Three years ago, God began to stir our hearts.
Not with anything new, really.
But with something different.
It began with the face of one little girl who captured my heart completely.
One tiny photograph. It was all I had.
I did not know her.
Nor where she was.
But HE did.
I made some inquiries and was led to another photograph of the same little girl.
I was smitten!
I cried out to the Lord on her behalf. Begging Him to send someone to rescue this sweet girl.
I felt inadequate.
Afraid. Terrified of raising a child such as this sweet one.
I knew nothing about her condition. Down syndrome was something other people did well.
Not me! I was the mother who prayed like crazy that her babies in the womb would not have the extra chromosome.
I was the mother who looked at those who were parenting children with Down syndrome and silently breathed a sigh of relief that it was them...and not me.
I looked at my life and it was busy.
There I was...finding my very good reasons as to why just the idea of this was really, really crazy...and I was not the person God had in mind for this job.
I laid out all my great excuses.
Five children. Homeschooling. One child recently home from China and dealing with severe PTSD. Therapies. A busy husband. Activities. Crazy schedules. Church.
Every parenting book I had ever scoured and highlighted in a gazillion colors had not taught me how to be an awesome parent. I felt like a complete failure on most days. I fell into bed at the end of another long day feeling like I had once again blown it. Failed!
And, I had zero me-time.
Blah, blah, blah.
I came to the Lord with all my selfishness and my feelings of "having my hands full."
just like that....
I began to die.
To my selfishness. And my awful pride.
I began to die to self more than I ever had in my life.
Because when God starts whispering to your heart, when He starts calling you by name saying, "Go!"....then every petty excuse and even the most well thought out reasoning as to why something is just a very, very bad idea...seems so absolutely puny. So very feeble.
And in the blink of an eye, my faith was tested. More than I could remember in my life.
EVERYTHING was changing!
He was beckoning me--us!.
"Will you trust Me, Adéye?"
"Do you trust Me enough to believe that I can equip you with everything you need to parent this child?"
"The less of you there is...the more of Me there can be to lead and guide you in parenting this child of my heart well."
We prayed. We cried out to the LORD.
There was not one good enough reason to say no.
Because the Creator of the universe had already said yes.
The darling little girl in the blue onesie...
She was ours!
No matter how little we knew about raising a child with Down syndrome (and we were clueless!).
No matter how difficult the road would become.
And it WOULD!
No matter the fact that we felt like there are a million others who could certainly do the job way better than we ever could.
God said yes.
And that was good enough for us.
We named her Hailee. "Heroine"
What an incredible two years and four months it has been with this amazing child in our lives!
We cannot...CANNOT...imagine life without her.
She is an absolute JOY in a tiny little bundle.
Anthony and I went into this journey really not knowing what to expect.
In May 2010 I walked into an orphanage in Ukraine and they placed in my hands a tiny 14-pound little girl who was just days away from her fifth birthday.
She was drugged. Could hardly even sit on her own. Desperately malnourished. Had such severely infected open slits of skin behind her ears from constantly being scratched. Rocked back and forth non-stop. Made zero eye contact. Cried almost constantly. Had more self-soothing behaviors than I could count.
She was miserable! Five years of life in a "laying room" for the most profound of special needs orphans had left her depleted of all life.
She merely breathed and self-harmed.
What wonders He has done in Hailee's life!
He has taken that frail, tiny child, and He has literally breathed new life into every part of her being.
Hailee is a new creation in every sense.
Has it been easy? No!
I'm absolutely convinced that God never, ever calls us to do the easy things. The road where there are trials and when our faith is tested beyond what we think we can handle are the moments when we are forced to draw so near to the Lord--to lean upon Him with everything we have. That's where the Father longs for us to be...so fully reliant on Him.
We've had many of those moments in the last two years with Hailee.
"What will become of her life, Lord?" We asked of Him as we held that screaming, agitated child in our arms in those early days, trying everything we possibly could to console her.
Little did we know back then what HE would do.
Hailee's life has taught me so much.
But most of all, I have come to know that I know...so deep down in my heart that....
NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE LORD!
He took this rejected, unwanted little child and has transformed her life into something beautiful.
For His Glory!
Hailee is doing so amazingly well!
She has finally doubled in weight. It took two years and four months for our seven-year-old to finally hit 30 pounds on the scale. She is growing. Every pound she gains is like gold. We rejoice!
And she is learning!
We wondered if Hailee would ever walk.
These days we cannot (and I mean cannot) keep her in one place!
We wondered if she would truly connect with us.
These days she cannot get enough of being smothered with love and kisses!
We wondered if she would learn new things and master new skills.
These days she's like a little sponge--soaking up new things every day!
We wondered if she would develop her own little personality.
These days she is our spunkiest, busiest, craziest little lovie!
Hailee is BLESSING in a tiny little package! She brightens our days and keeps us laughing at the silly things she does.
How thankful we are that God sent us...two totally clueless, uneducated, so very less-than-perfect people; so imperfect in their parenting abilities and totally inexperienced, so fearful of taking on a child who had been abandoned in a crib for the first five years of her life.
And He showed us.
What is possible.
If we just take one giant leap out of that comfortable little boat.
And meet Him face to face on the other side.
God sure can use anybody!
All it takes is...
A life transformed.