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February 15, 2008

Courthouse

Six years ago today, I climbed out of a van into the cold, wintry weather along an Almaty street.  I approached an obscure looking government office building on a side street and was led to a small reception area which connected to a larger, yet still small, office.  After waiting for several minutes, we were ushered into the inner office where we were greeted by a lady wearing a suit who sat behind an ordinary looking desk.  I was accompanied by a translator and Nina, the head of one of the Baby Houses, in Almaty, Kazakhstan.  After being greeted, I was politely pushed to the side as questions were asked of my husband.

Judge

“Tell me about your education.”

“What kind of job do you have?”

“Where do you live?”

Questions which had been answered extensively and repeatedly in the mountains of paperwork which we had completed over the previous 7 months.  Strangely, none of the deeper questions were asked.  They didn’t really care what our philosophy of child rearing was.  We were not asked why we wanted to raise a child.  I don’t even think we were asked how our parents and siblings felt about it.  Those questions, we were prepared to answer.  But, the woman behind the desk did know the opportunity we represented for this infant.  Despite knowing this interview was in many ways a formality, inside I was a bundle of nerves.  The futures of our lives, and more importantly, Sweet Pea’s life, were in their hands.

Afterwards, back in the outer office, I could scarcely believe that in 20 minutes time we were done.  A stranger had spoken the words, and we were pronounced parents.

Baby House 3

When we went to pick up our daughter (our daughter!), she was bundled in several layers of unmatched clothing.  We were finally allowed to unwrap the layers, and this precious infant became tinier with every layer removed.  As we got in the van to head back to our flat, she got in a vehicle for the first time since leaving the hospital where she was born.  Her eyes were open wide the whole way back.  She didn’t want to miss a thing.  Six years later, she still doesn’t.  I can remember in the nursery at church–she never slept.  Since six months of age she has only slept once in church, and that time she was sick.  It’s strange in many ways, because of all our children, she needs sleep the most.  But in other ways, I understand.  There is a world out there that she wants to discover.

We’re Home!

Our daughter has grown and although I enjoy every stage, I am never really ready for the previous one to end.  I apologize in advance to all the other mamas out there–but she really was the most beautiful baby I have ever seen.  Infancy, though, was over in the blink of an eye. 

Her toddler years were filled with wonder and discovery.  I closed my eyes one night and she started preschool.  Preschool and kindergarten saw her growing in knowledge, in her love for the Lord, and in friendships with others. 

I told myself this year that my baby was still a baby…just a first grader.  Then it hit me the other day, my youngest will be in second grade next year. 

Sweet Pea is a gift of joy from the Lord.  God used her to bring laughter and healing to our family.  I’ll never forget the first time I felt that tight squeeze of love in my heart for her, a Mommy’s love, a fierce love, the kind that would easily have me sacrifice myself for her.  Of course, as with any child, or person for that matter, there is growing to do, character that needs molding.  But, I continually praise God for this wonderful gift!

Six years ago today, I became a Mommy.  I have never been the same.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for Sweet Pea.  Thank you for the gift of joy you gave us.  Thank you for satisfying the desire of my heart, a desire You gave me.  Please give me the strength to not hold on to her too tightly.  Father, I pray that You would give Sweet Pea a desire for You.  I pray that You would help her to see what is truly beautiful and what is only fleeting beauty.  May she seek after You all the days of her life.  Father God, please raise her up to be a mighty witness for You.  May her life glorify You.  And Father, I pray that You would send someone to tell her birth family about You.  May they know You and take comfort in that.  Thank You that they brought her into this world and gave her life.  Help me to model Your love to her.  Help me to pray more faithfully for her.  God, please give me wisdom that I might be a better mother to her.  Thank You for the sweet love You have given Sweet Pea for her brothers, a love she gave them unconditionally from the moment they came home.  I praise You, Father, for your sovereignty.  I ask that You would give me a heart to love You more each day that my children might desire to know You. 

In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Sweet Pea Through the Years

Baby Sweet Pea

Toddler

2 yrs old

3 yrs old

4 yrs old

Kindergarten

2007

Green Belt

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 16, 2008 4:34 am

    Beautiful post. God has put her in just the right family so that ALL may grow in their knowledge of Him. Blessings to you!

  2. February 17, 2008 6:32 pm

    What a blessing she has been in our lives….all of you have been! We love you all dearly…even if you bleed red and black!

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