Monday, June 25, 2012

God Was Good Before I Came Along

Two years, 5 months into the process of bringing Sunny home I find myself in Amarillo, TX attending a Bible Study with several dozen beautiful, godly women. The focus of the study,  relationships; how we can not truly be in loving relationships until we grasp how our Father loves us. After an introduction to the lesson we are encouraged to embrace the joy of the Lord as we worship. Everyone is expressing joy. Dancing, singing, smiles. I can't do it and I know I'm wrong for it. But I physically can't express it. I feel, on this day, like I'd be faking it to smile that way. I know God has been good to us and we have much to be thankful for, but I can't stop thinking about how sad I am that Sunny is not yet home. Its easy to say (and think you believe) that Jesus is the Father to the fatherless until its your daughter growing up without you in a third world country. How does Sunny see the love of God? Does she see/know his love?

A few weeks prior to this day we had received a translation of a letter that Sunny had a friend write for us. I had encouraged her to write a letter for me with her own be open with me and say what she wants to say. She can't read or write so she had her friend write it. It said,

"Greetings, Mommy. Today I am very happy to be writing you this letter.  Before I get much further, let me greet you in Jesus' name. Mommy, I want you to know I pray for you and Daddy and I pray for my sisters too.  I cannot wait until I am with you all. Mommy, I cannot wait to sing with you and my Dad plays guitar and I can play with my sisters. I always pray for the day/time that you will come and pick me up. Mommy, why doesn’t my dad ever come and see me? I cry for dad a lot. Sometimes when I am with my little friends we always (remember) you....I can’t wait until we are living together.”

Heart-wrenching, real words. A love letter from an orphan longing for home. Before you think bad of Billy for not visiting her more, let me explain. Two summers ago he traveled to Haiti to meet her.   Billy was not what Sunny was expecting even though she had seen pictures of him. She was a tiny six year old. He was a giant, 6'3" bald headed man with a goatee. She was slightly terrified. He made some progress with her that week and it ended well, but we both decided from that point on it might be best if I was the one to visit her. Besides - I wanted to see her. You couldn't hold this mama back! We had no idea then how long the journey would be. And we had no idea - NO IDEA - she was wondering why he hadn't come back....crying for him. Daughters love their fathers. So she longs for him. Why are we so surprised!?

That letter changed things. For one, Billy is headed to Haiti on July 2-6 to see her. She has been given a message that he is coming and she is very excited! For me, her letter sent me into a deeper longing to see her come home....

Back to Bible Study. I am crying so hard I have to leave the room. I'm jealous that everyone has tapped into this joy so easily. I'm mad that I am so single-minded that I can't pull out of the trench of sadness to express the gratitude I know I have inside of me. I have to leave the room to get my composure. 

I go back to worship and still can't really keep it together. I need to go. I pick up Gracie from childcare and she is mad at me for picking her up before she can have snack time. She cries and pitches a fit in the car as I calmly try to tell her I'm sorry...through my own tears. Jesus says, "This is what you are doing to me. Throwing a fit because you're not getting what you want when you want it...holding my love at a distance as you whine." Ouch. 

We pick Libby up from art camp and head home to make lunch. As I'm making sandwiches I ask the girls to tell me how God has been good to them. I tell them Mommy needs to have a grateful, joyful heart and I need reminders. Libby answers first. "God's been good to me because he made me be born." Gracie answers second. "God's been so great to me, he fed me." Right then the Spirit speaks to my heart saying, "Both of your daughters just referred to the time when they were orphans as they spoke of my goodness. I gave Libby life...which is a big deal in China where the lives of baby girls are not often valued.  I fed Gracie....which is a big deal in Ethiopia where many die of starvation. She almost died, you remember. These 2 girls didn't refer to their lives with you when asked about my goodness...not that their lives with you are not good. Even though they were only orphans for a short time until the ages of 10 months and 4.5 months...what they know best about my goodness comes from that time before you came along. Do you not think that Sunny will be able to say the same? She has had me as her only Father for 8.5 years. She will look back on these days and remember my goodness. Now be sure I am a Father to the fatherless and be grateful. Have joy. I am good to Sunny."

.....Speechless. Just tears rolling down my face as deep speaks to deep. Let me not forget his goodness. Let me be like one who says, "But as for me, I will hope continually. And will praise You yet more and more."

The latest is this.
We are in the final Haitian office where the Ministry of Interior (MOI) and Immigrations shares a building. We have been there for 8 weeks. MOI is asking for 5 IDs (long story). The person in charge of obtaining these IDs has been trying for over a week. We need those IDs to move on to next step. This is the last correction needed before MOI can give Immigration permission to print Sunny's passport! Once we have that passport our papers go to the US Embassy and then we are in the final stages....which takes approximately 2 months (give or take a little). We are ever so close, but much prayer is needed. Pray for Billy's trip to Haiti. Pray for Sunny to receive him well with hugs as he dotes on her with dresses and food! And pray that his prayerful, worshipful presence there makes for a turnaround and our process begins to move quickly to its end. I dream of the day I will hold Sunny's hand as we enter our first plane to go home...a day in which I will have NO doubt in God's powerful goodness!


Jen Wells said...

Ah Cindy - so so good. What an encouraging thing to read tonight. Absolutely made me cry. I've been having some whiny angry moments myself with the waits and the plans I don't understand.

I loved that lesson. He is Father to all, isn't He? How precious and patient and loving of Him to teach us all that lesson through you in such a sweet little way. I love your girls - all three of them! Praying for you, for your heart, for your girls, for Billy's visit. Jesus open doors and bring that sweet girl home soon. In the meantime, we put our trust in you.

Holly said...

Oh Cindy, I've been praying daily for God to lift His hand and usher in the day. I believe this is why you have waited...God had one final piece to the Before story. And this piece shall mark you deeply. He is good. He watches. He knows. He loves. Raising your hands in the battle, friend. Praising Him for His goodness. Sunny shall be home soon. Love you dearly!

Bre'anna said...

Cindy, What a beautiful post. I still think of Sunny often, and pray for you both. Looking forward to seeing your post of her homecoming!

The Reeds said...

Oh Cindy, I can't wait to ready about the plane ride... Praying for her to join you.

Kim said...

Having been married for seven years, when times are hard I often find myself looking back to the decade I spent as a single mom and being reminded of how faithful He was to me then. I agree, He is making Himself known to Sunny as I write this. She will come home with memories of how Jesus personally carried her through this time.

Thank you for sharing your heart.

Kelli Diane Kanani said...

Sunny's letter was very eye opening. I am praying that Billy's trip goes really well and that she isn't guarded with him and allows Billy to love on her. I loved the pictures you posted of Billy and Gracie from behind. Girlies love their dads!

Kara M said...

What an incredible letter! Josh and I will be praying for Billy's journey. We'll also continue to pray for the process to pick up speed!!

Tara said...

Wow! I am sitting in my office trying to read this through my tears. Thank you so much for sharing this Cindy. I pray that your heart if overfilled with that joy of bringing your child home. Thank you for being so strong and supporting of all of the rest of us even when you have your own struggles. You are an amazing woman of God and I am so grateful to know you. Huge hugs and prayers to you, Billy and your beautiful girls!
Love you!

Amber said...

This is an amazing post. Incredible and timely as we are in the adoption process too...though not as grueling and long as yours the wait is tough. It is an amazing reminder that God is the father of our children, and that he IS caring for them. May He be real to them as they wait.

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