I did much of my Christmas shopping through eBay one year only to discover that my bidding skills were lacking and it only added to my stress. I’d be 3 seconds from the auction closing chanting, “I got it, uh-huh,it’s mine, uh-huh” only to have some heartless person outbid me in the last fraction of a second by 37 cents. “Nooooooooo!!!!” My husband would run to see what the tragedy was and the conversation would go something like this.
“I LOST IT!”
He’d ask, “The Georgia Tech stadium replica--new in box?”
“Worse. The American Girl ice skaters outfit in mint condition” taking a deep breath, “with free shipping!”
“Outdone by PixieDust437?”
But now I have found something on my computer that's better than ebay . . . blogs. Here’s the thing. Blogs are like the eBay of people. If you’re looking for a friend who has adoption advice, or can make you laugh, or has a great recipe to share, or understands your hurt, or is like-minded in things that matter to you . . . sometimes, that’s the easiest way to find them. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing better than a real live friend to laugh with, confide in, and cry on. There’s just an element of friendship that can’t be achieved with a keyboard and computer screen. Yet there are some wise and wonderful folks that I never would have met without the bloggy world and over time I want to introduce you to them.
The first one I want you to meet is a lady named Linny. Her blog is called A Place Called Simplicity. She’s a pastor’s wife and mom of 10 (so far) who lives in Colorado. Her posts make me laugh and cry--they encourage and inspire and convict me. I don’t want to tell too much because I want you to read her stories yourself. We often read her posts as part of our family devotion time. A good place to start is with her ongoing series called Memorial Box Mondays then read the items under “Special Posts.” (You can click on the bloggy button below to get there.)
Her Memorial Box idea is based on Joshua 4 where God instructs the Israelites to pick up 12 stones from the River Jordan as a memorial of what He has done for them. Their family Memorial Box contains little items that trigger a memory of how God has answered prayer. I’ve started one for our family so that when we are wandering through the wilderness and our long-term memory is hijacked by our short-term needs, we can look in this box and remember His faithfulness yesterday, today, and tomorrow. It’s a sweet way to build our family’s legacy and I hope my children someday start their own Memorial Boxes.
So, the first item I'm going to share about is a photo that you’ll see in a bit (no peeking). Here’s the quick background for those who don’t know. In August of 2007, we heard of an emergency need to place some children for adoption from a Christian children’s home in Guatemala (there was concern that they would be moved to a government institution). We wrote the director of the home that we would love to adopt a girl of any age or a boy younger than our younger daughter. Danilo was the last child needing a home and we were the last family on the list. We started paperwork on him having seen only one picture, having no history, and never having met him. We made a decision in 24 hours that would forever change our family. It was quite a leap of faith for this woman who won't buy a microwave without months of Consumer Report research.
Our prayer was that if God didn’t want this child in our home, that He would close the door. God had called us to adopt so who were we to question His plan? But there were nights I’d wake up at 2 a.m. in a panic wondering what on earth were we doing. What if he had behavior issues that we didn’t know how to handle? What if he had delays and handicaps and was never able to live independently? What if he had experienced abuse that he would act out in our home? I was praying that God would give us some kind of sign that he was truly ours so I could have peace that we were doing the right thing.
A few weeks later, a team of men from our church visited Danilo’s orphanage to do some construction work. They returned with hundreds of photos, not knowing which children were being adopted. There were 9 families from our church adopting from the same home and we had been invited to our fellowship hall to watch a slide show from their trip. The men told us when we saw our child, to call out his or her name and they would make copies of those photos.
We were giddy with excitement to see new photos of our little ones. We all joked that these were our “ultrasound” pics, but inside I had a knot in my stomach. I didn’t have a good track record with ultrasounds.
You see, when I was pregnant with our other three, I could never figure out what I was looking at. With our first child I commented, “Awww. I see her cute round rear end.” And the ultrasound gal replied, “Oh, that’s your full bladder.” I knew I had gotten it right when I exclaimed, “Look at her precious profile!” But again I was a bit off: “Umm, ma’am, that’s your partially digested breakfast.” From then on I would look at these black and white blurs and pretend to see what seemed so clear to everyone else.
So there we were sitting as photo after photo flashed up on the screen. Families were squealing, “There he is! That’s my baby!” But I just knew I was going to be the one mom who didn’t recognize her child. In the sea of beautiful faces of dark eyes and silky black hair, I needed some kind of divine caption stating, “Hey, Kathie, this one is your son!”
As the slide show progressed, everyone else had identified their child. I thought perhaps our little guy's photo had come and gone and we had missed it. The prayers continued, “Please, God, help me out here.” If only God could stick a Ga. Tech shirt on him (the team our family cheers for), or maybe some Mickey Mouse ears (we‘re big Disney people), or perhaps have him holding a sign that says, “I’m a Williams.”
I resigned myself to the fact that God would most likely not Photoshop these pics for my benefit, that is until I saw this one.
I thought, "Wait a minute. I think I saw him and he's wearing what looks like a Disney shirt." Several pics passed and I was going to ask them to go back until this popped up.
That was him! But I couldn't make out what the shirt said until this one.
There was Danilo sporting a “Disney dreaming” t-shirt. The tears poured down my face and I looked over at Brad who was a mess, too. I was too stunned to speak but Olivia, Ava, and Brady squealed, “That’s our brother! There he is! Look, he loves Disney World, too!”
Our friends started kidding us. “You mean you’re 3 weeks into this adoption and you’ve already sent him a Disney shirt?!” We explained that we hadn’t sent him anything. The shirt he was wearing must have been donated by someone else. And Danilo just happened to pick that shirt out of a box of clothes shared by 17 boys and just happened to be wearing it the day our mission team stopped by to take his photo. God is good to answer the prayer of this crazy mama who desperately needed a clear ultrasound photo.
But you know what, I didn’t need the cheat sheet after all. I recognized his sweet face before I even saw the shirt. But it was neat that our God of big and small things cared enough to make sure I knew this child was our son. I’ve never questioned it again and after all this time of loving him, I wonder why I ever doubted.