Monday, October 22, 2012

Our Meili Joy{s}

We decided on a name for our daughter and it is Meili Joy. It is pronounced  like "May-Lee" Joy.

Here is the backstory:

{Info on Naming Children from Orphanage File}
Several months ago, around April, I became eager to decide on a name for our daughter. Naming a child who is already born, is sort of an odd thing. Most of the time, the name that a child has in an orphanage, especially in the Asian country we are adopting from, has nothing to do with anything personal. Sometimes, it does; but not often. Usually, it is a street name or a common last name for all children. So, there is possibly an original name given by birth parents, then a name given by the orphanage and possible a name given by an orphanage or agency on a file as an alias. For instance, we follow several sites on Facebook that have children's photos and names like "Louise" or "Oliver" or "Cheryl", etc. These are just their public names. They also have an Asian name on paper. So, we realize that most likely our daughter's name on paper, will have no significance. If we find out that there is some type of significance, we plan to maintain some of that identity! 

{Picking our Name}
With that said, as I was praying over names, I realized that somehow my original ideas of names didn't seem to be fitting. I had always love Bella Grace because it means Beautiful Grace, and well, really, do I need to explain that any further? But, it wasn't settling in my heart this time. As I was praying and pondering her name, I googled "Bella Grace in C*&*se" and one translation came up "Mei Li". Suddenly, I wrote down "Meili Joy". We felt that Mei Li would give her some identity to her birth country, and if she ever wants to pull her name a part into two words, she could also do that. Joy is my sister's name, too and special to us. And it's a cute American sounding name (I had no idea it was becoming popular). I talked to Travis about it and he loved it. That is a huge deal because we have never agreed on names right away. But, then again, I might have pulled the "I think God gave me a little nudge toward this name". Maybe after the entire Isaiah passage for Justus, he didn't want to get a theology lesson on my time in the Word picking names. Either way, we were excited to be on the same page.

{Sharing the News}
I called my sister to ask for her blessing for us to use "Joy"; and explained we thought it'd be very special for her to have a family name. I also called Abby, my BFF, that I plan to write about later this week, and asked her to be Meili Joy's godmother. We don't even do godmothers; but I feel that Meili Joy will 
need one and I know the perfect godmother for her! 

We still didn't want to announce it for some reason. And I was still wanting to be sure that when we saw her, the name would still be perfect for her. But, in a very small circle, and between the two of us, we started to share the name and refer to her as "Meili Joy". Here is where our story gets a bit crazy. 

So, two months later, I was on the Facebook page of an organization that cares for mild special needs children. I used to scroll the pages all the time. And as I was scrolling through and praying for the sweet faces with their ful American names next to them: "Herschel", "Oliver", "Louise", "Cheryl", etc. there was suddenly a six month old little girl, with the name "MeiLi Joy" staring at me. I almost dropped my laptop. 

Travis and I were in shock. Of course, we thought it had to be our daughter. 

{Meili Joy and MeiLi Joy}
Yes, we contacted the organization. Yes, we contacted our agency who has been more than helpful and understanding. Yes, we prayed. We tried to figure out how to request her file, not possible. We realized we had no idea what her diagnosis was and we did not care. We started sponsoring her monthly. We started lighting two candles every Saturday in our commitment prayer time as a reflection of support and love. We did everything we could to try to find her. I google mapped the city where she was supposedly living. I prayed that our agency would begin a partnership with her foster care city, etc. Time after time, it seemed like a dead end. And yet, we still keep asking in case her file shows up in the right place. Our agency has been very kind in understanding. Month after month we get a very small update on her from her foster care family since we sponsor her. But, at this time, we have been told that this "MeiLi Joy" on Facebook is not the "Meili Joy" who will be our daughter. 

And for legal reasons, I'm going to refrain from explaining the details on here about files and requesting them. Everyone has been extremely professional and maintained all types of appropriate and legal process in this case. We do not want to do anything to disrupt the system and are in full respect of the process to protect children from being trafficked and exploited and all the other reasons for strict country rules and the Hague. So, we have been sure to respect our agency and the organization on what we can and can't ask for.

 So, what does it mean? We have no idea. We are trusting God. Can we say we were able to guard our hearts and not fall in love with the little MJ that showed up with "our" daughter's name? Nope. 

We are head over heels for her. Can I tell you that we really have days where we think she is our daughter? We honestly in our gut hope so. But, we really try not to go there because we know that would just kill us; and we understand that everyone has told us "no". And this is not the kind of thing you mess with. (Read: We do not want to tick off the wrong people.)

