It was a great day. We are loving school. Dean is very busy with work. In fact he came home to see if anyone wanted to go with him while he did estimates. Azahria and Zion took off with Daddy.
They didn't get home til after 7.
I was cleaning the kitchen, getting ready to put the kids to bed when I felt compelled...suddenly and extremely...compelled...to go to the computer and look at Tommy's photo. Ok let's back up. Remember in the beginning when I called Lisa and she said "have you thought of Ethan or Tommy?" and we quickly said no. She chose to send us their files anyway. I had opened Ethan's file first and knew very quickly. It was a 'long' process of a 'long' several days of us arguing with God, debating whether or not to surrender...was He REALLY asking us to do this? Now?
We looked at Tommy's file and noted some deformities with his outer ears as well as cleft lip and palate. That was it. We moved toward "Ethan" with God confirming it every step of the way.
China has recently changed it's laws regarding adoption and it is now possible to adopt two children at once. We've laughed at this thought and even verbalized (oh...be careful what you say...!) how God called us to adopt TWO the first time around...this time He was very specifically calling us only to Ethan. ...
So between that first day September 6 and Wednesday evening, September 21...there was not one thought of Tommy. None. We were completely focused on moving forward to bring Ethan or little Zhonghua into our family.
Then Wednesday night. I remember dropping the wooden spoon into the pot and moving quickly to the computer where I sat down and opened Tommy's photo. Instantly I saw a video option ...I paused and thought "weird...I never even viewed his video before...God made it so clear it was Ethan". So I opened the video. Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to see.
A little boy laying in his crib. He's over 2 years old. He laying there with his Haberman bottle (which I used from birth to 15 months with Azlan) and drinking his milk. His other hand is caressing his head. I uncontrollably sobbed. I'm not a sobb-er. At all. I was sobbing. This little boy wanted to be touched and here he was laying in a crib caressing his own head just like you would do to your baby. The video then moves to his feet which he's kind of watching as he moves them slightly back and forth on the crib mattress. He's laying in a cloth diaper and girl's clothing (common). I'm sobbing. Then the video moves to him sitting in a ball pit (you know like in a play area where the children sit with all the bright colored balls). He's sitting just looking at the balls. Then the provider starts (gently) throwing balls at him. He looks at the ball. Doesn't smile. Looks at the provider. Who then starts throwing handfuls of balls at him. I'm crying hard and now talking to the computer saying 'stop...'. I had to pause the video as the thought hit me "what if...what if God is ....calling..." I couldn't finish it. I put my face in my hands and cried and cried. I then finished watching the video and it got worse. The provider puts him on a rocking horse and is holding him trying to rock him. He looks terrified. He is barely (if at all) holding his head up. If she let go he would fall over. Picture me putting baby Izrael (almost 7 mth) on a rocking horse. Thats about the image it was. Except this little boy is over 2 years old. He then starts to cry and she taps his hand to get him to stop. I can barely see the video at this point b/c I'm crying so much. It ends with him laying in his crib, sucking on his Haberman bottle.
I clean my face. Dry my eyes. 20 minutes later Dean walks in. I'm noticeably "streaked-face". We talk and I cannot even get the words out. I know what's going on. I tell him "God's doing something...can we really do this?" Dean just looks at me and smiles.
We go one with our night. I had a business call. Dean put the 6 children to bed. I fed Izrael and put her to bed. He typed up several estimates.
Then we sat down to watch the video. Immediately it hit me again and I'm crying.
We talk. We agree this seems significant. We discuss how maybe God is letting us know He has more plans for the future. We discuss the video. Dean talked about how touched he was watching it. We talk about how strange it is that we never even viewed the video before...then it hit me. I went and looked up the video. It was brand new. Uploaded just 6 days ago. Oh now it's making sense....I was compelled to view his photo...to see a new video that was just posted....?
Dean went to bed, I stayed up to read. Job is done. Jeremiah. Amos and Proverbs. Tonight I didn't want to read. Have you ever been there? You don't want God to speak ... yet you don't want Him NOT to speak. I didn't want to read and see nothing...and I didn't want to read and get a very clear answer specific to Tommy. I wanted to be blank.
So I opted to read. I prayed "God please show us yes or no. Clearly. We don't want to go through the "10 day process" again of praying, crying, seeing dots, being confused as to whether to connect them or not...please just tell us yes or no."
Proverbs 24. 24 days ago I started this book. God knew back then where we would be today. Nothing 'just so happened'. 24 days ago we didn't have a clue. 24 days later I'm praying "God please show us yes or no".
Prov 24. verse 3 and 4.
By wisdom (fear of the Lord ~ according to Job) a house is built,
and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled with
rare and beautiful treasures.
