Dear Baby Gus,
18 days to go. In 18 days you will be with me. 23 days until you are in our home, with your papa, big brother and big sister.
This isn’t the journey we thought we were beginning back in September. Our journey to you has been one of broken hearts and bumpy roads. My heart aches a bit when I think about it all, but knowing you will soon be a part of our family makes it all worth it.
We began this journey for a little girl, 3 years old. We felt certain that she was supposed to be our daughter. We knew there were some uncertain details, but we had complete peace about our decision. Despite some little hiccups, everything came together and we met this sweet little girl in November. She was a little firecracker! We signed the official papers to pursue her adoption.
In December, we found out that there was a local (to her) family that was interested in adopting her. We cautiously prayed about what this meant. We decided to move forward with adopting her, until we had a clear “stop” from the Lord.
In January, shortly after receiving news of our upcoming court date to adopt her, we got that “stop”. The local family had filed official papers to pursue her adoption and as a local family, they had priority over us. There was nothing we could do.
That night, after we got the news, we felt so confused, uncertain. Everything had been such a clear “go” up until that moment. We felt such a clear push from the Lord in every move. And just that, it all fell apart.
Do you know that we have an amazing support system? Calls, texts, emails– from family, friends, even strangers. Late that night, after your papa went to bed, I found the website for your orphanage, and browsed the photos of all of the children. Then I saw this…
For the first time since we got the news, I smiled. Oh, love, you are so cute.
I wanted to get on a plane right that moment and scoop you up. But, I still wavered for another day, while your papa was certain that you were the one. I had been so certain that we were bringing home a little girl, that I struggled with the sudden change of plans, especially how abruptly and painfully it came.
Everything seemed to fall together, when we expressed interest in you. Our agency confirmed your availability. We said yes!
Just two weeks later, we were on a plane to meet you. We received your official referral on February 14, 2012. I won’t share the details here, but the fact that we even got your referral is evidence of the divine hand in your story.
You were so overwhelmed by us that first day. You watched us. When we would do something funny, you might crack a smile, but it wouldn’t stay long. The orphanage doctor came in and told us how you usually smiled. I was afraid she would think we weren’t the right family for you.
The next day, and the day after that, you seemed to be warming up to us a bit. You love to be loved on. Kisses, eskimo kisses, rasberries, you love that physical attention, like your big sister.
After three days of visiting, we said goodbye. Our court dossier just needed one piece of paper, with your name on it, to be filed. We rushed to get it done when we got home. The first people who could take it for us were some friends travelling for court to adopt a little girl from your orphanage. They had our paper in hand, and we knew they would be delivered safely.
Well, the day they left, we got a frantic email from them, asking for prayer. Our region was canceling all court cases, and theirs would be the last one heard. Only because they were literally on the plane when the news came in.
That was when I unravelled. I was scared we might lose you, too. I didn’t know when I’d see you again. I was sad, and scared, confused and angry. I felt… raw.
But, in the same season, we were so loved. Tears and prayers from everyone who knew our story, it seemed.
Gifts to renew my resolve and my spirit. Like one Thursday morning when a dear friend sent me new photos of you. One of the best gifts I ever received was to see your face, knowing that was taken just hours before.
A couple of weeks later, 2 months after your region shut down, we received news of our court date. What sweet news! We had to wait another month for it, but we knew when we’d see you again.
May 27, 3 months and 11 days after we said goodbye, we saw you again. You were so uncertain of us at first, but after a little while, you were comfortable enough to fall asleep in my arms.
After two days of visits, we had our court hearing. With trembling legs and shaking voices, we stood up to ask the judge if we could be your family. And she said YES!
You would be my baby and I would be your mama.
Little love, this story fills me with such joy. The ending, knowing that we are yours forever, that makes me so happy. And the journey, the bumpy, bittersweet journey with a God who holds our hand every step of the way, that makes me so joyful too.
This journey is ending. Soon, you will be here and our journey as a family of five will begin. A new journey with bumps and twists of its own, and… I can’t wait.
“I see your smile
And it’s so much sweeter
After all that I’ve been through
And when we laugh
I get a glimpse of forever
And I praise God that I found you
And anytime someone asks me
How it all unfolded
I’ll tell them
Such incredible chances
Make for marvelous love.
Just like the sun lights up the moon
This love is a reflection
Of more than just me and you
Our lives were less than ordinary
And while I couldn’t see past tomorrow
God was making history
Oh my, what a beautiful story of love.”
-Mandi Mapes, Story of Love