• The Beauty admist the Pain

    Date: 2014.01.13 | Category: Adoption, Jasmine (Shuang Shuang) | Tags:

    But pain insists upon being attended to.  God whispers to us in our pleasure, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.  —  C.S. Lewis

    God’s megaphone has beat me up along side the head and I haven’t a clue what to do about it.  My heart hurts. The more time I spend with Jasmine the more my heart hurts for all the children living in orphanages that will age out.  Every day someone or some organization posts a picture of a child, a beautiful child, that will age out in months.  They are pleading to all their friends to share the pictures.  They are hoping and praying that somewhere out there is this child’s forever family.   Unfortunately, it seems like most of the time, the world is not listening.

    There are so many children that will spend their lives in institutions because no one steps up to take them. So many children who will be released to the street with no family, minimal education, and little or no life skills. Many of these children right here in our own country will turn 18, get a few dollars, and be on their own.  These children may need a little bit of help or a lot of help, but one thing is the same for all of them.  They are all children with no one to turn to.

    I often wonder why aren’t more people stepping up to help?  I believe part of the problem is because people are afraid of all the horror stories they have seen in the news. The wonderful stories aren’t making the front page or the evening news.  So people believe that the horror stories are the norm.  These people are afraid of the disruptions these children will bring to their family.  They are afraid of the unknowns.  They are afraid of failing or not being enough.  I know these feelings.  I once was overwhelmed by them.  I once closed my eyes to the need because I was fearful.

    Because of this fear, Dan and I had chosen not to adopt an older child.  We had a long list of reasons why.  An older child would be harder to integrate into our family.  They posed a bigger risk to the littler kids.  An older child would have a harder time with language.  They would be harder to bond with.  An older child comes with more emotional baggage.  An older child could run away.  The reasons went on and on and on and on.

    BUT we were so wrong.  Jasmine is a beautiful soul.  I keep waiting for things to change but it hasn’t.  Even in times of stress, she is still the same loveable girl.  Most of the time Jasmine has a smile on her face.  She loves life even though her life hasn’t always been easy.  Jasmine has gone through so much.  She has started to share things about her childhood that are unbelievably heartbreaking.  We know these stories are true because Jasmine has many, many scars to show for it.  Jasmine was abandoned when she was eight, when she needed family the most.  She spent six years in an orphanage where they weren’t able to move her.  She couldn’t go to school because they couldn’t carry her down the flight of stairs to the schoolroom.  She spent years sitting in a wheelchair watching others have fun.  You would think she would be an angry teenager but she isn’t.

    Jasmine may be physically unable to do many things but mentally she is very, very bright.  She has picked up on English so quickly.  The other day I jokingly told Stephanie that Maisey could do everyone’s make-up for the wedding. Here is a picture of Maisey after she did her own make-up.


    The next morning Jasmine asked me, “Mama, you no really mean Maisey can do my make-up for Zachy’s wedding? I no really like that.  You being silly right, mama?”   That is a pretty good grasp of the English language after only 7 months.  Jasmine is bright and funny and all girl.  She loves pink and pretty dresses and watching wedding shows.  She loves to do her makeup and go shopping.

    Jasmine needs surgery to correct the curve in her spine, but Jasmine has chosen not to have surgery until after the wedding.  She wants to dress up like a princess and see Zachary get married.  After speaking with her doctors, we got the okay to hold off a couple of months so she could wear her dress and participate fully in the wedding.

    After we got the okay from the doctors, we took her shopping for the perfect princess dress.  It was one of the best days I have ever spent shopping.  The joy on her face as she picked out frilly, sparkly, sequined, rhinestoned dresses was priceless.  We had tried on a few at the first store and none were to her liking.  We headed to Deb’s and picked out six more to try.  The first one she didn’t like.  The second one was a strapless gown with a rhinestone belt.  It was made for Jasmine.  Elastic in the back that I can easily take in.  No shoulder straps to get in the way. It had a frilly skirt with lots of layers, that lovely rhinestone belt, and glitter that got everywhere.  She put in on and smiled so big.  She said she felt like a princess.  She refused to try on another dress.  Watching shy Jasmine become self-assured Jasmine was a wonderful thing.  She knew it was the right dress.  She not only felt pretty she knew she was pretty.  (I promised her I would not share a picture until the wedding day.)