We have talked crazy, too; and called our agency to tell them that we will be willing to accept two referrals, if one of them is her file, and all that jazz. But, for now, we are praying for our daughter, Meili Joy, and our sponsor child, MeiLi Joy. 

And if by God's grace they are one and the same, we will rejoice. 

And if they are not, then it is our immense privilege to love this "MeiLi Joy" during this season of her life until she is with her forever family.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Lighting Candles

{I know my blog looks funny, totally apologize, tried to fix something & change it up and it didn't work.}
Each week, we have walked to the side of the church to light a candle for our daughter during our response time.

We have made this walk for almost a year. And each time, it has been something that has felt joyful and full of anticipation.

Until last week. 

We lit an extra candle last week. For the child that we couldn't say "yes" to, in addition to our daughter's candles and two others. And, someday, maybe when I can edit a post without rambling sentences, I'll start writing more again on that. But, honestly, I'd feel defensive and wordy. And then I'd just be sad and emotional and caught up in the heaviness. And then there is the layer of one of other candles, of the child we are sponsoring with the same name that we plan to name our daughter, but that we have been told we can not adopt. And then the feelings that come with the wait, and the shift in time line, that we anticipated, but never wanted to accept. But, I don't know if that's the story that we tell. We promised to be honest about our journey, and yet, I don't know if the details are helpful to others or not. And are details as important as the outcome of the journey, of the story, of who the story is about? I'm not sure. And I'm not a professional blogger, so I'm still sort of a journaling blogger with my own somewhat self-absorbed view.

Yet, I know we are supposed to tell our story. So, if you'll forgive me for the half pieces, and the fact that I can barely get all of this together right now, I hope you'll be encouraged and see more Jesus. 

So, in the midst of some amazing miracles and work this month; in the midst of getting to stand on top of the mountain;  in the midst of some really amazingly fun and slightly intense ministry work; in the midst of getting to witness God's word change lives more dramatically than I have witnessed in a long time (up close); as we rejoiced and were overwhelmed by so much joy, I also grieved.

And the theme continues, joy and suffering. {Stick around my facebook page, and you'll see it.}

And as I ugly cried right there in our church last week, with my hand stretched high above my head in the most desperate reach I might have ever posed, I know that never once is our daughter walking this alone. 

Never once. And God is faithful.

And I will white-knuckle that truth over and over when it gets too thick and the air seems to stop. I will hold onto the gospel until I can breath again. 

The problem with my constant self-analyzing and hyper-perception is that half the time I am fully aware of how ridiculous I am. I knew that God gave us a new season of ministry. And I knew it was a start and finish for this much intensity. I knew that it would last intensely for 2 months. And I knew we could do it, for this season. We had cleared our plates most of the summer and spring; and we were ready. And I knew I'd be tired when it was over. And I am. And it's not quite over.

Yet, I was quietly wishing every day, that I'd have to drop everything to rush around for paperwork because we had just met our daughter on paper. And when we had to keep going, twice in the last month, because we knew it wasn't the right file, I kept busy. I kept going. I had a good cry or two and appeared to have moved on. I am not sure who I am anymore, because quick good cries are not my style.

And even last weekend, in the middle of my first really hard cry {there were two}, God spoke pretty clearly to me through a few friends that our file review was not wasted. And we were able to see God work together for good something hurtful in the matter of hours. Amazing. It seems that situation was never really about us {I mean, really when is it ever!?!}

And yet, at the end of the message tonight, that did not even touch on a theme about our daughter, I realized 
as I stood to head toward the candles, that I wanted to sit back down. I did not want to make that walk. It hurt. I fought back the lump in my throat immediately this time.  

I almost found myself counting the steps. Starting at my feet as I walked. I started thinking I need to bring some face powder to church. And I kept walking. And I kept praying. And Travis must have sensed it because he reached back for my hand. Then we stood silently and lit our three candles {one for our daughter, one for our Compassion child, and one for the little girl I mentioned above}. 

And as we sang, "God you are faithful....Never once...Standing on this battlefield...", I stretched my hand up once more, and it hurt to reach that hard for heaven.

But, I will walk that walk to light that candle each week, 
                                                  even though it is getting harder,
and even though I hear this is only the first wait, and the next one after we know who she is, is worse. 

And I really wish, I could write more clearly right now. It's jumbled up in all the good, and all the sadness, and all the joy, and all the present joy and all the future joy. 

And God is faithful. So, I will put each foot in front of the other and walk to that candle and trust God for our daughter, each week, and each day. And each week, I'll re-up that commitment. Until she is home...