Now that we have been home for 5 weeks (I can't believe it!!), I can really look back on our journey and see just how faithful God has been to us. Last October we saw pictures of our little girl and fell in love with her sweet little face for the first time. We also saw pictures of her birthmarks and we were concerned for her and how she would handle them, especially in the summer and in her adolescent years. But we said God made her this way...she needs a loving family...if not us...then who? We heard God's gentle voice saying, "this is the daughter I have chosen for you.". We said "yes", we can do this! They are just birthmarks.
A few days later we received additional medical reports in Chinese. We had them translated and a doctor who specializes in International adoption looked at them and told us she had been diagnosed with Incontentia Pigmentosa (IP for short). It is a rare disorder that could have many different symptoms. The birthmarks are just one of the symptoms. Other symptoms include loss of hair, pegged teeth, blindness, seizures, and retardation. Again, God was so faithful. We believe another family had accepted her referral, found out about this information and let her go...were we going to do the same thing? Were we going to let fear take over and not proceed with this adoption? Fear did kick in quickly for me, but Darren still felt confident that this was our little girl, Ya Bei. He felt that she was to be our daughter. That helped me feel more confident, but we still both waivered between trusting God and fearing what was ahead over the next few months. God was patient...and we kept hearing His voice...leading us to continue trusting in Him and His plan.
So, with a few pictures, a diagnosis and not much else to go on, we continued our journey to adopt this little girl. We just had to pray for her and remember that God created her and seek wisdom on how to handle whatever her future may hold. I prepared myself for any or all of the symptoms. We tried to prepare the kids as well. We did some research which just seemed to increase our fears and without knowing her particular case, we decided to just trust and wait. I will be forever thankful that fear did not find victory in our home. Fear did not stop us from pursuing this precious little girl. We have come so far in such a short time. Little Ya Bei Wei who was once a little orphan is now Liliana Lee Painter and has a forever family. We have taken her to a dermatologist and have been encouraged. The doctors believe we would already be seeing these other symptoms is she had them and...in time the birthmarks may even fade...birthmarks...what birthmarks? It is so amazing how perspective can change. I don't even see them anymore. I mean...I see them, but I believe they are beautiful.
God has also been faithful in that Lily is transitioning into our family better than we could ever have expected. We are amazed daily by her. She communicates with us so well and she attached quickly. That isn't to say we haven't had some moments. She has grieved, but we are thankful for that. We believe her foster family cared for her and she was with them almost a whole year. So we wouldn't expect her not to miss them and grieve over what she has left behind. I have been amazed that every morning since Lily has been in our family her first word every morning is "Momma." And as she says it throughout the day it warms this Mother's heart. Just recenly, I told her, "I love you," like I do so often and she said, "so much". It was adorable. I guess I say, "I love you so much" and she just finished my sentence. I told the kids, and now we say "I love you" to her and she says, "so much". We love it!!
We celebrated our first Easter and read the story about Jesus and how he died on the cross for our sins, but was risen! She already says the name Jesus or "Ezus"...close enough....God knows...and I pray that it is just the beginning of teaching her about our precious Savior and what He has done for us on the cross. What He has done for all the nations, all races, and all cultural backgrounds. We pray that she will profess a love for Jesus Christ and that her true heritage, her true identity will be found in Him.
We don't really know what Lily's future holds nor do we know the future of any our children. There are no guarantees in life, but with everything we do, it is just another oppurtunity for me to be on my knees at the feet of Jesus trusting, praying, waiting, and seeking.
I shared most of this with my church this past Sunday morning. However, I did want to add that God is faithful no matter what...I don't want it to sound as if God has been faithful because Lily does not, as of right now, have these other symptoms and if she were to have these symptoms, God would somehow stop being faithful. He is good and I trust Him. He is fatihful and we have been recipients of his faithfulness. I believe that He has given us new eyes to see and a new peace to trust in Him and that He will give us grace and wisdom with each step. We thank so many of you for everything...your support, your puzzle donations, your encouragement through the blog, e-mails, cards, phone calls, etc. We thank you for your prayers. God is so faithful!