    She started talking hairdos with Cassie and what shoes she would wear.  Could she take her new hot pink wheelchair?   What necklace and bracelet should she wear?  She so wants to be just like every other little girl. But she’s not like every other girl and Jasmine knows this.   Lately, Jasmine has been asking a lot of hard questions.

    Questions like:

    “Will someone ever want to marry me mama?”

    “Will I ever be able to have babies?”

    “Will they let someone like me adopt?”

    “Can I go to college with Gracie?”

    “Am I pretty?”

    “Am I going to get sick?”

    “Will I be like nana?”

    I tell her what I tell all  my children.  Only God knows your future.  Only God knows the number of your days.  Only God knows if you’ll get married.  Only God knows how many children you will be blessed with.  Only God knows.

    Your job is to:

    Learn as much as you possibly can.

    Be content with what you have.

    Trust in God.

    Memorize those verses that show God’s promises for the hard times.

    Be as kind as you possibly can.

    Do the best that you can at what God has called you to do.

    Love others.

    And leave the rest to God.

    Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?  Matthew 6:27

    Jasmine understands God.  I am amazed by that.  We’ve had long conversations about Him.

    One of the most interesting stories was when we were discussing her being in the orphanage and wanting a family so much.  She said she would say over and over again in her head “Please send me a mama and a baba.”  She said she would say it quietly in her head many times a day .  One day I asked her, “Jasmine who were you talking to when you were pleading for a mama and a baba?”  She sat there for a minute and then got all excited and said, “Mama, I was praying to God.  I just didn’t know His name yet.”

    She is a bright girl.  I don’t know what the future holds for her except that she will be loved by many, many people and she will never be alone.  Yes, life with Jasmine is hard physically. There are many things that I have to do for her each and every day.  Jasmine’s future is uncertain.  Things at some point are going to get very, very hard and my heart is going to hurt, BUT the good so outweighs the bad.

    I am taking the time to share Jasmine’s story in hope that one person lets go of their fear.  One less is a beautiful thing.  One more child in a loving home.  One more child with a future and a hope.  That is what I want you to take away from this.  If God’s megaphone is calling you, if He is nudging you along, if you know He is saying, “Look at this older child.”  Don’t completely rule it out.  Pray and get as much information as you can.  Try hosting a child through Project 143  or Rainbow Kids.

    Look at children you can get information about domestically and internationally.  Love Without Boundaries  is a perfect example of an international organization that advocates for older children.  That is how we found out about Jasmine, because they were advocating for her on their Facebook page.  There are many, many organizations that can give you information from people who have personally met these children.  People who have spent time with the children.  People who are advocating for these children because they know what special souls they are.

    Many of you may have heard the story of Davion, a 16 year old boy who went in front of a church and pleaded for a family. (NY Daily News) His story went nationwide and many people came forward to inquire about adopting him.  Many more people started to look into fostering children or adopting older children.  If you were moved by his story, don’t let it end there.  Look into it.  See what you can do.  There are many older couples who are choosing to be foster parents instead of settling into a life of quiet retirement.  I love reading their stories.  (NY Times)

    God’s been talking to me through my pain.  I know He is asking something of me, I just don’t have it all figured out yet.   Step one was to share this information.  There is so much beauty admist the pain.  Don’t let the pain frighten you away.  Let that pain move you to do more, be more, love more.  God has big plans for some of you out there I just know it.  Praying that He leads you and that your heart is open to listen and that you will respond to His call.