Why?  That is the question of the week.  Why did I do this again?   Why did we go on a journey to adopt when we have three beautiful healthy kids right here?   Why did I put my whole heart out there now to be absolutely crushed?  Why did I expose my children to such heartache at such a young age?  Oh yea, God told me to.  There is not a doubt in my mind that I’m on this journey because God called me to it.  God made promises to me at the beginning of this journey and I’m clinging to those even now when they may mean something a little different.   AND WHY did God allow my sweet girl to die?  He would never let something like this happen if there wasn’t something I need to learn through this.  I’ve been wrestling with this all week.

Last weekend, I stood up in front of my church as they prepared to pray for our journey to adopt and told them how I know God clearly spoke comfort to me at the beginning of this journey.  I asked God, “How is this journey to adopt going to affect my children?” His response was so clear.  “Allison, you’re asking the wrong question, how is NOT adopting going to affect your children?  This journey is as much about your children in the home as it is about this little girl on the other side of the world.”  I took that to mean that my kids will learn compassion for the orphan and maybe one day will want to adopt themselves.  In two short days from that prayer, our sweet Lucy would be dead.  Boy, did we need the prayer from the church but not for the journey we thought we were on.  The timing is God’s I’m certain. 

So now as I look back at that promise God made to me, was facing this tragedy what he meant?  He knew this would happen, nothing surprises Him.  Did He want my kids to experience this loss?  Is this part of molding them into compassionate kids for the other children who will one day be part of our home or for the orphans around the world without a mom and dad?  How could taking the life of a small child who had a family waiting to love and care for her be part of some sovereign plan?   I don’t know.  I can only theorize and even that can just drive me crazy.  I don’t understand your ways God. 

Early in our adoption journey, Russ and I debated many countries to adopt from, domestic adoptions and even fostering to adopt.  What’s so ironic is we chose China because it was the ‘safest’ bet.  Ha!   Why is China the safest in our minds?  Well, we had just seen a lovely family in church who fosters children lose their sweet two year old because some long lost relative came out of nowhere to claim her even though this family wanted to adopt her.  I saw the absolute heartbreak on the older brother’s face.  Russ and I thought, we could never deal with that.  We don’t ever want to expose our children to such heartache so let’s not foster.  Why not a domestic adoption?  A birth mom can change their mind and then you’ve traveled to pick up this new baby to find out that baby is not yours.  More heartache we didn’t want to expose our kids to.  We actually started our journey to adopt in another country who turned out to be politically unstable and ended up closing down early in our process.  So we thought, let’s go with China because the timeline is reasonable, they have a tried and true system for adoption and even if the kids are special needs, there are plenty of kids with very mild, correctable special needs.  Once we get our child home, there’s no reversing our adoption, no one is coming out of the wood work to take our baby.  Well, here we are on our route to adopting from our ‘safe’ option in order to protect our little hearts and those little hearts are broken over the unexpected and unexplained death of their sister.  Lesson learned, good reminder Lord, I cannot protect my kids from the heartache of the world.  We tried to go safe and we’re still heart broken.  I can’t protect them but I can help equip them.  I’ve wondered so much this week how anyone who loses a loved one ever copes without the hope of eternity with Jesus.  Now that I’m in the midst of it, I can’t fathom moving on without hope.  My kids are seeing that this week.  Even when I’m crying, I tell them how sad I am that I will miss out on life with Lucy but how happy I am that Lucy is healed and happy and so loved.

