Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I Remember

If its possible, I held Sam a little closer tonight. I smothered her with extra kisses and soaked in the sweet goodness of her contented smile and infectious giggle (even despite that darn chronic double ear infection).

Today marks 6 months since I carried Sammers out of that orphanage. Six months since she became a daughter and I, a mother.

Yes, 6 months ago, today, God set us in a family. 

And as Sam and I said our bedtime prayers tonight, I thanked Him again and again and again and again for bringing us together.

I hugged her even tighter after reading this today and then remembering and reliving what I know of her history. 

I remember the face of the child I committed to last August.

This was all I knew of her for months. I wondered whether she would smile.

I remember the child I met back in April.

Tinier than her picture and file had led me to believe (Although I had been warned by other visiting mamas that she'd lost some weight). More damaged than I could have imagined. But also more potential for healing.

I remember conversations in the orphanage about my girl; the staff openly despised her, according to her baba. 

I remember a year full of unbelievable spiritual oppression as I fought to bring my baby home. (I've said it before and I'll say it again. I am not a fanatic. I've encountered many a difficulty in my life that I will not attribute to the spiritual realm. But I promise you this was nothing short of knock down, drag out attack. Day after day.)

I remember the sickly, hungry, tiny, malnourished, scared and out of sorts little girl I found when I went back to the orphanage in August. She was clearly worse for the wear since I had last seen her (Hence the spiritual warfare!). Again, even smaller than she was in April, having lost a total of at least four pounds in a year. Her hair was haphazardly cut less than an inch from her head and she was wearing boys clothes several times too big for her frame. 

I remember the little girl who cried inconsolably throughout the car ride from Pleven to Sophia, and then throughout the following week at the hotel. The little girl who was terrified of open spaces. Traumatized by strollers. Could hardly stand to be touched. Could barely recover from encounters with strangers at dinner. Who could tolerate only the smallest amounts of food and drink, but even that was enough to double her over in pain as her body worked so, so hard to digest it. 

I remember hiding in the smallest of places in our apartment for days because a big open room, and even the few visitors that we had, were more than my sweet little girl could handle.

That was then. 

This is now.

14 pounds later, I cannot help but rejoice at the incredible transforming work God has done in Sam's life. 

 She is happy.

She is healthy.

She is fully alive. Finally. For the first time in her life.

And this Saturday, for the first time EVER, she will celebrate a birthday (number 8!) at home, surrounded by family who love her deeply.

But while we celebrate, I will continue to remember.

I will remember the skeleton of a child who sat on a swing, forlorn, as we walked into the orphanage on Sam's gotcha day.

I will remember the child, no bigger than an infant, stiff as a dead body, carried as if an object through the corridor.

I will remember sweet, sweet, so very sweet smiles from children who had nothing to smile about. Who miraculously thrilled to my touch after years without.

I will remember a stone building that is still filled with floor after floor of discarded and yet unwanted children. Children who continue to wait day after day for a mama to come and carry them out to safety.

I will PRAY WITH ALL OF MY HEART that God will complete the good work that HE started. And I will open my hands to Him, to help in any way He will allow.

Starting with this little boy.

"Chad" is the object of my constant thoughts and prayers. And I wonder if you might join me in thinking of him and praying for him, too.

This tiny little boy breaks my heart. He's been given a second chance on Reece's Rainbow, but still no one has shown any interest in becoming his family.

I met "Chad" briefly in April. He was outside in a stroller with his baba. I crouched down to smile at him and tell him how lovely he was and he gave be the biggest, sweetest reward of a smile back. He's smaller than you can tell from his pictures. Sam and I spent some time in this very spot where he is posed, and from what I can tell he is even smaller than she was. And two years older.

An adoptive mama who saw him recently reported that he is just skin and bones, very delayed, but cheerful and active. A fighter.

God is filling my heart with more love for this kiddo than I can handle, which is good, because it reminds me to pray that soon, he too will be celebrating a birthday, with a family, and more love than he can comprehend.

Jesus, please make the way straight for Chad's future family. Provide all that is needed. Help them run to him without delay. And while he waits, will you be his help and comfort, attending to his every need as only You can. Amen.


  1. Sam is a beautiful child, with or without hair. But I love how her new haircut frames her face. Happy Birthday ! Happy anniversary !

  2. Happy 6 month anniversary! I love Sam! My little one is also infactuated with water (though I do not believe as passionately as Sam). I love seeing Sam grow, change, and come alive! I'm so grateful God put you two together!

  3. This post brought me to tears! I'm praising the Lord for Sam's redemption! Happy Birthday, Precious Girl!!!!!!

    I'm also joining you in praying for Chad!

  4. Sam is so precious! And you are an inspiring mother! Your total love for her is a beautiful thing to watch. So much like Jesus. Please write more often. I love your open posts, and I stalk your blog always looking for them! LOL!!
    God must be so pleased to see you love her so much. She finally got her turn for a mommy. Happy Birthday, precious Sam! Susan

  5. Grace, thank you for writing this! I'm going to re-post it! Love you and Sam!

  6. Sam is just beautiful! LOVE-LOVE-LOVE those happy smiles!! (((HUGS)))

  7. Thank you for shouting out for Chad. I have been crying out for him too. Will continue to pray for God's will in his life.

  8. I would love to talk to you about Chad. If you can please send me an email :)

  9. I am another mom who has adopted and love reading about your little Sam. She is truly a gift from God!

  10. I love the updated pictures..... This post makes me want to cry. I am thankful you are shouting for Chad.... I pray he finds his family soon!!!

  11. Hi Grace

    Just came over from Susanna's blog... Are you parenting beautiful Sam as a single mom? I am in the process of adopting a little one with special needs and would love to connect with some other single moms who have walked this road before me!