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You've Been Lonely... Too Long

The glider in her nursery where I’m sitting to type this blog post is the same chair where Sarah and I knelt to pray a week ago tonight. A week ago tonight, we were again anticipating that “the call” could be happening within days. Like in October, we received an email saying that China would be releasing a group of children and for all families to be on standby. Like October, we didn’t receive a match. But unlike October, both Sarah and I had gotten our hopes up this time with a feeling in our gut that it would finally be “our week”. In hindsight – after an emotional few days waiting for the phone to ring – I wish we would have been a bit more guarded. Lesson learned.

I don’t know what struck me a week ago tonight. As I lay in bed thinking about the little lotus, something led me to get down on my knees and pray (for the first time in many moons). I walked into the soon-to-be-nursery, knelt at the glider in the pitch black, began to open my heart, and as the first tear streamed down my face... I felt a shoulder next to mine as Sarah had come in the room to join me down there on the floor. Neither of us said a word, but as we locked hands and shared tears for what seemed like forever, I knew that only one thing was in our hearts and on our minds.

During the many things I prayed about that night involving the lotus and this journey, I received a healthy amount of unexpected humility. I was reminded primarily that (while this wait is indeed difficult on us), it’s *her* that really matters. Sarah and I have each other, a house to keep us warm, plenty of food, plus a wonderful support group to keep us strong. She has nothing. At best, there’s a slim chance she could be in foster care. But more than likely, she’s enduring unimaginable neglect at an orphanage somewhere, day after day, night after night. So last Sunday night, I tried to send her a message 7,000 miles away that one day soon could be *her* last day without a match of her own. All I want is for her to know that peace is in sight. And that I’m already praying that I’ll be the father she deserves. And that all of our energy in the coming months is focused on her needs, and the needs of the world... not our own.

Last week, she never left our minds. Not for a second. Being with family on Thanksgiving was especially difficult; we wanted so badly to have been able to share “the news” with everyone. And eating meal after warm meal while thinking about her getting a bottle of cold congee for 30-seconds three times each day... and us watching Americanism at its finest via Black Friday extravaganzas everywhere... I admit that it was tough to enjoy our blessings.

A song didn’t leave my mind last week either. It’s a new Civil Wars tune called “Dust to Dust” we heard a few weeks ago (you can enjoy the song and lyrics in the YouTube video on this page). Sarah and I sat there balling the first time we heard it; the significance was overbearing. I’m pretty sure the song *wasn’t* written about a couple from Nashville adopting a little girl from China, but we can’t help but think this tune was meant for us. It’s haunting to think about her loneliness right now, the scars she may bear when we find her at last, and the walls she’ll expectedly put up once we bring her home as she adjusts to a new world. But it’s that hopeful, beautiful one line in the middle we choose to imagine:

“Let me hold your hand, And dance 'round and 'round the flames.”

Can’t you just picture it now? We’ll have to wait at least another month to see her face, and then many more months to hold those tiny hands for the first time. But sitting in this chair tonight, I look toward the center of the nursery and the visual of the three of us dancing is crystal clear.

Stay strong little lotus. Just a few more weeks, we hope. Dust to dust.

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"I am a lotus flower – delicate, fragile, yet strong... floating, unfolding, and blossoming into the life where I belong.”