This is a picture of two women that I do not know their names, I only saw their faces but briefly, yet I can tell you in a minute that I know their hearts, and they are some of the strongest most selfless women on this planet. They are foster mothers.
Today we had the VERY GREAT honor of being with a special family that we have met here from Alabama. The Rices. Today they met their daughter for the first time and she is now forever in their arms. We were able to be there in the room to feel the excitement, the hair on our arms was electric while having goosebumps all at the same time. The most amazing part of the experience for me as well was that my girls Narae and Adah were there to witness and experience every second. They had a front seat to being in the delivery room of an adoptive Mum. It is a sacred place, holier to me than any church, for this I believe is where God is most pleased as He sees the orphans embraced through His people. It is almost as if you can sense those 'cloud of witnesses' that the Bible talks about.....waiting to see the miracle unfold. Today I got to be one of those witnesses. Today, I got a front seat in another miracle taking place. Today I got to be the onlooker and take the pictures that this family will treasure forever, and use to show their little girl about the love they had for her before they even knew her name.
They will also tell her all about her foster mother. One of the things we cherished with Narae's meeting, was that we had the entire first meeting on tape, and we could just watch Narae's foster mother talk all about her. Narae was fascinated to see it this year on her birthday as I know after experiencing this journey her heart has been changed forever.
Today, as I watched from behind the lens, I saw two women meet for the first time, that both would instantly give up their lives for this little girl. They are worlds apart, languages apart, cultures and customs apart, but they share the heart of a mother. They embraced and the tears just flowed down their faces.
I can't even put into words the uniqueness of the moment. As questions were asked and answers were given, you could sense the upcoming separation for the foster mother and the sadness on her face, yet for the adoptive Mum there was sadness for the foster mother, but expectation, joy and peace for a time of great waiting was about to come to an end.
Today, I was able to also meet Adah's foster mother and embrace her for the first time. I knew that she would love on Adah, but to witness how she just cuddled her up under her arm like her little bird. That love was still tangible. We just knew when Adah came home that she had been loved. She was so content, and she went so easily to Mark. We found out today that her foster brothers used to rush home so that they could see who would hold Adah first.
I have to say in a way, I had a strange feeling with this woman across from me holding Adah, for it was as if there was a bond there and a time I wasn't a part of. Yet, it is a part of Adah's story, who she is and who she is becoming. The connection was still strong. She had brought a gift for Adah which I definately wasn't expecting. She bought Adah another Hanbok. The first one was given to her when she was one, and here over 6 years later, she had blessed us with another precious gift and it fit Adah perfectly. She was amazed to hear about Hanna. I showed them our pictures, and as soon as she saw the one I have in the album of Adah as a small baby her foster mothers eyes lit up, for she was the one that took the picture.
How do I express in words the gratitude I had for this woman?
How do I express TOMORROW in words the gratitude I have for Hanna's Foster Mum?
I've seen the pictures, I've watched the videos. I can see she is a quiet woman, a tender woman, yet clearly a strong women. You could tell the love that Adah's foster mother had for her in the pictures I was given, and you could see the heartbreak in the pictures just before she let her go. It's interesting, for in Hanna's foster mother pictures, even from 6 month old, I feel like I see both in her eyes. For she knows all the pictures that have been taken of Hanna are going to the family that will have her forever. She knows going in that all of her love is going to end in a broken heart.
I have no time for the person that says to me..."Well this is what they are expected to do." In Korea, the culture is lacking greatly with their attitudes to orphans yes, but these woman are like their beacon on a hill. I said to Mark today after riding the subway and seeing how clean, efficient and modern everything is. I said how is it that their city was destroyed decades ago, but now is what seems leap years ahead of America. He talked about how war makes you stronger. These woman, I feel like their heartbreak must make them stronger.
The foster mother that we met today of the Rice family had 11 foster children. 11 times I thought, her heart has been broken. She has walked this little girl through several surgeries, through different ailments, all to know that this day would come. The day she would sit across from an American Mother, and pass along the precious soul she had been caring for. And to think that within the next few days she will most likely be given another baby to start the whole process all over again. The Rices little girl is not replaced at all,her spot just moves do a different place in her very large heart.
Adah's foster mother only fostered for a few years. She stopped doing it in 2006 and I wonder if it was because the heart ache was just too much. I don't know that I would have the strength to do what these women do.
