Thirty Years ago today, Daniel and I were having a momentous day.
For one year, 11 months and 15 days we had been the recipients of a “tenuous” blessing. I say “tenuous” because much of the time we didn’t know if the little girl we loved and counted as our own would ever truly be our legal daughter. Even the morning that we dressed her in her prettiest dress and headed to downtown Columbus for the adoption hearing, we knew that there was one more thing that could raise its ugly head to stop the proceedings.
As our caseworker and lawyer sat with us in the waiting room, I overheard the lawyer say, “There wasn’t any appeal filed, was there?”
I remember thinking, “That is exactly why we hired this guy, wasn’t it? To take care of the legal aspects so that there could be no going back?”
Our caseworker was the best. She said, “Nope. There was none,” and I could breathe again.
It was so simple, once we got to this place. We went in, there were some questions, and a pronouncement by the judge, and Christina Elizabeth Yutzy had a new name, (officially, at least) a new Daddy and Mama, and even a new birth certificate.
We came outside of the courthouse into the city smog and we told her that we were going to lunch to celebrate. “Where do you want to go, Christi-girl?” we asked her. “We’ll go anywhere you want!”
There was only one place that would do for such a celebration. “I wanna go to McDonald’s!” was her instant reply. I remember Daniel and looking at each other, both of us were hoping for a more grown-up place, but it was her day, and so, McDonald’s it was!
I remember sitting in that McDonald’s, looking at her bright eyes and listening to her prattle. Just as I knew that all of life and death is in the hands of our Heavenly Father, so I knew that something wonderful had changed in the known future of us as well as this beautiful little girl.
“She’s our to keep!’ I remember thinking in that McDonald’s that day. “She’s ours! No matter what happens, no matter what comes, she’s our very own.” I cannot begin to describe how that felt to me after almost four years of being a foster parent, and also the loss of three much wanted babies through miscarriage and fetal demise. There was this quiet wonder, a calm and a peace that settled into my heart. The greatest satisfaction of all was the knowledge that God had intended all along for this to be our child. The time leading up to that day had been marked by so many uncertainties, reversals and shoddy legal work, that it seemed impossible that she would ever become ours. I remember standing in my sunny kitchen one afternoon in the Ohio house that had heard her childish laughter, her first words, her first prayer, seen her first steps, watched her grow from little more than skin and bones and lethargy to this curly-haired youngster, full of life and song, and thinking, “Lord Jesus, if they take her away from us, I cannot stand it.”
We knew how dreadful separation was. One after another, children that we loved for a time had gone on to other homes, or back to their parents, and a part of me died every single time. When I thought about being bereft of yet another child that we loved, and one that had become so much our own, I couldn’t stand it. I remember standing there in the kitchen, crying myself almost sick, clenching and unclenching my fists as if I could somehow, in the opening and closing of them, will my heart to hear the voice of God to my heart. I kept thinking I heard Him saying, “Who do you choose, Mary Ann? Do you choose Me and My Will even if it doesn’t include Christina?” I thought that I would throw up, it was so intense, and I didn’t feel like such a question was fair of God to ask of me, but I could not shake it off. And I remember exactly where I was standing, and the peace that flooded my heart the minute I said brokenly to Him, “I choose You. I choose YOU! Whatever comes, whatever happens, I choose you. But whatever comes, whatever happens, Oh, Lord Jesus, please take care of this precious child.”
And over the next months, miracle after miracle happened until that wonderful day in April, 1979 when we finally “got her papers” and she “could stay for ever and ever!” (Her definition of what happened that day.)
Sometimes it seems as if we, as a family, but Jesse and Christina especially, are facing the same sort of thing. If you could remember to pray for them and to pray for “baby boo” and for the circumstances surrounding the upcoming birth and the decisions that need to be made. I don’t want to say too much here, except to say that the God of miracles is still God. He will do what is best. Sometimes He seems to take a LONG time. Sometimes things go suddenly, but I still want to trust His timing. Even when it isn’t mine.
He is God. He is worthy of our Trust.