I stopped and pictured our house a year from now. 8 children...maybe 9...? Rare and beautiful treasures. Isn't that beautiful? 4 of them being orphans. Castaways. Fatherless. And He turns them in rare and beautiful treasures? I loved this. I sat and enjoyed it.
verse 11 jumped out almost 3D.
Rescue those being led away to death,
hold back those staggering towards slaughter.
If you say "but we knew nothing about this"
does not He who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not He who guards your life, know it?
Will He not repay each person according to what He has done?
I don't think I was breathing. I read it again. Closed by Bible. Quickly. Opened it. Quickly. Read it again. Was it really there or did I just imagine that? I have read this book dozens of times. This passage seemed literally written for us. Right now. For Tommy.
If you saw this video...you would know. He looks like he's dying. We are arguing with God that "we knew about Ethan..but we didn't know about Tommy". Doesn't the One who guards our life, already know? Did we have to know? He knows. That's all the matters.
I jumped up off the couch and read it to Dean. He was out of it. I closed my Bible and began to pray.
I dreampt many times about little Tommy. I even dreampt about us picking him up in China and we put the cutest little beanie hat on his head.
Dean was gone early the next morning. I still had puffy eyes that were even bloodshot...remember I sobbed a lot the night before. I wrote my friend Wendy. And Amanda. They both knew. Wendy said something that really hit me. I had told her I was so scared of God asking us to something crazy. First of all she said "um Janice...8 children already IS crazy in most people's minds!" True. We are a controlled 7. It's good. Life is good. We can totally do 8. 9 makes us insane. And 9 all ages 8 and under makes us plain ... crazy. She said this to me..."don't you already know your answer if God has made it clear to you?". Yes I did. What was I fighting? My commitment is 'yes Lord'. Yes You have stretched my faith beyond where I thought it was. But isn't that what faith is? If I could see and predict the future...how is that faith? No faith is jumping out to the unseen...knowing there are the biggest, strongest hands right underneath you. But not close enough that you can feel them. No our feet can't feel them. It feels like we just stepped off a cliff...but we know He's right there. The moment that we slip we'll feel them.
So last night after the kids went to bed we talked. I showed Dean the verses from the night before and he read them. And read them again. He said "this is incredible". It was such a clear answer. We couldn't miss it. God's answer was quick, clear and concise. "Rescue him from death. Yes I know you didn't know this or plan this. I did. I guard your life and I knew it. I will repay you. "
I told him Lifeline required a document filled out to request another child. Before I gave it to him we watched the video again. I started it and oh my goodness...it hit me...his Haberman bottle was empty. He is laying in his bed...caressing his little head...sucking like crazy...on an empty bottle. I felt like I was going to be sick. I stopped the video and went in the bathroom for a good cry. I have seen a lot of sad, horrific sights regarding children. I've had to step over starving orphans in Africa. God was giving me something more for Tommy. I've never been so emotionally affected. Rescue him from death.
I closed the computer. We filled out the document.
We just found out that Ethan is in a foster home. This all makes sense now. He's not in the social welfare institute. He's in a home run by an American caretaker. Ahhh. That's where his happy demeanor comes from. It gets better....as soon as we get the PA for him we will be in direct contact with the American lady running the home. We can get regular updates and and have regular communication though the entire process. How beautiful is that?
Last night in Amos 4. Verse 13.
He who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals His thoughts to man, He who turns dawn to darkness and treads the high places of the earth~the Lord God Almighty is His name.
That stopped me in my tracks. No matter what God shows us there's always that human reasoning that slips in. "Has God realllly said...?" And then I read this. This one that created all things...also reveals His thoughts to man. Ahhh.
This morning we woke with a mix of peace and anxiety. Yes. I said that. Constant surrender in this house :) Dean went and did his reading and he came back to show me what God showed him.
The LORD, the Mighty One, is God, and He has spoken.
Wow. Stop questioning. Have peace. He's spoken.
Dean woke this morning with thoughts on his mind about concerns for our future. Financially. For when the boys come home. And God answered.
Verse 7 .... I am God, your God!
I have no complaint about your sacrifices or the burnt offering you constantly offer.
But I do not need the bulls from your barns...
or the goats from your pens.
For all the animals of the forest are Mine,
and I own the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know every bird on the mountains and all the animals of the fields are mine.
If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for all the world is Mine and everything in it.
Do I eat the meat of bulls?
Do I drink the blood of goats?
Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High.
Then call on Me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you.
And you will give Me the glory.
He is so good. So good to give us clear answers. He doesn't need us to stress about money. It's all His. And what does He want from us? Thankfulness. We thought about that. Thankfulness requires faith and peace.
It reminded us of Jonah 2.
Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. But I, with a song of THANKSGIVING will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
Salvation comes from the Lord.
LOI is submitted for Tommy this morning. I surrender.
...The LORD, the Mighty One, is God, and He has spoken.