It’s clear we wanted safe but God wants us to be willing to go wherever and whenever even if it isn’t ‘safe’.  I get it God.  We’re walking with you. It’s a journey.  What journey is ever perfectly straight without twists, turns and even detours?  I really appreciate my friends who reminded me not to lose sight that I’m on a journey.  They were in no way minimizing how devastated I feel, but gently encouraging me to remember that this is not the end.  It’s not really what I want to hear because right now, I don’t really want to consider another child, but it’s what needed to be said. Don’t let this derail you from the journey God brought you on.  Remember his promises Allison.  I’m trying God, I am.  You were so clear that this journey is about my kids more than the little girl.  Well isn’t that so clear now because our sweet Lucy is in paradise and we’re stuck here in a pile of tears and heartache.  This wasn’t about her, she was meant to be with you in your glorious presence, this is about us.  You told me that nearly a year ago now and I see it more clearly.  I believe you will grow us through this, make us stronger, make us more compassionate and make us love that next child we bring home all the more.  So yes, we will adopt another child.  When?  I don’t know that but it will happen.  We’ve said at least two from the beginning.  Who knows, if we can get through this, maybe fostering and domestic is back on the table.   Really what is there to fear when God walks with us?  We shouldn’t fear the loss, it happens and when it does, we can rely on our loving comforting Father to carry us through.  That we know for sure.  Sadly, this is easier said than done.  If I’m being honest, I am scared to put my heart out there again.  I can only pray over time that will change.  My sweet Lucy has a piece of my heart with her.  I can’t even explain why or how it all happened.  I’ve never met her yet I just fell in love with that little girl.  I guess it’s that momma’s heart.   

We so badly wanted a child as healthy as possible.  Lucy was medically fragile early in her life but after a surgery and amazing care, Lucy was thriving and doing so well for months.  From all reports, she looked to now be a healthy girl, and we lost her.  Her death has stumped even the staff in China.  Healthy, active and playing and then dead moments later.  So what now Lord?  Should I have read the reports better, asked for more information, demanded more tests?  Or is this just another way to tell me to quit trying to go the ‘safe’ route?  I don’t’ know the answer but I could play the “what if” game for the rest of my life and not get anywhere. 

God has carried me through this week but he used a lot of loving friends, family and strangers as his arms this week.  Thank you for the hugs, calls, surprise guests, food, flowers (oh my! My house is filled with beautiful flowers, I have filled every vase in this house), texts, Facebook messages and just a whole lot of love.  Thank you friends.  Thank you for committing to walk with us on this journey.  We’re not meant to walk through life’s trials and victories without our brothers and sisters in Christ.  You guys have always walked with us through all the best of times and now through the worst of times.  Thank you for listening to God’s promptings to reach out and give me that needed hug.  We feel loved.  My sweet 8 year old has seen Jesus walking around this week in her friends.  Thank you sweet girls for loving her so well.  She feels so blessed.  That’s what this momma needed.  I needed my sweet heart broken girl to see that God loves her in the midst of this pain and her friends did that this week.  I’m beyond thankful. 

God knew the timing and was preparing the way for us to endure.  The church prayed over us right before we received the devastating news.  Boy, that prayer was needed for this journey of adoption, just not what we expected.  Just a few days after losing Lucy, my broken hearted little girl got up in front of church during our Christmas play and her character faced challenge but still proclaimed that God’s timing is perfect and how He always makes a way.  How powerful of her to still be able to proclaim these truths in the midst of the biggest real life trial she has ever faced.  She performed beautifully.  I couldn’t be more proud of her.  What’s even more impactful is the director of the play dedicated the performances this weekend to Lucy so the entire audience knew that Abby had lost her sister and they heard such important truths were still true to her even in the midst of this.

So a small lesson learned, when God calls you on a journey, it’s not going to be easy.  I think I knew that before but it feels all the more real now.  That’s probably the only guarantee.  He doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called.  I guess this is part of Him equipping us for what’s to come and reminding us not to lose sight of the journey.  I needed to be reminded that I can’t protect my kids from everything but I can model how to face challenges by leaning on my heavenly Father for strength and hope when I can’t manage on my own.  Lucy will be terribly missed.  We had hopes and dreams for our sweet girl and couldn’t wait to bring her home in a few months.  All the hopes and care we had planned for her pale in comparison for the love and joy she has now.  That is the only comforting thought to cling to while we grieve her death.  She’s with her Father who loves her more than we ever could.