Tuesday, September 13, 2011

the day we lost maeve

to my dearest colton, chase, aiden, and annslee,

i know i have to write this.  i've known since i found out yesterday, but the words just haven't come as freely as the tears.  i know i told you last night that we had reason to celebrate...and i saw in your eyes that you knew that i was right, but that it was just as hard for you to celebrate as it was me.  it all started on september 1st.  just 13 days ago.

for the last 6 months, i have been quietly feeling the desire for our family to adopt a baby with down's syndrome.  we have all talked about adopting a child for years now...seamlessly weaving the topic in and out of casual conversation on a regular basis.  but in the last year, my heart began listening to God and accepting what it was that i thought He was asking us to do...all the while knowing the potential impact on our family.  as i became more certain, i casually would bring it up.  maybe you remember?

a couple of weeks ago, your father and i tucked you all in and settled on the couch with the company of the tv and the laptop.  after a while, i asked him if we could talk.  and talk, we did.  i told him that i was certain that the Lord had grown a desire and passion in me to adopt a baby with down's syndrome.  he not only listened to my heart...but her heard me.  like, really heard me.  he said that his heart was open to it.  he had been thinking about it too.  so we left it that i would call around the next day to just check into things.

i confided in a friend.  she was supportive and gracious.  it's important to have friends like that.  they are the ones who say, "i think your family would be amazing for that special child.  what can i do to help", when everyone else, God love em, is saying, "what????  are you crazy??"  that friend gave me the contact to an agency and then remembered hearing her friend talk about a girl who had adopted a baby with down's syndrome.  she said that she would contact her friend and see if she could get the person's name and number for me.  "she may be a good person to talk to," she said.

i ended up calling this girl on september 1st, just after i had put annslee down for a nap.  we had a lovely conversation and i felt comfortable immediately.  we breezed right on passed how i got her name and number and settled into a relaxing conversation about how God breaths a dream in your heart and how amazing it is to watch it come to fruition.  she told me her story.  she told me of her children.  she told me of her adoption and how it all came about.  she spoke my deepest desire out loud...that God would drop the baby in our laps if it is what we are to do so that we have no doubts.  she had actually prayed that!!  the prayer that i wanted to pray but was too scared to on account of it being "selfish" and "immature."  always remember that God wants to hear your whole heart...not just the parts of it that seem appropriate.  He already knows it anyways!!  at some point in the conversation we realized that she and her husband know your dad.  can you believe that?  of anyone i could have called in the state, i called someone who's husband happened to be a church planter and they had met with your dad as they were planting 5 years ago.  amazing.  she told me to check out a website that specifically helps find children with down's syndrome adoptive homes.  so i did.

i found a little girl named maeve.  the website was very protective of the orphans...so i had no idea where she was in this big world.  all i knew about her was that she was 3 months younger than annslee, she had down's syndrome but was otherwise healthy, and that she lived in orphanage 31.  i put the computer aside and went on with my day.  i picked you all up from school.  i made dinner.  i helped you with homework and signed your folders.  i bathed you girls and the boys showered.  i  tucked you in.  and then...once again...your dad and i retired to the couch.  would you even believe that he had his friend, the laptop with him and that i was, again on a date with the tv?  so, in the same position we were in when we had the first conversation...we talked about the website.  he logged on and i waited to see what he thought.  i didn't say anything about maeve.  he scrolled through the pictures of children who were waiting to be adopted and stopped on maeve.  he read her profile out loud to me.  then we decided to e-mail the director and ask for more information about her...specifically where in the world orphanage 31 was.  he joked, "what if it's in ukraine?"  i laughed and said, "if she's in ukraine...i'll sign the papers tomorrow!!"  daddy was leaving for ukraine 6 days from that night on a trip he had planned 6 months prior.  God would be "dropping her in our laps."

the next morning, i checked my e-mail twice and had no response.  then daddy asked me if i had heard anything and i knew.  i knew that his heart was in it.  i know your father...and he would never had remembered to ask about it if he wasn't in it.  at 9:45, i checked my e-mail again.  and there it was.  a sentence that changed our lives...

"Maeve is in Ukraine."

the next two days were a whirlwind of God ordained events.  daddy came in contact with missionaries who knew where she was located and agreed to take him to see her.  he changed his travel arrangements to get to her by a 13 hour, overnight train ride.  i stepped back and watched him go after our girl.  and i began to see him falling for her.  i noticed small things...like the way he told his mom about her and the way he didn't question the cost of the train and flight back.  i noticed the way he told people about her.  you know how private he is...and the fact that he was openly talking about this drew me to him in ways like never before.  i trusted him.  i trusted him with maeve.  and the best part was...we were on the same page!  i love that!  we were working as a team...hearts aligned with God's and each others.  while daddy focused on the logistics, i called a social worker to set up the home study.  i also began dreaming about turning the movie room upstairs into her bedroom.  i wondered what her favorite color was.  i wondered if we needed to get another crib.  i wondered if she and annslee could share clothes. 

