I have mixed feelings about sharing Mei's past and considering the lack of information we do have, I feel like she gets the gift of knowing the few details we know. With that being said, when I look at this precious, deserving face- some of the truths get to be told so more deserving faces find forever families and orphanages get more help. I think there’s an appropriate balance and I hope I hit it.
The day we visited her orphanage was the hardest day of my life. This is truth. We had Lola and Oliver with us, along with Aunt Kebby. Our entrance didn't go as planned and I was caught off guard right away and very overwhelmed. Very. Mei went through a serious of emotions then settled right back in to her "home," her orphanage. I am sharing this picture for several reasons…. keep reading. These plastics, green chairs sit in a room about the size of my living room. It is filled with metal cribs lined with wood boards, and these chairs. It lacked everything. Everything. Orphanages are funded by their cities and unfortunately this orphanage is in a very, very poor area. We didn’t need our guide to explain this. It was obvious. There were no toys, no food, no color, no sunlight. It smelled. It felt very and oddly uncomfortable, despite the warm welcome and nannies who were lined up to greet Mei. In fact, a couple nannies came on their day off with tear filled eyes to say good-bye to Mei one more time. It was clear she was loved and she loved them back. When we all got inside the building and tears subsided, Mei handed out some of the food we brought. This was the first time we saw her walk or converse. We were shocked. She was quite the talker. She told anther child to get up from her chair (her spot) and she sat down confidently, despite being the smallest child walking.
Then my heart dropped.
My child, my spoken-for, no longer an orphan child… she looked like an orphan again. Despite our preparation, nonstop love of just three short days, co-sleeping, cute Target dress and hair bow, and a full belly… she looked like she belonged there. She was comfortable, even “in her element” so to speak. A couple times I had to look for her twice, because she truly blended back in. I was speechless. I can barely remember the entire visit due to the overwhelming feeling of sadness and shock. I was blown away with such deep, heart-grabbing sadness. I also was grieving more than ever for her loss. Despite it all, this was and had been her home for almost three years. I just stared at her. I felt somewhat angry. Not at her, just the reality of it all. If someone asked Mei if she’d like to stay there or go back with us, I honestly think she would have chosen to stay. I wanted to use every muscle in my body and rip her out of the green chair. I wanted to tell her with love and conviction "I have better for you sweet child! I can give you so much more! Trust me! There's better joy ahead. There's more things to dream of. " It was beyond gut-wrenching. Beyond heart-breaking. I hated she looked like she fit there. None of the kids fit there, yet none of them know that. These kids need voices. They need volunteers. Food. Familes. Interaction. Stimulation. Medical care. They need us. They need orphan prevention. They need education. They need more.
On the way home, Mei grieved outwardly for an hour. It was a hard hour, but one she needed and we prayed for. The trip was hard on everyone, but no doubt a priceless decision for our family and for Mei. She needed closure. The trip, her nannies, and the union of us all together seemed to give her just that. We are glad to have a small piece of her past.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about her sitting in that green chair… and you know what friends… I think I realized during those moments what God’s hope is for us. He doesn’t wish us to sit comfortably in our green chairs when there’s something better for us. I hope I always have the faith, the bravery, the guts, the ability to take a step towards his urges in my life, big or small, complicated or simple. Yes, adoption was one for us, but what’s the next one? Can I be big enough to do it? Wise enough to recognize it? Faithful enough to trust it? I am going to screw up a lot. My relationships won’t be perfect. My life might be messy at times. But I hope to have a heart full of joy and always willing to take a leap of faith. I think in my life, I will regret saying no more than I will regret saying Yes Lord. And my I add a thank you to those who helped us with this yes. It does take a village in life.
Don’t let me sit in that green chair all my life God. May I rest in you and move forward in you.
And you know, I have that exact little green chair here in Texas now. May it always remind me of God’s love for us.