Tuesday, December 29, 2009


we spent this morning tangling ourselves in yet another piece of sticky red tape.  there is nothing quite like the central immigration office in downtown atlanta at 9am.   if you've ever been to the DMV, then you know of what i write.

at the door, we were greeted by a security officer and told to leave all phones, purses, bags and any items of a personal nature in the car.  thus began the de-personalization of my person.  i stood in a line with roping to each side and nothing but arrows to direct my feet.  it was a clear assurance that everyone move in the same direction and  a warning that no one dare step out of line.  this experience was very much about moving forward. mechanically.  methodically.  uneventfully.  rick joked with me about cavity searches.  after 5 minutes of standing in line, i wasn't thinking he was all that funny.  standing there, i concluded there must be a special paint strip for wall color choices in governmental agencies. in my entire 5000 sample sherwin williams color wheel, there is nothing that comes close to this dismal selection. i am quite sure that if i explored the back workroom i would most certainly uncover a paint can entitled "sterile." but remember, i have arrows on the floor and roping to my side - there were to be no backroom expeditions for me this day. 

after filling out the correct paperwork and signing on the appropriate lines, we were shuffled - via more arrows - into a waiting area, i.e, a holding pen.  every sign was large and white with bold, black lettering.  clear. precise. direct.  my aesthetic wiring is motivated by clean lines and simple spaces, but this was ridiculous.  i've seen operating rooms with more personality.   so there we sat: all colors, ethnicities, languages and purposes blended blandly together.  people waited in these dreary, plastic seats for reasons from international adoption to green card status.  all of us lumped, impersonally and unexceptionally, together.  the morning's goal seemed almost to strip away all distinctive features from its visitors. to pare us down to nothing but a number.  i was number 24.  

places like this make me nervous.  not really nervous about what might happen to me.  but nervous about what i might do.  i suppose it has something to do with my struggle in rule following.  there was this gigantic sign stating no smoking or cell phone usage.  considering we weren't able to bring in our phones or our cigarettes, i was curious about the sign's necessity.  extra emphasis, i suppose.  just in case.  anyway, there is just enough rebelliousness in my character, that when i am treated as number 24 and told to sit quietly and nondescriptly, i have this strange sensation and thinly veiled intrigue in the "what if."  what if i chose to walk up to the counter when they called number 21...using my forbidden phone ...boldly flaunting a cigarette.  thankfully, i don't smoke, and thankfully, i had my husband there to keep me in line with the number and phone thing.

finally, a screen flashed number 24.  it was my turn to head back into the cubicle with the shuffling, mumbling woman in charge. she didn't smile.  she barely responded to my "good morning."  she never once looked into my eyes.  but i followed her obediently to the correct desk.  after confirming my information on the monitor, she, in perfect monotone, directed me to the scanning machine.  within seconds my fingerprints flashed in front of me.  my fingerprints.  mine.  no one else in this entire dull place could claim these prints.  no one in the city of atlanta.  no one in the world.  they are mine.  the irony struck me:  here we were in this most non-personal, most anti-individual experience, capturing the very thing that defines us and separates us from each other. someone else owns my same jeans, my same jacket...someone else has a dirty blond ponytail and wears silver hoop earrings just like mine.  someone else brushed their teeth this morning with colgate and washed their hair with pantene.  there are lots of jody's out there...and probably even another jody mcnatt or two.  but no one, not one other human, has my fingerprint.  i can stand here in this greyest of grey rooms and know that i was created uniquely.

"i praise you because i am fearfully and wonderfully made; 
your works are wonderful, i know that full well.    
my frame was not hidden from you when i was made in the secret place. 
 when i was woven together in the depth of the earth,
 your eyes saw my unformed body."  ~ psalm 139: 14-16.

           "for you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb."  ~psalm 139:13

before zuzu was knit together in her mother's womb her ten tiny fingerprints were delicately drawn....her story was thoughtfully written.  God carried close to His heart the blueprint of this child.  she was designed fearfully and wonderfully.  perfectly.  even with her imperfect heart, even with her transposed arteries and narrow valves, she was known by her Creator. He knit her. He knit even her inmost being. her fingerprint.  

if our God can give us the unique stamp of our fingerprint, the unique compostion of our DNA, the unique chemistry of our personality, can we deny that He, indeed, has a specific plan and design for our lives.  can we atempt to question or ignore that He has a unique purpose already etched into our future? this tiny toddler is as far from me as the east is from the west, and yet she is known completely by the same God that completely knows me.  

bella's adoption has been a continual reminder of the planner, designer, creator, knitter God. recently i heard the statistic that out of all adoptions which begin, only 2% ever reach completion.  is this not staggering?  after journeying this far, we understand that number. obstacles and anxieties seem to travel this same road.  i can see why defeat and surrender are commonplace.  there are items on the list which prove daunting and the list is long.  and yet, we belong to a God who knows not only the length of our list, but who knows the very curves of our fingerprint.  He has it perfectly imprinted in His memory.  and what's best,  He doesn't require a scanner or a photo or sterile colored room to identify us.


Rebecca said...


andrea said...

Congrats your one step closer to Bella Grace....God is awesome ;) it is beautiful to read how God is touching you & teaching you during this adoption process...thank you for sharing your heart...
Good day,