OK, when I'm awake from 1:00 -3:00AM, I do weird things.
Today, the weird thing was I went back and read our adoption story. Every word. And I cried. Humbled again by what God has done in us and for us. I am sitting here in the dark amazed again at God's grace and mercy and His amazing plan that has brought Cooper into our lives- for His glory, certainly not ours. People say to us, "What a lucky boy."
No, let's be clear: We are the ones who have been extraordinarily blessed. (Luck had nothing to do with it.)
I wonder if I will ever cease to be amazed and reduced to tears by all that God has done for us.
But, for a long time, I have known something. Realized it really.
I was praying for Cooper when he was born, and when he was abandoned.
I know it for sure.
I've known it for a long time, but then I came across this post, Our Story, Part 3: Something About Mary. (You can find that post and ALL of the rest of our adoption story in the sidebar under "Our Story"if you are interested.)
I wrote it on July 24, 2009- one year before knowing anything about Cooper, and in it there is this paragraph:
"It was during this time- during the late part of 2006 and the early part of 2007 that I started praying. I didn't pray for our child, because I knew somehow that our child wasn't born yet (how I knew that, I don't know, since I still knew NOTHING of the actual adoption process- of agencies, of waiting, of dossiers, of costs). I prayed for a nameless, faceless woman in China. I prayed for her health, her safety and protection, for the child she would be carrying, for her strength and courage through the events that were to come, for her heart to hold up, for her to know God's love somehow through it all. For her to feel my prayers for her. And, I often was kept up in the middle of the night overwhelmed with the need to pray for her. Often, I prayed through lots of tears- for a woman I never knew and never will know, but I know I was praying for my child's mother. And, I believe God put her on my heart because she needed those prayers at that time. I prayed for her night after night for a long, long time. And I felt a connection to her that I can't explain."
Cooper was born on February 1, 2007. He was abandoned 10 days later, so I can only assume that his birth mother (and father?) cared for him for those 10 days.
What I can say for sure, is that I know that I was in my bed, soaked with tears, praying for them by the light of our video baby monitors. I KNOW it.
I know I was praying for him and for his birth mother when he was born. I KNOW it.
I know I was praying for him and for her when he was left in the hospital. I KNOW it.
I knew it then, but later, after accepting Cooper's referral, and when I began to think about it, I realized the timing, and I knew FOR SURE.
That time period was when his birth mother/father made what I KNOW was a heart-wrenching decision, the only one, I firmly believe, that they believed could save his life, God laid them on my heart with such an intensity that I still remember those nights as if they were yesterday.
HOURS of praying for a family in China that I couldn't picture, but that God had so clearly laid on my heart. I knew at the time without a doubt, it was my child's mother I was praying for.
Only when I thought about Cooper's birthdate in relation to those nights of tear-soaked praying did I have complete confirmation that I was indeed praying for Cooper and his birth family.
So, what can I tell Cooper for sure about his birth and that moment 10 days later when his parents said good-bye to him?
I can tell him that while I was not there, that God was. And that in His great mercy He included me in those moments- even while I was all the way across the world.
He allowed me the privilege of being able to pray for him and his family during what may have been for them the most difficult days of their lives, and certainly days that Cooper had the only time he'll ever have with his birthparents, and the days during which he lost everything. The days during which his mother surely felt as though she had lost everything too.
God included me. And even then I knew it.
I'm thankful beyond words for that privilege. And for the fact that those nights were so incredibly powerful for me that even two years later I was impressed by them enough to write it down.
And that even 4 years later I was still thinking about it.
But, tonight, I loved going back and reading what I wrote about those nights BEFORE I had the dates of Cooper's birth and relinquishment.
It only confirmed to me what I already knew FOR SURE.
OK, when I'm awake from 1:00 -3:00AM, I do weird things.
My mom just found these pictures in her phone and sent them to me. Tonight, I have a headache, and when I have a headache now, I think of this day:
To quote Scot, "Wow, those are some bad memories!"
Thanks to my mom, I have pictures of it! :)
I think I'm kind of glad to have them, although I do find them hard to look at because I remember so well how I felt that day on the other side of the glass not able to touch my kids and scared I was going to die without every being able to hug them and tell them how much I love them.
It reminds me how blessed I am to be here, and how fragile life is. How thankful I am for every. single. day. with my kids.
But, I'm thankful every day that the only "bad" thing left from the meningitis is just these two pictures.
Not too long ago, I told you about Vincent- and his parent's efforts to raise the funds to bring him home right on schedule.
Well, Vincent's family have been able to make every payment so far, but with more expenses coming up, they are still fundraising. They have become "affiliates" (basically means that when you buy a t-shirt, they get a portion of the purchase back) for Ordinary Hero. The mission of Ordinary Hero is: to inspire and empower ORDINARY people to make an extraordinary difference in the life of a child in need. SO COOL! I love their slogan "Change the World for One". It would be so great if everyone did that- did something to change the world for one child in need.
They have some GREAT t-shirts, and if you make a purchase and choose "Alex and Jill Morris" from the "Affiliates" drop down menu at checkout, they get a portion of the sale of your t-shirt back to help bring Vincent home. I bought three of their "I'm Gonna Change the World" t-shirts for my kids for Christmas. They may not be major reformers someday, but I hope they will set a high priority one changing the world for (at least) one child in need.
I'm not posting this as part of a contest or to get a free t-shirt, or even because Jill asked me to. I'm posting this so that when China says it's time to come pick Vincent up, that his family will have no reason to not jump on the first plane to China.
So, go to the Ordinary Hero Store and do some early Christmas shopping to help bring Vincent home. As an added incentive, Ordinary Hero is giving $500 to the "Affiliate" with the highest number of sales between now and August 28th. Currently, Vincent's family has one order and the current Top Seller has only 4 orders!!! We can help them win that bonus! :) What a huge help that would be!
In this small way, we really can "Change the World for One"- specifically Vincent.
He, like every child, is so worth it.
And, a little video of Vincent for your enjoyment! :)
Vincent and Friends from New Day Foster Home on Vimeo.
Oh- lots of places. I have a post all about our summer coming soon. We've been to the beach, amusement park, water park, house hunting, packing, all sorts of stuff. Basically, pretty darn busy.
But, over the past two weeks, I've been spending a LOT of time somewhere else entirely. A place I just discovered.
A place called Panem.
Haven't heard of it?
That's a shame. Really, it is. Unless you want to get something done. Then it's probably good you've never been to Panem. Because it kind of sucks you in.
What the heck am I talking about?
- For ONE entry, leave a comment hear telling me about the best book you've read this summer or this year. I'm in the market for a new book to read.
- If you'd like a SECOND ENTRY, tell me what is your favorite book you've ever read. Because the next book I read will have to be a good one!
- For TWO extra entries, post about this giveaway on your blog to spread the word.
- If you've already read, The Hunger Games Trilogy, mention that too in your comment and I will enter you to win one of my other all time favorite books, The Giver (by Lois Lowry) and it's companion book, Gathering Blue. That way, if I pick your name, you get something new to read. If you liked The Hunger Games, you'll love The Giver and Gathering Blue.