy said...

What a wonderful post. The love you and Anna Grace have for each other is amazing. :)


geminirn said...

AWW!!Love this post..simply beautiful,it has been amazing to watch this precious little one bloom under your loving care over the past year!!

The Ferrill's said...

Hey Ohilda!
I love this post. Much of what you said is how I feel too about how much this adoption experience has changed ME! You put everything so beautifully!
I will be praying for AG to feel better and no one else to get sick!
I hope everything works out with the camera and taxes situations! I'm glad you were able to salvage the memory card!
Blessings to you!

waiting4Isabella said...

Wow - what a beautiful blog you wrote. The Lord has blessed you with words of wisdom. I can tell by your writing that you spoke from the heart true and sincere.

Love you, your sis.

Cammie said...

Sounds like you have come a long way! God is good!

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