Today Lily strung a jumprope from the couch to the TV. She tried to jump over it. Two things hindered her. First, she has a disformed hip (that she will be having surgery on early next year). And second, she has never jumped before in her life. When Lily runs through the house all of her 40 pounds sound like an elephant stampede! When we first got Lily six months ago, we were shocked at how she had zero muscle on her body. You could tell this was a little body that had not moved much in 9 years. Now Lily is getting muscle on her body. She loves to show us! She could barely walk ten steps in China without stopping and begging for someone to carry her. At first we thought she could not walk distances. We thought it must be her bad hip. And she clung so tightly to Daniel and didn't like me in the beginning that I didn't want her to be carried. I felt like she was getting royal treatment while being mean to me. Then one night she woke up crying and when I went to her she was grabbing her knees saying hurt, hurt. I felt horrible...like a mean step mom. So I thought, yes her legs are hurting, she must not be able to walk. So my new plan was to carry her as much as I could.
Now that six months have passed, I realized that she can walk....she just didn't have any muscle and wasn't used to walking any significant distance at all! From what we can gather, her records say she didn't walk till she was almost five years old. That means she probably spent most of her five years in a crib...I'm guessing. And she clearly tells us that she didn't go outside to play. When I ask her about what she did all day long she says "bed."
Lily has spent her life in a special needs orphanage in a poor little city in China. Some orphanages I hear are more like a day care than an institution (Maria's Big House of Hope, A New Day). And I have no idea what normal orphanages are like in China. I've only been to one, special needs orphanage. And with so many children with challenges and handicaps and illnesses, I am sure that going outside to play red rover isn't a top priority. Also, in Lily's orphanage there were only three children older than her. One precious girl is almost completely blind, one girl is crippled, and one boy has cystic fibrosis. So you have my Lily. Her special need in the orphanage was a medical issue that did not prohibit her movement. (Her hip wasn't her need. We didn't know about it until we got her home and had X-rays.) They also said her other special need was mental delay, but that wouldn't prohibit movement either. So it just so happened that Lily was grouped with precious children that couldn't really go outside easily, so they never got to.
So from what I can gather from Lily, and from what we saw while we were there, the extent of Lily's walking everyday was maybe down the hallway. She ate in her bed and slept in her bed and spent most of her day in her bed.
When I asked Lily why she didn't jump in the orphanage she pointed to the jumprope and said she didn't have one of them (in her sounds-rude-but-isn't-trying-to-be Chinese voice like HELLO MOM...NO JUMPROPE!) But then I ask her again why she couldn't have just jumped without one. She looked at me and said, "Mommy, nobody jump!" And then I remember the three kids she spent her days with. None of them could jump. Nobody jumped. Or wanted to for that matter. What in the world would Lily have to jump about?
After about 20 tries, Lily finally got the hang of how to jump across a jumprope. You could tell she thought she was the most talented kid ever! She was so proud of herself! I just thought how in the world did little Lily survive in that orphanage without going crazy. The way she has blossomed here. The way she relates so well to children and plays and follows rules and learns! What would her life have been like if we had not seen her and said yes, we can take her? We never would've adopted Lily had I not actually spent time with her and fallen in love with her. From her poorly documented life, and her extremely inaccurate medical records (that said she is deaf and severely mentally delayed) to the photo that was about 7 years old of Lily on her file (that she was bald in and totally looked like an alien due to the weird shirt she was wearing and her odd-shaped bald head) we would've never said yes to her. Besides, we didn't even think China would allow us to adopt two children at once. But look at her now! The medical records were so wrong and now that we let her hair grow and have given her good healthy food and supplements and lots of lots of love she looks like a normal pretty little girl!
Adoption is so scary at first, but it's so worth the risk. And if you are saying that I had it easy because I got to meet Lily first before I adopted her, then I'll give you the email to our adoption agency and you can sign up for a trip to the same orphanage and maybe meet your son or daughter to be!
What I cannot get over is how bleak and dry and sad and misfortunate her life was. It was bad. When your kids whine about stupid things you should tell them about Lily's first 9 years of her life. Her mind has a lot of stuff in it that will work itself out and we will work through together, but she is doing SO SO good.
Daniel and I don't take any credit for choosing Lily. I'm not bragging on what great people we are for taking in Lily. God got a hold of us and we had no choice. The decision was made and we have never regretted it. We knew a lot of uncertainties and a lot of unknowns and a lot of fears, but one thing we knew for sure...we could not leave her there.
And every day we thank God that He used us, that He chose us, to be Lily's parents in this lifetime. We love her. She is such a joy. She is a miracle. To watch her life is like watching a movie. A story of a little girl who had nothing who transforms before our eyes. There is so much power in the decisions we make.
We make decisions every day. How we spend our money. How we spend our time. How we feed ourselves. How we treat others. How we spend our emotions. And at the end of the day if we haven't spent all these things on Eternal things, it means nothing. And it's not even about just doing it for Eternity. You feel better right now in this lifetime when you reach out of yourself to others. You get out of your pity party. Probably none of us reading this have it worse than Lily had it. But Lily doesn't want pity. She just wants to go to school, she wants to jump, she wants to go outside and she wants to go shopping!
What do you want? What do you want to do with the rest of your life? I challenge you to open your heart to adoption. You are not too old or too poor or too anything that God cannot use you. YOU ARE PERFECT FOR ADOPTION. And if perhaps you don't make the age cutoff or physical health requirements, then I can give you two names right now of families that are in the process of adopting and would love to receive a love offering from you to help! I think that so many people just say they aren't called to adopt. I have struggled with this. I don't want to sound mean or insensitive or wrong, but why wouldn't God want you to adopt? Not enough money....make cupcakes! Not enough patience....maybe you need to grow some. Too old...I think the cutoff for most countries is 55. Too messed up and in need of constant attention yourself....maybe you need to go to Lowe's, get yourself a ladder, and get over it (sorry, I couldn't resist, that was my favorite quote from church last week from Larry Stockstill).
I think that most of the problems we face in America these days are laughable sometimes. Most of us get offended by other church people, argue church doctrine with other Christians, can't decided where we should eat, want the latest gadget, and can't get along with our husbands or wives long enough to think about what kind of problems could be affecting other people in the world.
Missions isn't just sending a team or sending money. Missions is a way of life. On a mission to get outside myself and do something eternal for others!
There are other Lily's and Hope's out there that just want to jump! Or go outside! Do you know India has so many orphans they line the streets at night sleeping!
There are many missions in life and causes we can support, but God calls helping widows and orphans TRUE RELIGION. Children need so much help. We have got it. We have been helped long enough. Now we need to help someone helpless.
Mother Teresa said that when she looked into the face of the poor she looked into the face of Jesus. Jesus tells us to love others as we love ourself.
Most people who have biological children did not pray and ask God if it was His will for us to get pregnant and give birth to a child. Why do we feel like a lightening rod from Heaven has to strike us to tell us that we need to adopt?
If you are reading this and you have the slightest desire to adopt, what is holding you back? Just today I met someone who said they have always wanted to adopt and they hope it might happen. But if you don't apply to adopt an orphan, it will never happen. We can't just wait and see if it happens naturally. Live intentionally. With purpose and drive and significance.
If you have a cause in life you are passionate about and know it's your calling, then you have found your place. We should all do what the Holy Spirit leads us. However, if you are living by your own safe American plan and are feeling there is something more, consider the 170 million children in the world who need a family to keep them safe, feed them, love them, and give them a chance in life. Just consider it...