Monday, September 28, 2015

One Less...A Three-Year-Anniversary

Over a year has passed since I've posted anything on the blog!  Adoption is a roller coaster.   When we are UP, I am too busy treasuring the moment to write.  When we are DOWN, I have no desire to write.  The cycle continues non-stop, and so writing doesn't happen.  But every up and down is worth it...Adoption is worth it.

I am overwhelmed with excitement of how our "adoption story" continues... A year into our adoption of Ajay and Smita, I realized that our journey was bigger than us.  We were just a small part of a much bigger plan being orchestrated by God.  It makes my heart explode to see tiny puzzle pieces still falling into place because the big picture He is creating is amazing.  This keeps happening over and over again!

Today, on the three year anniversary of our 2-day Both Hands/House of Heroes Project (the service project that funded our adoption), I am overjoyed to share the story of Michelle and Sneha.

Michelle and her son showed up to work on our Both Hands/House of Heroes Project even though we were strangers.  We shared mutual friends, but we had never met.  I don't even know if I had a real conversation with Michelle on the day of the project because I was so completely overwhelmed with the work, schedule, and details of the of the craziest days of my entire life!

Looking back on photos of the day, it is clear to see that Michelle is amazing!

This photo melts my heart...  
Michelle and her son working alongside my sister, my brother, my sister-in-law, my dad, and my two daughters... no one having a clue that one day, Michelle would be like "family"...
no one knowing that on the other side of the world, she had a daughter that was like a sibling by circumstance to Ajay and Smita.

One year and two months after our project, we were finally given permission to travel to India to get Ajay and Smita.  As we were walking out of the Ashram for the last time, Mr. P, the orphanage director, stopped us and said, "Wait. There is a child that I want you to meet.  Take photos and videos of this child.  Give them directly to your agency.  Find a family for her in America."  He explained that the little girl had a misshapen hand and feet, but she could write and "her mind was sharp."  Mr. P sent for the caregiver to bring Sneha into the main office to meet us.  She was adorable, beautiful, vibrant...  She followed instructions and counted her numbers for our video camera.  She allowed us to snap photos of her.  And then she RACED Smita across the orphanage courtyard to demonstrate that her physical disabilities did not slow her down one bit!!!  She had overcome that obstacle!  She was just as fast, if not faster, than Smita!  She was truly an amazing little girl!  Mr. P explained that in India, she did not have a chance of finding a family...but in America, she could thrive.  He heaped extravagant praise upon Americans for their willingness to accept "special needs" of all kinds.  He spoke awhile about God's blessings that would be heaped upon the family willing to accept Sneha.  "God will bless them."  Sneha was the only friend in the age group of Ajay and Smita that we were permitted to meet, so we seized that moment to take photos of Sneha with our children, thinking that it would be the only physical treasure of past friendships that they would take with them from India.
 Although they had never had toys to call their own, Ajay and Smita gave their new toys of a Delta airplane and a four-color ink pen as gifts to Sneha.  I was humbled by their generosity.  Leaving the orphanage for the last time was already emotional, but there was an added sadness knowing that Sneha had watched her friends leave with a family...and she was being left behind. 
After returning home to America and settling in for a few days, we finally mailed the photos of Sneha to our agency.  I also advocated for her on an India adoption forum.  Several families expressed an interest, but one family ultimately came forward, knowing that Sneha was their daughter...Michelle's family!

After all of the grueling work of completing endless documents, fundraising, and the painful wait, the adoption of Sneha is legally complete!  Two years after we met Sneha, she officially has a family, and they are ready to get her!

My closest friends know that I LOVE special dates and anniversaries on the calendar!  Sooooo...TODAY, on the three-year-anniversary of our (2-day) Both Hands/House of Heroes project--the project where I first "met" Michelle, the project on which she worked so hard to help a widow and to bring Ajay and Smita home not knowing that it would ultimately lead to the finding of her own daughter--Michelle, her husband, and her son are boarding an airplane for India to finally unite with Sneha!  AMAZING!  What makes the story even better is that they have family members that live about three miles from where we just moved!  I foresee a glorious reunion in the future!

Three other children from the Ashram have come home to America in the last few months that were very close to Ajay and Smita.  All of these friends are now like family.  Our network of Ashram mommies and daddies is so crucial to the growth, survival, and healing of our adoptive families...and I can only imagine how important all of these children will be to their own healing in the future.  They shared beds, clothing, meals, triumphs, traumas, sorrows, everything together.  Only God could write a story where orphans as close as siblings would be reunited on the other side of the world to be lifelong family friends.

I cannot wait to see Sneha in the arms of her family!

(Awesome photography of Both Hands Project by my friend Jawan McGinnis.)

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