And then there are clues that an adoption is in its first trimester. The kitchen counters are overflowing with random papers from tax returns to veterinary records. There's a stack of books about attachment on the bedside table. And the most prized possessions are a copy of a completed homestudy and a referral photo proudly displayed on the refrigerator.
I guess like a second pregnancy, this second adoption already has me comparing our journey to Daniel with our journey to this next child. But it also has me remembering things long forgotten from that time three years ago when we were working on our paperwork for Daniel.
I remember a precious conversation I had with Ava one night as I was tucking her in bed. She asked, "Mom, if I had been a little girl in an orphanage, do you think you would have chosen me?"
My response came before she could even finish her sentence: "Oh, sweetheart, I would have known you were mine the minute I saw you. In fact, I know God would have put a longing in my spirit to find you and somehow God would have provided a way to bring you safely into my arms."
She smiled, so I knew I had passed the essay portion of this test. But I pondered this big question from my little girl (seven years old at the time). It gave a glimpse into how she was processing everything. I had been so worried about how our adopted child might feel left out because he was not given to us biologically, it never occurred to me that my biological children might feel left out not having been chosen through adoption.
Her question still makes me think. Would I really have found my tender-hearted treasure? Out of the approximately 147 million orphans, I've probably only seen photos of a few hundred. Photos that are usually just quick snapshots taken to provide some kind of documentation that this child exists. Bad lighting and bad angles--taken without warning of a child in need of a nap or a meal. That one photo that links them to the outside world and any possibility that they might find a family who can see beyond the orphanage haircut and runny nose.
It makes me look at listings of waiting children differently. It makes me wish that children who need families would no longer be invisible. That EVERY waiting child--all 147 million--could have their portrait taken by someone who could capture the twinkle in their eye and kindness in their smile. That every orphan could have pages written about them sharing what makes them special and what kind of family they long for. That each child could have a video clip giving prospective parents a preview of the melody of their laugh and the potential for their life.
No. It's not fair. It's not fair that often the children who are lucky enough to be listed on a waiting child page are often only afforded a photo the equivalent of a mug shot with a handful of words warning prospective parents of what might be "wrong" with them.
And yet . . . we serve a Mighty God who is the Author of Adoption and the only One who knows the exact number of orphans in the world today. He is able to take that photo and put it before the eyes of the person who will say, "This is my child." That He is greater than intercountry restrictions and governmental red-tape and one-dimensional photographs. The One who enables parents to look past the listing of needs and see only the word "special."
I see evidence of His handiwork when I get e-mail notifications that announce "My Family Found Me." I see photos from "gotcha days" and airport homecomings and cry tears of joy exclaiming "God, you are so good!"
He is . . . the Great Adoption Coordinator.
Three years ago, I tried to convince my daughter that had she been waiting in an orphanage, God would have put a longing in my spirit to find her and somehow He would have provided a way to bring her safely into my arms.
Today I know that it's true.
P.S. Some of my favorite photolistings of waiting children are at Rainbow Kids, Precious.org , and Reece's Rainbow. They strive to provide the accurate information on the children, agencies, and programs available. Take a minute to look at the sweet faces. You just might find your child.