One year ago today.
It was a beautiful day in the making.
The sun danced off the statues as we passed.
Lines of pre-schoolers toddled through the park in their traditional bulky layers.
Locals practiced badminton while shop owners beckoned us to come in to peruse their wares.
Much to be remembered.
But it will undoubtedly be the butterflies that always stand out when I recall that day.
Not because we could observe them or capture them on camera.
The weather was unseasonably cold that particular week in Guangzhou.
There were no actual butterflies to speak of.
The butterflies that are permanently etched into my memory are the ones that filled the pit of my stomach and fluttered unmercifully as we strolled along the streets that morning.
And watched the clock.
It would only be a few short hours before we boarded the van and made our way across town to the local civil affairs office where we would meet our then 8 year old daughter for the
At this point in the adoption of Lily there was really only one thing that was certain.
The path that we had been on for the past 9 months and more specifically,
the One we had followed down it,
had without question brought us here to this place.
To this moment.
To this child.
That much was abundantly clear.
In the hours, weeks, years that would follow...
That remained to be seen.
Out of birth order.
From an orphanage
and from foster care.
I knew that "they" said it takes a child as many years as they are old when they join a family before they actually feel as if they are a part of that family.
That'd be eight years for her.
Eight years of her life already lived.
A life that I knew next to nothing about.
But a life that we were about to commit to...
had already committed to in our hearts...
And much more.
So much more.
I expected the relational tension as we all adjusted.
But expecting it and living it are two different things.
We've all had our moments.
Each of us has "lost it" a time or two (or twenty) over the past year as we have attempted to merge all these little lives into one big happy family under one roof.
We've all witnessed the ugly in each other and at times we have all been the ugly ourselves.
I've learned that while Jesus sometimes calls us to follow Him to the ends of the earth;
He always call us to come to the end of ourselves.
And that's where we ended up most days.
At the end of our proverbial ropes.
A the end of our literal selves.
But He would always be there.
With truth for desperate hearts.
With provision for those lacking.
Always with grace.
And from that bloomed beauty.
As truth takes root.
And relationships deepen.
And trust grows.
Love becomes something that can be given freely without expectation and without demands because of the realization that our supply, or more accurately our Supplier, is limitless in His ability and willingness to provide.
This could easily be counted among one of our most challenging years as a family.
But it could just as easily be seen as one of much growth.
Challenge and growth.
They often seem to go hand in hand.
Absent-mindedly, I placed the lion on her desk and pulled up her covers.
She immediately reached over, brought the cub back and nestled him in among the pandas.
Really? I inquired.
"Yes, it is a odd story," she added.
(Odd is a new favorite vocabulary word of hers. She pulls that one out a lot).
"Well, is the lion happy about being adopted?" I asked (with not a little trepidation at her possible response).
"Yes," she said in her oh-so-Lily-matter-of-fact-way. "Yes he is."
And so are we.
In our very own
kind of way.
We are gloriously happy.