I have a sweet friend that is a foster mother in America and her strength and sacrificial love put me to shame.
As excited as I am to get our little girl, the tears flow easily and I wouldn't say I'm exuberant because I know that a heart is going to be ripped in two. Do I believe in miracles? If you have been following any part of this journey than you know I do. Today with the Rices a miracle took place. They prayed for their little girl to just have peace and come into their arms. That's EXACTLY what she did. The Rice family just spent a little time in our room tonight and we shared some supper together. Lil' Daria is grieving now. You can see her heart is broken, but in time we know it will heal. For now the hurt is real though. So pray for them today as well, as it is their first night together.
This process IS CHILDBIRTH. Yet there is NO EPIDURAL. Horrific pain has to take place for a child to be born into this world, yet there is joy on the other side. The amazing most sacrificial thing with Hanna, as the other girls is that I feel like this woman is going through this pain for me. For a woman she doesn't know....and that just blows me away. Tomorrow will be her labor, as ours was leading up to this day, hers will be the opposite, but each day will bring healing.
Tonight, Mark tucked the girls into bed, and I said..."This is the last night just the two of you her in Korea ."
The LAST NIGHT.
Tonight is the last night that Hanna's foster mother cuddles in beside her.
the last night she gives her a bath, and dries all her little toesies. The last night to read her a book and tuck her in bed.
I'm sure that everything else is going to fall to the wayside. The dishes will wait, the chores will remain, because she is going to soak in every last second with her little girl. The little girl that she has rocked with, sung to, slept with and comforted. Those of you that have seen the videos of Hanna, have seen just how content she is. That is from LOVE! Unconditional Love.
Than maybe when she's asleep, she'll go back over everything that's packed. All the things that she has prepared for us to meet Hanna's needs. I'm sure she'll go to bed, thinking of everything Hanna will need for a day. She knows the things that soothe her, she knows her every need. Just stop and imagine trying to pack all the 'what if's ' up into a Big Blue Bag. It's impossible. I can only imagine she has to have a faith to do that. To trust the daughter she has raised for the past year to a family she has never met who will take them across the oceans, far from everything familiar.
So tonight as I go to bed, and I know so many of you are on pins and needles of excitement for us. Please pray for this precious woman. Pray that her heart will be comforted. I have no doubt there will be waterfalls of tears tomorrow. Pray for her husband and her two daughters that will come home from work, from school to a quiet house without a little girl. We will have joy tomorrow, we will have noise, we will have activity, but they will have stillness.
Than pray for Hanna's heart. I know you will. I was looking at little Daria tonight, and we showed her the video of Hanna. She was intent on watching it. I thought, how amazing is it of God that already in our baby girls young heart with the grief she's about to experience that God has given her a companion. I think Daria and Hanna will have a miraculous connection, one that will have the scent of angel dust all around. Though the Rice's live in Alabama I think they will be forever friends.
We both knew this day was coming. It is a day we have dreamed for. It started with the prayers of a little girl that prayed for a little sister, and it climaxes with us seeing our dreams come true thanks to her prayer. Two faces will be watching the miracle unfold, two mothers. One has blonde hair, and hazel eyes, they other black hair with brown eyes. Two women from separate sides of the world that will share this bond forever, the love of a girl, born on August 7, 2010 that changed each of our lives forever.
Pray I may glean just a fragment of her strength. She is part of me, a part of my child and I will be forever grateful for her sacrifice.
Yes, Hanna's foster mother knew this day would come, but I know she's loved Naeun with everything she is. She willingly is breaking her heart for mine to be full.
Tonight we are standing on the edge of another miracle. We will soon be in another room with our girls once again, yet this time we will be the main players in a drama that is about to have a scene change.
Six years ago, Adah's foster mother had a broken heart as she sacrificed and went through her labor for me. Today, I could embrace her and we rejoiced together at the girl that Adah is and is becoming. That day I pray will come again with Hanna.
God has showed us His fingerprints and tomorrow I know we won't feel like we see His fingerprints, but I believe we will feel completely carried in His hands.
I have a feeling too that if I listen very carefully tomorrow I may just hear the sound of a thousand angels wings that are watching God's work unfold.
Daria's foster mother, holding her for the last moments.
Adah meeting her foster mother for the first time.
A bond NOT breakable by Time or Distance.
THIS IS LOVE!