Tuesday, November 24, 2009

roadtrip to texas

i sat in the car hiccupping. my hands clutched the steering wheel. translucent knuckles evidence of my anxiety. i had just left the fed ex office. i had just left another pile of important papers with a young man who looked no older than my 8th grader and no more responsible than my 1st grader. sorry, that reads very judgmental. i think it was the fact that he wouldn't make eye contact and was more serious about the gum he was snapping than my questions about delivery method. okay. that really has nothing to do with this posting. i wasn't sitting in the car hiccupping because of the juvenile fed ex employee, but because i had just smacked into, yet again, my own control issues.

half-crazed woman at counter clutching immigration paperwork.  me. skeptical and determined. it needed to be sent to texas and the plan was to fed ex it - no matter the amount. he quoted me prices and all i could think was what would rick say if i called him from the car and told him i was already half way across alabama and planning to hand deliver it myself. just wanting to be sure and all. i figured it would be okay. he could easily handle the kids for the weekend. sure we had multiple soccer games, events to attend and projects to complete. but perhaps i could enlist the help of a neighbor or something. i mean, i saw lots of positives to my hand delivering these precious documents. maybe i could show up with a starbucks for this man sitting in the immigration offices of lewisville texas. i could bring some pictures of zuzu. i could tell him her story. i could read him a few blog entries. i would even promise to take his picture and add it to her blog....use his name...send him a christmas card. whatever.

whatever it would take to ensure these papers...this story... would be handled quickly, efficiently, and with the utmost of care. i was drowning in my great need to control and manage this situation. silly woman. where was my trust? why don't my actions match my words. i say all the time we are trusting God with this story, with this child, with her life, with her health, with the finances, with the decisions, with the details....i say that and yet i stand in an atlanta fed ex office and consider a road trip to texas.

"Is not God in the heights of heaven? and see how lofty are the highest stars! 
Yet you say, 'What does God know?'... 
Yet it was He who filled their houses with good things."
 ~ Job 22: 12, 13 and 18

God in heaven. me in atlanta. yep, that about sums up the utter ridiculousness of my worry, my control, my meddling.  shameful, i know.  it seems i can't help myself.  the thing about adoption is there is always something else to do, but in between these doings, there is a lot we can't do.  a lot we have to just let alone. let be. the translucent knuckles of the hiccuping woman in the car have a hard time unwrapping themselves from the process and paperwork and plan.

further on in this same chapter it reads:

"Submit to God and be at peace with Him; in this way prosperity will come to you.
Accept instruction from His mouth and lay up His words in your heart....
the Almighty will be your gold, the choicest silver for you." ~ Job 22: 21 and 25

so, for today, i will trade in my translucent knuckles, my anxious thoughts, my controlling ways. i will trade in my hiccups and my desperate plans. i will trade in my insecurities and my weakness, and i will replace it, at least for today, with His good things. with His gold and with the very choicest of silver. and i will pay the $26 to the fed ex boy and i will not drive to texas...i will drive home.

Friday, November 20, 2009

twenty answers

a tiny glimpse...
below are the questions we submitted to "a source" inside the orphanage. it took almost a month, but we have 20 answers to our questions. not quite elaborate answers, mind you, but at least it is something. we really do not know who provided the information or exactly how accurate it is. however, considering we have heard nothing since early august, we are very thankful for even this tiny glimpse.

