I am so excited to announce that our family will be growing (again!). With all of the new kids that we have added, we have never felt a full peace of "this is it", however, with these girls we do. Promise will soon be transitioning to SCH's home for young adults as she is nearing her 18th birthday, and our 2 new babies will complete our family and bring us to having 12 children.
Months passed and with every week that we went to volunteer at the orphanage, we checked in on "our" baby. We knew that God wanted another child to come to our home, but the need at the orphanage was so overwhelming and we weren't clear on whether it was this baby, or a different child in the special needs room.
Meanwhile, in room 8 (the special needs room where we were volunteering) my heart began falling for a 3 year old girl with cerebral palsy named Selah. When I first met her, she sat with her back against the wall, refusing to meet my eyes with hers. For weeks, every time I arrived I would approach her and try to make her smile or play with me. Her little lip would jut out and fearful tears would stream down her face. She was scared of everything and so timid. God put it on my heart to keep trying, and slowly, the walls were broken down. I wrote this journal entry on December 19th.
I have only known you for one month, but gosh, I love you.
You used to cry when you saw me, or look down at the ground. You are so timid and so scared.
Last week, you looked up at me and smiled. When I pulled out a puzzle and called for you, you scooted right over to me and we sat for ten minutes, playing happily. I have never heard you make a sound before, but that day you used your voice over and over again to get my attention when you needed help with the puzzle piece. It made me so, so happy to see you with a smile on your face! And let me tell you, your smile is so beautiful.
Today, I walked into your room and in an instant you looked up and broke into a huge smile and reached up your arms to be held. It was so beautiful to see, baby. You are starting to know me and starting to trust me. A lot of people don't understand how hard that must be for you, but I know, and I am so deeply blessed by it. I took you outside to let the sun hit your face and I rocked you and sang to you. You soaked every moment of it up. No longer do you stare at the ground, avoiding eye contact, but you gazed into my eyes with such a longing as I sang to you. As much as you long for a mom and for a family, the Lord is giving me a longing for you. Not any other baby. You.
You just turned 3 on October 29th. I daydream about you going to Gymboree with Theo and Louise, and cuddling with us all in our big bed at night. I daydream about having you call me and Tori your mummies.
I am scared. I am scared because there are already so many children in my house and I worry that I won't have enough time to give them all everything they need. But then why is God giving me a Selah-sized hole in my heart? Why is it that every time I see you, I fall even more in love?
Don't ever feel forgotten or overlooked. You are so special. You are so perfect. And you are so loved.
When Tori arrived home from her visa break, we stood in the kitchen talking about the girls. She shared how, back when Brianna was placed in her arms so many months ago, she felt a love for this baby and began feeling like she should join our family. I shared how I knew that Selah was our child, and yet I couldn't say no to Brianna. Something was stopping me from saying yes to Selah, because I couldn't not take Brianna into our home as well. Could we take both? Would that be completely crazy of us? We looked at each other and smiled excited smiles, and both instantly felt a peace about it. Both girls would join and complete our family.
Selah smiled when she saw me that day and lifted her arms to be hugged. In fact, all she wanted to do was hug! I would put out a game and she would play for a few minutes and then look straight into my eyes and lift her hands for a hug. If I didn't immediately scoop her up, she would crawl into my lap and nestle into my chest. What a different child than the one I met two months ago! It is clear that she is loved, and the ayahs jokingly scolded me when I called her my daughter, and they argued that she was their daughter, not mine! We laughed, and I could see that they were happy for her to go. They try their best, but the way she reaches her arms up with such longing shows me the lack of physical love and affection she receives. I am so, so excited to have both girls join our home and for them to know the love of a mama. A year or two ago I first heard the name Selah and fell in love with it. I decided if I had a daughter one day, I would name her Selah. As I thought about what my new little girl's online name should be, Selah came repeatedly to mind. I was sitting on the plane from Hyderabad to London, reading The Red Tent, and the word appeared again. I first heard it used as a name in a blog I read, My Real Life. Selah Clanton is a little girl who was adopted from Ukraine, and then had a near-drowning accident leaving her with severe cognitive and physical impairments. Her sister, Sarah, was the first child on Reece's Rainbow whom I advocated and fundraised for and then got to watch online as she joined her forever family. Selah's family's faith through the difficulties of Selah's accident blew me away. Selah shows up in the Bible many times, in the Psalms. The meaning is not fully confirmed, but many translate it to mean "pause and reflect" on the importance on what was just shared. Her name is a reminder to me to stop and reflect on all that God is doing for Selah and for our family, and to listen to Him and let Him guide our next steps.
When I return to India, if all goes smoothly, our little girls will join our family right away. Please pray for no problems, for a smooth transition, and for the girls to attach to us and our ayahs and to feel safe and loved in our family.
Welcome Brianna and Selah!