Four years ago today Lydia walked into our arms on a cold day, in an official government building in Zhengzhou, China. It was truly one of the best days of my life. A day of tiny miracles all wrapped up in this little girl. And as is God’s way, He was at work back home in another mother’s heart, working a miracle that would only come to fruition three years later. So, as I am reflecting on the miracle of Lydia today, my heart and mind are extra full because we have been witness to another adoption miracle on 4th Street and that story needs to be told.
International Adoption is no small thing. It requires incredible resource and waiting and patience and trust. Trust most of all. But it all begins with a desire, and it’s not merely a desire to expand your family, that feels somehow too simple. Choosing to adopt from China means you are open to a child from another culture, a child with potentially complicated health issues, tons of paperwork, waiting, more waiting. International adoption is not the easiest road and the parents I know who decide to pursue it definitely feel a pull, a heart tug, even a sense of calling to it. Such was the case with my friend Anna.
The day after we got off the plane with Lydia back in late January 2014, our doorbell rang. There stood our neighbor with a welcome gift for Lydia. I invited her in, Lydia was standing there with me and she offered us her gift, a sweet stuffed pink and white giraffe. She welcomed Lydia and then got choked-up standing in our entry. I didn’t really know her all that well and I didn’t know what was happening for her, until she said through teary eyes, “We have been following your blog and your journey with Lydia and we’ve always thought about adopting from China and we’re going to do it.” In my fresh off the plane from China with a toddler stupor, I’m not sure exactly what I said, I was stunned. Oh my word. She was my neighbor, like our neighbor across the street. Of all the people in the world to feel the pull, the same heart desire, it was my sweet neighbor? Just wow.
What has transpired over the last four years on 4th Street has been evidence that God is ever so real. Like undeniably real. This dear family across the street decided to go with our same agency, and with a preschooler and a baby at home, began the process to adopt a little girl. Anna and her family attend our church, and over the past four years we have been in each other’s homes for book studies and Bible studies together. We have prayed together and cried together when the waiting seemed too much to bear. This adoption journey has turned us from neighbors into precious friends.
And then on May 31st of this past year, when it seemed impossible to wait any longer, the call came from the agency with news of a little girl in a group foster home that needed a family. Her name would be Savannah, and we had been praying for her by name for well over three years. As I stood with Anna looking at pictures of this precious little girl with an already repaired cleft lip and palate, I was overcome again. How incredibly gracious of God to put us in each others lives in this season. Three plus years is a long time to hope and pray and wait. But to know others are hoping and praying and waiting with you is everything.
Four years ago Anna watched out her window as we pulled into the church parking adjacent our house bringing Lydia home from the airport. And this August I watched out my front window as Anna and family left for the airport to go meet Savannah. As I sat watching them pack up the car I just wept at God’s faithfulness. And I’m weeping even now as I write. Two miracles have occurred on 4th Street. There are two less orphans in the world, there are two families now complete.
How can we ever know the story God is writing for our lives? How can we fathom the intricacy of his plans? How could he choose not one, but two families, in the same town, on the same street to be forever changed by two little girls born half a world away. Just how?
Yesterday I got to watch Savannah for a bit while Anna was at a meeting. We played with babies and rolled balls and read books and it’s still totally surreal to have this precious little gem living across the street. And somehow it feels like Lydia and Savannah have always been with us. But I pray I never stop being amazed at the way God worked to weave our stories together. I will never forget that day back in January of 2014 when Anna rang our doorbell and shared how Lydia’s story had spurred them on to make a decision to adopt. I remember thinking how insane it was that Lydia had hardly been on American soil for 24 hours and God’s purposes for her life and story were already being worked out. Lydia doesn’t understand all of this, she’s five. But someday she will see Savannah’s adoption as a part of her story. And we will marvel at it together.
For now, we are ever so grateful to share this China adoption bond with these dear friends. While in China, Anna and I texted daily about all the emotions and the ups and downs of bonding and forming as a family. What a gift that we will have one another to lean on as the girls grow, as they have questions, as we need to process with someone who understands. And our precious daughters will have one another, someone in a family like theirs. Someone who understands what it’s like to be them, in a family formed by adoption.
So, today as we celebrate Lydia with her requests for presents, Chinese food and Dancing with the Stars reruns, we are surely celebrating God’s good work in bringing Lydia into our family, but we are also celebrating Savannah and how God works in ways we could never imagine. Praise God for his miracles on 4th Street!