i still claim this whole adoption journey to be the fault of my friend beverly. she was the one. she was the one that brought us the file of a little girl in china named xue zhu zhang. well...i guess the chain was actually, lily - amy - donna - beverly...but beverly was the one who, in her most matter of fact, and funny, funny way, dropped it into the lap of my computer and said, "well...here she is!" she is the one that continued to echo the already whisper in my heart, "why not?" she and her daughter, neilly, even threatened, "if you don't, we will..." her friendship and encouragement is as much a God-Thing as is this child we pursue. beverly is unwavering in her support of us. she has this spark of humor which truly lightens the heaviness of all the awful stuff that straps itself to adoption. in the past months we have had to process a long list of what ifs.
we have had to consider baby zuzu's serious heart condition, her abandonment, the inaccessability to her medical records, her prognosis, the psychological effects of institutionalization, her developmental delays, her possible limitations. we had to sit, individually, and watch 8 hours of online hague convention training which basically detailed every worse case scenario imaginable. included in this online training were pages - no volumes - of medical and psychological reading spelling out for us, this won't be easy. rick and i have had to fill out pages and pages and pages of paperwork and answer countless questions about these doubts. we have consulted with many medical professionals. some who have been encouraging and some who have shared grave concerns.
we knew from the very beginning zuzu was not a sure thing. we were even told she "was a risk." we were instructed to, "think of your other children." we have been reminded that a child with these kinds of medical needs "will change your lifestyle." we have even been asked, "do you know what you are doing?" we knew other families were encouraged to decline her file. i write "decline her file" because somehow it seems gentler. somehow less harsh to decline a file, than it does a child. i don't make light of that in any way. what a tremendous responsibility and burden that comes with having to choose. i know full well that grief, as we slept scant hours over that weekend in july when we had to decide. i know, without a doubt, that these other families did the right thing. they followed God's direction. they had good reason. there is not an ounce of judgment. in fact, i am so very thankful for their courage.
okay, so back to beverly...i know she will give me a good southern tongue lashing when she finds that i have written all this. but, oh well, i will cross that bridge with her later. anyway, i just wanted to share the kind of thing she passes along to me every now and then. she seems to know. she just seems to know when i need a nugget of extra encouragement. i wish i could share with you all of her little anecdotes and messages -there is a particularly good entry back in july (july 21st) if you want to go in search of it ...it has something to do with her singing about birds in the shower! (okay, now i am really in trouble). anyway, below is the note i received from her earlier today. beverly and david adopted their third child, Lilia, from the ukraine just a couple of years ago. my funny and brave friend left for the ukraine with money taped to her body. they went in search of this little girl. she could have used about 10 beverly's herself to cheer her on. they were there for weeks. it was dismal and dark and beyond depressing. they visited orphanages and had to make quick decisions. decisions that mattered. do you ever feel overwhelmed standing in the grocery store deciding what to bring home for dinner? imagine standing in a foreign country, in a desolate orphanage, deciding which child to bring home? i think that is why she does what she does. i know this is why she is a holder of our sometimes trembling hands.
Today L (lilia) told me that she loved me SO much and paused, and said," YOU came a LONG way to Ukraine just to get me." "Yes, I did, and I would do it all again." She then put her toy down and ran to hug me.
As I was putting ornaments in a box several hours later, I was enjoying looking at all of the picture ornaments as usual, and it just hit me that her little face was looking up at me from our family's Christmas box. It just gave me a thrill all over again... she belongs in someone's boxes of history. I just get excited for you guys all of the time. Its such a delight to have one of God's most precious placed into your home.
can you see why i love this friend? zuzu is a long way from us right now - the other side of the world, to be exact. and yet, my sweet friend helps me, regularly, to bridge this distance with her delightful anecdotes and her unwavering hope for our zuzu. when so many others continue to focus on the what ifs...God has given me a friend who continues to ask why not. we have said over and over again this is not the story of the mcnatt family. it is not even the story of a little girl named zuzu. this is the greater story of the 147 million orphans in our world today. this is the story that is underlining and bold-facing and italizing the phrase Why Not. Why Not. Why Not. ultimately this is the story of our God who had a long, long,LONG list of what ifs about us...and He (without the help of beverly) said, Why Not. and just like beverly's little daughter, lilia, said, "YOU came a LONG way...just to get me."
note to beverly: before you give me any grief over this...consider, first, that i could have added photos!