In November of 2005 God solidified His calling in our life to adopt. In December of that same year, the Lord revealed this plan He was unfolding in our lives would deliver great JOY. Psalm 86:4 became my prayer:
"Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
for I put my trust in you."
for I put my trust in you."
Through His guidance we became foster parents and, in July of 2006 a phone call came that delivered our first placement. On that very hot July night I welcomed one of the greatest gifts I would ever receive into my arms.
She arrived disconnected and frightened.
She needed me...
and though I didn't fully realize it, I needed her.
Yet, she had another mother and this would wreck my heart.
My heart and head wrestled the emotions and thoughts that accompanied this new role of foster mother. Many times when Ari and I left the weekly visits with her birthmom I wanted to run away with her; yet there was this overwhelming feeling I had something that did not belong to me, because I did. I knew Ari's birthmom loved her, and when we would leave those visits the reality of her mama's loneliness without her daughter was palpable.
After 18 months of absolute JOY, God lifted Ari from our home, and 6 months after that, from our life. Ari transitioned back to her birthmom and on May 21st, the day we arrived home from China with Libi Faith, Ari Joy and her mama left for Mexico.
AND TAKES AWAY.....
BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD
The last time I heard her sweet voice was June 21st, 2008 on her 3rd birthday. They called just as they were getting ready to cross the border into Mexico.
Over the last 3 years I have deeply grieved losing her. Honestly, it is like she died, yet we had no services, no time for mourning...life just went on.
So, it has been in the secure arms of my Savior that I continue to find comfort and rest for my broken heart. He has shown me that it is through the hardest things that He can accomplish the greatest things.
God used Ari to birth greater JOY into our life and home than we had ever imagined. Ari also awakened a desire in my heart to have a daughter. He grew my faith to trust Him, even when it breaks me.
That is just a sampling of what the Lord accomplished through the gift of Ari in our lives. He did more than I can mention, and more than I fully see.
This week a fundraising event came to my attention. An adoptive family were holding a raffle for a lovely Tiffany bracelet. I thought this was a fantastic idea. As I read through the details and then came upon the photo of the bracelet I was moved. The bracelet had a charm dangling from it that had the word "JOY" engraved on it, which immediately reminded me of Ari. For a couple of years I have thought of what I could purchase to permanently carry Ari with me...and be an outward symbol of the memory I carry in my heart.
I asked Brad to purchase a ticket to help this family in their fundraising efforts. I thought about the bracelet a few times, and how nice it would be to have something like this as that symbol of my memory of her, but knew it was not an affordable purchase now, or frankly anytime in the near future! (LOL!)
Or, as I see it, God gave me a Christmas present.
I have been so emotional over this prize and it is hard to express all it means, but I wanted to try, because this is why relationship with God knocks my socks off. Only He can do something like this. Only He understands the deep places of my heart in a way that a gift like this communicates. It was not until after we were notified that we won that I saw what the charm held on the other side:
Three little cherubs.
In my life these cherubs symbolize the three little Chinese daughters that have been birthed into my arms due to the one gift of JOY that came before them. The charm is held on by three essential links (my boys), on a chain (my hubby), held together by a clasp...my Blessed Heavenly Father!
May you know the depth of the riches of His great love for you! He gave us His Son...was that not enough? His love endures forever!