As I mentioned in my last post, my daughter is currently in China. In the wee hours of New Year's Day, my husband took our friend Andrew, his son Jack along with Bethany to the airport to check in by 4 AM for their 6 AM international flight. I have to say, that in her 12 (if I'm counting right) trips, 5 of which have been without either of us (her parents), this was the hardest one for her to go on. But that's odd, because it's one of the most JOYful! We've gone so often to visit orphans in their distress, visit the poor, and proclaim Christ in the darkness... but only one other time (our adoption trip) to bring a precious someone HOME with us. How cool is that?? But that was all of us, not just one of us. It was hard to say goodbye that day.
The three enjoyed the trip over, except for Jack who had a brief battle with nausea. I had prayed that their plane would have TV's in the seats, instead of one for everyone to share. God Ephesians 3:20'd my request, bestowing more than "asked or imagined," because Bethany texted me from her seat just before the long flight that she had 3 empty seats next to her! She would be able to stretch out! Not only that, she told me once she got there that the nice flight attendant kept randomly bringing her chocolate. Okay. Extra seats and random chocolate have to be blessings from above!
They arrived in their city in China late at night and got settled in, eager to meet sweet 8-year-old Johanna the next day. They are in a nice hotel, with Bethany's room next door to the guys' room, and a door which opens in between if needed. Another answer to prayer. They were able to rest when they got there and found out that the breakfast buffet downstairs was open until 10 AM. Another bonus. God knew they would need this rest and refreshment, for the hard part was to come.
The next day, they were guided to the conference room in the hotel where they would meet Johanna. Unfortunately, Johanna had understood that when she went into the room, her family would be waiting for her. They had not been taken to the room yet when Johanna got there. By the time they got to the room, there was a scared, tearful young girl being consoled because she was deeply upset when she arrived in the room and no one was there.
And instead of joyfully jumping up and running into her new father's arms, as any pretty adoption story goes, she would not, and will not, have anything to do with her father. And why would she? She has lived her entire 8 years within the confines of an orphanage. With women caregivers. The only men she has ever been around have mainly been doctors (she has had two surgeries on her mouth.) This is a precious, fragile, broken, grieving, frightened little girl.
So, they are on day 3. As we are winding down our day, they are just beginning theirs. Another difficult one. Another day of joyful laughter one moment and terrified tears the next. As of yet, she mainly responds to Bethany. Bethany absolutely adores precious Johanna, and has since before they left, but she shared with me that it is so hard to watch her be so very frightened and upset, and also know that she is the only one who can help and not be able to communicate with her. You see, she also knows very little Mandarin. Bethany knows some, but Johanna's dialect is different. It is very moment-by-moment, and that is stressful for all involved.
My amazing friend Tricia is Johanna's new mom. She waits anxiously at home with the other three children, catching snippets on the webcam and skype. It's so very hard for them to be apart. We have ached and cried together in these past few days, eager for them ALL to be home and for healing to begin. She has written a wonderful post on her blog today about being thankful in all circumstances.
As I was reading her post today, one thing caught my attention for some reason. Of the list of things for which she's thankful she listed this:
"for my phone ringing constantly because I know it is someone else calling to encourage us."
As I read that I thought how nice that was, how awesome the Body of Christ is, and inwardly wished that someone would call and encourage me. I have been so anxious about their daughter's transition, and it is compounded by the fact that my daughter is over there too! So, for just a moment I had a "mini pity party" thinking about how, although this isn't our adoption, I could really use some encouragement and my phone hasn't rung once. But it was really a mini one, because I'm really not a phone person. However, truth be told, I would've been encouraged by that. Just then...
the phone rang.
I checked the caller ID and it was our bank. Still, it was a phone call, so partly wondering if there was a problem with our account, and partly just wanting to talk to someone, I answered. It was the banker who handles our kids' accounts wanting to know if I wanted her to set up online banking. Oh. Well, yes, I guess so. Thank you. Then she asked me a question, just making conversation: "Have you all been on any mission trips lately?"
I told her that yes, in fact, one of us was gone RIGHT NOW. She was fascinated by that fact, and the reason why. Not only that, she encouraged me and assured me that she would be praying for Bethany and wanted to hear how it went when she gets back. And truthfully, more than encouragement for myself, I just want to know that people are praying. Even if it's my banker who thought she was calling about online banking! Every momma just wants to know someone is praying for her little girl. Whether her little girl is a poised, Godly, brave young woman of 16 doing the hardest thing she's ever done, or a grieving, frightened, tiny, confused little girl of 8.
So, will you please join us in praying for them?