I would say that as soon as we put our yes on the table and joyfully learned a sweet two-week-old baby girl would soon be our daughter, things started falling into place. But I can’t say that because this story is so much bigger than happenstance. We’ve been privileged to be part of this amazing narrative that God is crafting, and when he writes a love story, his ways are so much bigger than ours. No plot line is forgotten. No chapter goes unfinished.
The creator of all things drew so close to us and I can honestly say that we felt reality of his presence in new ways as we began to piece together the journey to our sweet girl. The day we learned of Eliza, Jonny talked to a friend, a fellow Iowan and pastor in our denomination. He and his wife have three sweet daughters with Down Syndrome via birth and adoption, and he was an amazing resource for us to ask honest, real questions. In an after thought, really, he happened to ask Jonny where this waiting baby was. It turned out that his mom had a beautiful home in Florida she wouldn’t be at for the time we would need to be there.
Through this precious family, God provided ample and amazing housing for us for the entire adoption wait. When we thought we’d be pinching pennies for a cramped hotel room, God made a way we could have never come up with on our own. He does not leave us on our own. He is the good shepherd who cares for each one in his flock.
We knew we’d be driving all around the state for different appointments and paperwork, but a rental car for what was looking like at least a two-week wait was more than what our meager budget could handle. Friends of ours from when we lived in Des Moines now live in Florida, and very, very generously offered their second vehicle for us to use as our own. Another detail that we worried about, but God had already taken care of. When I think on the love and generosity so many poured out on our family, I am brought to tears. We truly got a front seat to the compassion of the body of Christ…and friends, this was only the beginning.
A whirlwind may be putting it lightly.
We got the call, tried to process life-changing news, and ran around our house, haphazardly throwing clothes in suitcases. We packed diapers and a dear friend brought over two huge boxes of newborn clothes and baby gear for us to borrow. That Saturday morning, we managed to celebrate Christmas with our boys, go through a last-minute home study visit with our social worker, and drive to Kansas City. The airport there had the most affordable plane tickets, and my parents were planning on being there to visit my grandma for Christmas. We would be able to leave the boys with my family, and fly out early Sunday. My amazing mom, who never has time off, happened to already have the next week off, due to Christmas, so she could watch the boys for us.
The timing of everything was something only God could orchestrate.
When the world says no, God makes a way.
God always had a plan for Eliza. Always. And I’m so thankful that we get to be a part of it.
When we finally boarded our plane at 4 a.m. that Sunday morning, I was physically and emotionally exhausted, and if I’m being honest, I was terrified, too. Despite God’s clear faithfulness, I was scared. What were we doing? Others would surely think we were crazy. Were we crazy? Were we making the right decision? I missed my boys already. Anxiety mixed with pregnancy and I actually threw up. I felt fatigued and over my head. I pushed my head back on the plane seat and put in my headphones, turning up a new album Jonny had just downloaded. As we ascended into the clouds, I closed my eyes and tried to breathe. Of course, God met me there, on that plane. This is what I heard:
Skies spin their dance within Your breath. Time runs it’s race within Your hand. And my mind runs wild to comprehend what no mind on earth could understand.
Your ways are higher, your thoughts are wilder. Love came like madness, poured out in bloodwashed romance. It makes no sense but this is grace. And I know You’re with me in this place.
Here, now. All I know, is I know that You are here now. Still my heart, let Your voice be all I hear now. Spirit breathe like the wind come have Your way. Cause I know You’re in this place.
Faith makes a fool of what makes sense. But grace found my heart where logic ends.
Cause I know that You are here now. Heart and soul, God I know that You are here now. Fix my eyes on the things that I can’t see now. And all I see is the glory of Your Name. (“Here Now” by Hillsong United)
Tears streaked my mascara as I dwelled in the reality that even in the unknown, God keeps his promises. His ways are beyond what we can understand — and so. much. better. I took a deep breath and let God’s grace fill my lungs. I knew in that moment that there was so much I didn’t know, and that was okay.
It is so much better to do hard things with God than to do easy things without God.
In every corner of my whole heart, I believe that. We love because He loved us first and He loves with an intimate, outstretched love that I’ve only been able to begin to understand in the times in my life when I relinquish control and rely on his fullness to fill my brokenness. Fear only takes over when I start forgetting that I’m not in this alone. Perfect love casts out fear, and I wish I could tell that scared mama on the plane last month that every single worry would wash away when a tiny baby would be placed in her arms just a few days before Christmas, when so many around the world would celebrate the tiny little baby that changed everything.
I began writing this third part of Eliza’s adoption story believing it’d be the final part, but the words seem to keep coming. Thank you to all who have read along so far — there’s still so much more to share about our journey to our precious, perfect daughter.
I’ll leave you with the words to the next song that played as we flew through the clouds: “Lord I hear You. I know You’re there. Closer now than my skin and bones could dare. Breathing deep within me, you are always with me. I can see You where eyes can’t stare. Brighter now than the sun could ever dare. Breathing all around me, God I know You’re with me here.” (Closer Than You Know, Hillsong United.)
(To be continued)
[Photo by Everyday Moments Photography]
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