However, what I struggle w/ is to look back and think about exactly why God had my in a situation. This happened while in Ecuador. On Monday I was sick, emotional, tired, and HOMESICK! If someone had given me the option to go home at that moment I would have taken it. However, I knew God had a big reason for me being there. He had answers for me in Ecuador. I knew that I hadn't found them yet and I knew that the next two days God had something for me. I wrote in my journal that day asking God to help me not miss the blessing and lessons he had for me even though I was so homesick.
Well, the next day it came in the form of a child's beautiful and contagious laugh. God used this little face to break me......
Meet Giovanni. He is a beautiful little Ecuadorian baby, probably between 1 and 1 1/2. He is disabled. I'm not sure if it is just physical or more. He struggles with muscle control. While he can roll and tries very hard to sit up he can not sit or stand on his own. As far as I know he doesn't speak. But he has an amazing laugh and personality. With him came answers and a piece to our adoption puzzle. It wasn't the piece I was looking for or hoping for. However, it was the piece God wanted to give me which made it all the more valuable.
Tuesday morning I worked in the baby/toddler room at the Ark. I had heard mention of Giovanni but had not paid too much attention to him as he was not usually in the room I was in. That day I noticed him in the pack-in-play in the corner. I went over and said hi to him and he stuck his little hand up on the mesh. I put mine up against his. That started a back and forth game that had him cracking up. Then God gave me ample opportunity through snack time and playing outside to connect with this child.
As I listened to his little laugh God broke me. I almost started crying. God told me, "Heather you can help this little guy. Look at him. Look how precious he is. Don't put up walls. Open your heart to children like him." Tony and I have felt like God has put so many life experiences in our place for very particular reasons. One of these is children w/ disabilities. Tony has siblings who have some learning disabilities and has a lot of God given, natural knowledge on how to handle things. I have worked at the Marc Center (residential facilities for adults with disabilities) and with a little girl with Autism. I have also had classes that relate.
However, even with seeing that I see my walls go up. When you adopt a "waiting child" internationally you agree to deal w/ whatever the disability may be. That could be as simple as classes or a cleft palate or it could be as severe as extreme mental and physical problems. It scares me a bit. I don't want to have to grieve the loss of my child's childhood. Its hard as a mom to try and imagine giving up a normal childhood for them and a normal life for us all. Its stressful to think about the endless surgeries, doctor appointments, meds, and therapy.
But in that laugh God gave me a deep deep love for the least of the least of these. He should me how much he cares for these kids. He told me that I didn't need to be scared because these kids where his beautiful creation. He loved them and he would help me to love them.
No, we are not adopting Giovanni (how many thought that was the point of this story...lol). I'm not sure what his story is and many of the children at the Ark are unadoptable. And neither Tony nor I feel like we are being called to a waiting child with our first adoption. However, I do believe at some point and time we will be choosing at least one child off the waiting child list.
Would you take a look at a few more pictures of those children in Ecuador. Then pray for them and the others around the world. These are often some of the most difficult kids to find a home for. Pray that they would feel God's love and that hearts would be open to these beautiful gifts from God.