we talked to you kids on saturday morning.  we told you about her and showed you her picture.  aiden...you...in true aiden form began to tear up when you saw her and said that we "had to get her."  chase...you...in true chase form said, "we kind of already have a lot of kids."  we all laughed at your innocent way of speaking truth.  and colton...in true colton form, you said, "this is going to mean more work for me, isn't it?"  we said, "yes.  it will."  and you said, "ok.  if this is what God wants us to do...then we should do it."  we felt like you all should have a voice.  we wanted you to be a part of this.  we also told you that we were following God every step of the way and that we were asking him to do what was best.  nothing was for sure.

over the next few days we watched you grow.  colton...you especially.  i will never forget our conversation after school one day, last week.

you said, "mom.  i told jonathan and christopher about maeve."

i said, "you did?"

you said, "yeah.  i told them that she may be my sister.  and then i told them that she had down's syndrome.  and i thought they would laugh.  but they didn't.  they just said that that was really cool.  and mom...that made me feel really good about getting her."

i turned away so that you wouldn't see my tears.  i was so proud of you.

we continued to pray as a family for God's wisdom.  we asked that He would do what is best for maeve and that he would guide us.  we asked for his peace over the situation and that he would help us to be certain that it was His will. 

i was pretty certain that maeve was going to be ours.  i was excited for dad to get to see her and hold her.  i imagined him whispering in her ear.  "hold on baby girl.  we are coming to bring you home.  and you have 4 brothers and sisters who can't wait for you.  and you have grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins who are waiting for you.  you are accepted.  you are wanted.  you are loved."

i got an e-mail yesterday.

it simply read...

"Hi Mindy, the team has learned that Maeve's grandmother is in the process of taking custody of her to bring her home.  Great news!"

and my heart broke.  i was so confused. 

you mean, she's not ours?

all day i grieved. 

i kept telling myself, "this is what is best for her.  we prayed for what was best for her and the Lord has answered.  this is a day to rejoice that this sweet, precious child will always know she was wanted by her family.  this is a day to rejoice that she will no longer be in an orphanage.  this is a day to rejoice that she will be loved.  this is a day to rejoice."

but all i wanted to do was cry. all i could focus on was that the Lord had answered my question.  See...for the last 2 weeks...instead of arguing with God about why He was asking us to do this...i was asking, "are we really who you have chosen for maeve? could we really be her family? could we really be that lucky?"  and his answer was, "no."

we had lost maeve.

daddy had to board a train to visit the orphanage...knowing that he wasn't going to see his daughter and i had to tell you guys when you got home from school.  i told you we had reason to celebrate.  but your eyes were as sad as mine.

but isn't that just what a true family does?  they want the best for one of their members, even if she was only a member for a few days.  they look past their own desires to put the other's best interests before themselves.  and that's what we did. 

we loved her the best we could.  even though...she will never know how much.


allyaggie said...

What a soul-touching and heart-wrenching account of your journey. I will pray that God continues to lead you and your family. This is not the end.

Meredith said...

tears. beautiful written (as usual). love.

Julie Jones said...

So heart wrenching...
We are profoundly fotunate to have the opportunity to love and be loved. I'm sorry for your loss.

Sarah Diane Gadsby said...

Mindy, Well, hi :) I randomly happened upon your blog today. First, you are a wonderful writer, and you have a beautiful heart, which I'm certain is only growing bigger and bigger with each new child and each new day you are a mom and a wife. I was sad to read about you losing Maeve, and I can only imagine your sense of loss. Maybe today you can only feel the pain, but I wanted to encourage you by sharing what I saw threaded deep within your story. I saw a family so willing to generously give the gift of family to a little one without. I saw the joy of a Christ-following mom teaching her kids how to openly love like Jesus loved first. I saw a humble, honest-with-God, childlike asking for the desire of your heart, and I saw a trust in Him as you held Maeve in an open hand. Mindy, your story shouts of God's love, His faithfulness to hear our prayers, His mercy to save. It shows that celebration can absolutely mingle with grief when a person hopes in a story greater than their own. Bless you and your wonderful family as you dance through the joy-grief. Thank you for sharing your heart with your kids and with the blog world, and thanks for letting me comment, not that you really had choice over it. :) Love, Sarah.

DDurand said...

What a beautiful story Mindy. When Chad first shared the story of Maeve with me, I saw and heard the love and excitement in his eyes and his voice. Take comfort in God's faithfulness to answer prayers and to open new doors. Your blog is a fantastic legacy for your family and I know God will anoint you all. I am happy for Maeve and that I have people like you and your family in my life.

Juli said...

Mindy, oh how I wish Maeve could be with you. Thank you for your willingness to love. God did and is doing a beautiful thing in you and your family, and I believe God will continue to do a beautiful thing in Maeve. Your courage, deep love, and trust are true graces. I have no doubt that your life and Maeve's life are changed because you have loved her. Peace to you, friend.

shantijoy said...

Wow! I can really relate to this...
Did I tell you about the little girl we almost got before Darin?

Thanks for trusting God with your heart. He knows exactly where your baby is right now.