1. medically, how is she doing?
Since her surgery, her recovery has been well. But still can hear the murmur of 2/62. has she had any complications since the surgery?
No3. any illness or irregularities?
4. is xue zhu active?
Yes, she is very active now5. is she still with the same nanny?
Yes6. did she and the nanny ever receive our care package?
Yes7. is there anything else we can send? will she get it?
We don’t need anything so far and we will let you know if she needs anything we can’t get from here.8. is there any way we could visit her this fall/winter?
If you can get approval from both local civil affair and CCAA, you can.
9. how often is she evaluated (medically/developmentally)?
The doctor advised us only to take her to do the check if she has anything wrong. Otherwise, we don’t need to do it.10. what are her favorite activities? favorite things?
She likes rattle the most. Any toy with sound.
11. does she show an interest in something specific?
She likes to be held all the time.
12. we were told she would need another surgery before her 2nd birthday (in february), is there any plan for that?
So far we don’t think so.
13. is she crawling or walking?
She can crawl and stand by holding
14. how is her language development?
She can say one character words15. does she seem peaceful or stressed?
She looks very peaceful16. does she seem to be developing on track, physically and cognitively? has anyone observed this? evaluated? noticed anything?
She does. We just evaluate everything by her daily behavior17. is there anything we can do or provide from our end?
So far, no18. is "half the sky" involved with her? i heard they are known to be in this orphanage in particular.
Yes, she is in the program19. can we please receive more pictures or video?
We only can provide pics20. is there a way to get a current prognosis of her medical state? we were told they would give us this after she could be observed for a while after her surgery...is this possible?
Sorry, we can’t give this to you now.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

finally ~ "an update & two pictures" from china

her eyes. i look at this most recent picture and i see only her eyes - large and luminous. ebony windows. soul-filled eyes.  21 months of life reflected in this sweet countenance. i am not sure these dark pools provide even a trace of smile. oh, how i long to see laughter there.  is wish for the sparkle of delight.  i want, even, to see the twinkle of mischief.

okay, so i lied. i see more than her eyes. i see much chubbier cheeks than i did in the post-surgery pictures from august. today she is absolutely round. oh, how i love that. she is almost unrecognizable from the pictures this summer. oh, how i love that too. perhaps it is the naive american side of me that believes with chubby cheeks comes gerber-baby-good-health. i don't know...but it pleases the mother in me. she is fed. she is eating. those very basic things bring comfort. i also see an unbelievable buzz cut. her head has been shaved. why? we don't know...perhaps lice? well, if that is the case, it is only another reason why she will fit right into the mcnatt family - 2008: the year of the louse. our family was struck that year with at 5 episodes.

in the second picture sent i could see more. she is inside, but incredibly bundled up in a too-big sweater and vest. there is a cold, cement floor beneath her with a few puddles of water behind her. why? after receiving the picture i immediately shot back an email to our agent: "please tell me why there is water on the floor of her room? i need to know." he didn't know. "is it cold there?" he didn't know. i checked the weather report in guangzhou city for today...50 degrees this morning.

it is her mouth that is most familiar: those rosebud lips resting just above what looks like an impressive double chin. oh, that the time would pass quickly until we receive a kiss from those very lips...until her mouth moves to form the treasured word, "mama."

please, Lord, make these months swift. 

there is so much still awaiting a stamp of approval. we want only to bring her home before this baby face alters any further.  but for today, we are just so very thankful to finally see her again. since august, we've had absolutely no update, no pictures, no news....nothing. when i opened the email from our agent yesterday it was like striking gold. the attachment read, "update and two pictures." the download bar has never crept more slowly across the screen. but there she finally was; large eyes, chubby cheeks and a terrible haircut. it was all so wonderful....well, maybe not the haircut. those eyes seemed to penetrate right through my computer screen from china to georgia.

remember that list of questions we were supposed to come up with last month? well, after our initial 500, we had finally narrowed it down to a scant twenty. we whisked those questions off via our nashville agent, somewhat skeptical, but hoping desperately for a response. weeks passed. we heard nothing. but yesterday the original document we sent came back with neatly typed answers to each of those questions. we still don't know who provided the information. we don't know their name, their credentials or their qualifications. but we are deeply thankful for even this glimpse into bella grace xue's world. it is nothing monumental or dramatic. it is only a whisp of information...barely a start. but it is something. and in this elusive world of international adoption, it is gold. pure gold.

so, friends, add it up: large eyes, chubby cheeks, a terrible, wonderful haircut and twenty answers. this is what we have in our hands today. this is our treasure for the moment. this is what allows us to feel wealthy in our hope and wild in our love for this little girl living in a land across oceans.