dear bella ~ today is an ordinary day. it is one of those mid-january days filled with quiet and cold. i did have to get up early, pack a few lunches, check a few backpacks and shuffle four tired kids out the door, but that is most days. that is my normal... my ordinary. but now it is quiet and i am home this morning with nothing pressing on my list, nothing exciting on my calendar, and nothing exceptional in my day. i have been sitting here with my coffee and my dog and my morning and i have been thinking about you. i just wanted you to know that. i wanted you to know how somedays my first thoughts are of you. often as i wake in the morning, i think of you preparing for bedtime in china. i pray that you are wearing a warm, comfy sleeper. i pray that you are cuddled up with a soft blanket and listening to the soothing sounds of nighttime. i kind of doubt this is the case, but i pray that for you. i want you to know i would pretty much do anything to skip over to china and be the woman who rubs your back or smooths your hair as you drift off. when it is my turn to close my tired eyes, i often consider what you might be doing 13 hours ahead of us. you are usually close to lunch time in your day. there is this wee bit of comfort in knowing that. i imagine your days in the orphanage are often rather ordinary days. i'm fairly certain they aren't days filled with pony rides or ice cream cones or visits to the circus. i really know so little about orphanages and exactly what happens in the course of the day. perhaps that is in some way a blessing. a few nights ago your sisters, emily and sarah, and i sat on their beds and talked about what we thought your day was like. we tried...but none of us really had much of an idea. our talk quickly shifted to what it might be like when you are finally in our home. under our roof. in our arms. that was easier subject material. that was something we could put colors and scents and textures to. our heads were immediately filled with thoughts of small buckled shoes and smocked dresses and baby doll strollers. we could hear your quiet voice and maybe even your loud cries. we could smell the fresh, soft scent of your hair after a bath and could feel your chubby hand in our own. the joy of your giggle and the delight in your laughter are something for which we already long. emily - your very oldest sister - made me promise we would dress you in only the cutest of clothes. she said specifically, "none of these hand-me-down things, mom!"...not for our precious baby sister. i fear you will be treated like a queen. oh my! i know i should immediately begin combatting that mindset...but i won't. i can't. i have this hunch you just might have two older sisters and two older brothers at your majesty's beck and call within a short time of making your entrance. i won't let you run-a-muck with this, mind you, but i suspect i won't be able to fully halt or mask my secret delight in watching you rule your older and obedient subjects. oh yes, we shall see...someday.
someday i will walk through the door of your orphanage. someday i will stand in the very room in which you tonight sleep. someday i will see where you have spent almost 2 years of your life. i will know more then. the walls might not talk, but they will show signs of the life you have lead. on that someday i will be the strange lady who holds you in her arms and carries you out of that orphanage door. i will be the woman who will walk you into the china sunshine. i will take you to a park and place you in a swing. i will sit with you and watch birds or bumble bees or butterflies. i will gladly and eagerly watch you. i hope that even on that first day we might smile together. i wish i could send this letter ahead - an introduction of sorts. i wish i could announce our visit well before whisking you away from all that you know. it will be hard. i have dreamt a few times about what "gotcha day" will look like for us. trying to prepare myself, i envision you crying, maybe screaming...clinging to the one who brings you to us. i see fear in your eyes and resistance in your body. i allow myself to see this because i know it might very well look like that. anything less will be better. we will take you any way you come to us that morning. when you can't hold fast to us, we will hold fast to you. we might even at some point feel like darting out the door in our fraility and fear. but we won't. i want to tell you that right now. we won't. being abandoned once is one too many times for any child. along the paperwork road we had to submit a letter of application to china. we received specific instruction on what needed to be written. one phrase that we had to copy and include was, "we promise to not abandon or abuse this child." that is all they wanted us to say on the subject. i found that phrase sorely lacking. completely insufficient. utterly inept. my wordy self was prepared to write a paragraph, an essay, even a treatise on the fact that we would not abandon or neglect. i could have written song lyrics and poetry and at least two term papers on our promise. instead, today, i will write this letter. this letter which no chinese official requires or will ever read. this letter which you will not read anytime soon. this letter which i wish to send ahead, but know that instead it must stay and wait for you. perhaps someday you will have the chance to read some of my words and know how much you were loved even before you arrived. i would like you to know that...someday. but today, well, this is just an ordinary day. i am planning ordinary things. but in the midst of my normal-everyday-stuff, i will think of you. i will think about how God is working to place you in our home. how He goes before you and how He will come behind us. a year ago i had no idea we might be anticipating a little girl from china. a baby sister. a toddler. a third daughter. a fifth child. another heart to love. another hand to hold. another gift to treasure. and all i can think of on this very ordinary day is ...how very extraordinary.
~ with love, your mom