So as you can imagine "Esther" was not meant for our family. But I believe that God was preparing us for an older daughter. I believe that, much like Esther in the Bible, he was preparing us to rely on Him and some pretty incredible unshakable faith. I believe that I was CHOSEN, much like Esther, to step out on that faith "for such a time as this"...
LoveGave is a collaboration of churches in Charleston that are on mission together. Once a year they have a three day drive to support local non.profit organizations. This year they kicked it up a notch to say the least. Not only were they planning on raising money and supplies for the organizations, they also chose 10 families in the Charleston area to come around and monetarily support in their adoption endeavors. Our family was incredibly blessed to be one of those families.
LoveGave took place on a Thursday night, all day Friday and was to wrap up Saturday at 7pm.
I tended to be there a lot during the celebration as 1. I couldn't stay away. 2. It was just charged with this crazy amazing energy. 3. I just couldn't stay away. So I was there a good bit of time helping the team with production and whatever else they needed me for.
As I was standing at the production table right in front of the stage I happed to look at my phone and saw there was an email from our agency and they got an update (finally) on Everly. I stepped away and read over the email and new pictures. I was DYING inside. I stared at this child for a while, just intently looking at her precious face. Her almond eyes, plump lips and thick hair. I was doing jumping jacks and summersaults in my heart. After holding my phone and my emotions under control I couldn't do it anymore.
My dear friend Katie was hanging out with me that night. Katie is a lover of all things adoption and is actually awaiting another brother from Ch**a. She spent much time there, two years to be exact, working in orphanages loving on all kids Chinese :) I felt like I needed to tell Katie. I HAD to tell Katie. I called her over there and showed her the picture. That was all I did. I didn't speak a word. I didn't tell her what orphanage, province, boy/girl (Everly has really short hair in this particular picture, bless her.) I spoke not a single word. And then this happed.
"Penny, I know her."
"I know her. She is in *** Province. I have hugged her. I painted her fingernails. I've hugged your daughter."
She immediately began to cry. She then went on to tell me all about Everly, things I knew and some things I didn't know. She was freaking. I was freaking. She told me I need to call another one of our friends Autumn.
Before I called Autumn I was so incredibly visibly shaken I had to sit a hot second. I took a seat by a one of our pastors, the missions pastor to be exact. Funny how that works out. I sat down and I know he thought I was a freak crying in the middle of the day. I told him what happned and he looked at me. Then this happened.
"Penny, don't you remember?"
"Don't you remember the orphanage we came around when Autumn was in Ch**a? We sent them boxes of craft supplies for their summer camp? You sent your daughter crayons."
I (thankfully) got in touch with Autumn on the first try. I probably would have had a stroke otherwise. Autumn, come to find out, was actually IN Everly's orphanage for a few months.
Our church came around a few orphanages that Katie and Autumn were going to be spending time in. They wanted to have a camp for the kiddos and our church came along side of them, collected A LOT of stuff and mailed 25 boxes to them in Ch**a as they were traveling around the world. While the girls were traveling it was my responsibility to meet the FedEx truck at Autumn's house and make sure they got all tucked in the truck and were sent to the orphahages. As a matter I have some pictures from that day. Funny how God works in the tiniest details...
After talking to Autumn, I knew that I had to get my girl. And it was of utmost importance that I do it now.
I couldn't believe how God orchestrated such a story for our family. Long before we knew of Everly He was working and making things beautiful.
But, if I am going to be completely transparent.
Two days after we decided to move forward with Everly I wanted out. I mean like all out. Fear set in and I felt like it was going to swallow me whole. I sent a text to Katie and told her I couldn't do it.
Her needs were too much. We were not capable of being her parents. I questioned her relentlessly about her needs and if she was able to walk, talk, skip, dance, sing, go to the bathroom by herself, tie her shoe... you get the point. Could she do all of this like normal kids.
Katie's response rocked my world.
"I don't know if she can do all of that. But I know that she is a child of God and she is WORTHY to have a family. She is WORTHY."
Yes, sweet Everly, you are so worthy. You are worthy of a family and love and a home, baby girl.
We don't know what needs she will have coming home. We know her special needs listed but we also know that she has probably endured more and her little eyes have seen more than we all have in a lifetime. We will have struggles and set backs. Good days and bad days. Bad days and even worse days. We are working so diligently on paperwork and getting things in order to send our dossier to Ch**a.
Happy Birthday, precious daughter. I hope someone tells you today that you are special and loved. I hope with all of my heart that someone hugs you tight. This will be the last birthday you will be alone. I promise next year that you will have a HUGE party with all of your family and friends present to celebrate what a treasure you are. We are working so hard to bring you home soon.
And Everly, above all you are worthy.