Tuesday, May 27, 2008

From Rejection to Acceptance

It's been months since I've blogged, and honestly, I think it's because I have way too much to say. My heart is so full and I am feeling so incredibly blessed. God is so very, very good.

The past 18 months have been such a crazy adventure. I have experienced the deepest depth of pain I could ever imagine...and as a result, God has allowed me to experience joy beyond my wildest dreams. Part of me wishes that I had chronicled every single moment, and yet I know that words could never do justice to all God has been doing in my life. I feel so humbled by all that He has allowed me to experience.

Three years ago, Geoff and I began discussing and praying about adding another child to our family. As only God can do, He led us down an unexpected road and opened our hearts and family to one of His precious children in need. She was abandoned in Tianjin, China, on May 24, 2005, just 10 days prior to Geoff bringing up the idea of another baby. It took 18 months for her to be physically placed in our arms, but God had already begun the beautiful process of grafting her into our hearts.

For reasons that only her birth parents can fully understand, she was left alone, wrapped in a quilt and crying, for someone to find and claim. Her medical files stated that she had two holes in her heart, a cleft-lip and a cleft-palate. What was not written in her file was that her precious heart was broken and wounded by the tragic loss of the woman who carried and birthed her. The police did not make note that the rejection she suffered would cause her to fear love and panic when she was held too close. They didn't make note of the angels that stood around her keeping her safe until the security guard walked by just moments later. Most importantly, they didn't note that her name, unknown by man at the time, had already been written forever in the Book of Life and that she was in fact a daughter of the King of Kings. Adopted forever into God's family through the sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus.

God's hand was surely upon this sweet child, once rejected by those whom she was created to bless. Whether by necessity or choice, she was left alone and without parents. It's a loss and a wounding that I understand. A pain that I too have experienced. Rejection and abandonment are man's greatest fear. Our greatest desire and need is to be loved and accepted. We are imperfect people and we wound each other greatly on a daily basis. Sometimes on purpose, sometimes unknowingly. The sting of abandonment cuts deep to the core and tells us that we are unworthy to be loved. Abandonment tells us that it is not safe to trust. Abandonment tells us that we are shameful. I tried to heal my own wounds many different times, in many different ways. Nothing worked. In fact, I continued to experience more rejection and abandonment over the years until the pain was more than I could bear.

Thankfully we have an amazing God who brings His sweet balm of love and grace to heal our hearts, mend our wounds and erase our scars. God's healing comes in many different ways. For me, God's healing came in the form of little orphan girl from half-way around the world who needed to be claimed, loved and accepted. He knew exactly what I needed and how I would best receive it. The healing balm I so desperately sought could only be delivered through shared grief and intense interaction with a little girl who understood my pain and whose pain I understood.

When Xia-Xia (Sara) came to us, her physical wounds had been healed. The holes in her heart no longer appeared on the echo cardiogram. Her cleft-lip and palate had been repaired through the generosity of sponsors and skilled doctors. Her "special needs" came in the form of deep trauma and anxiety. There are many chapters of her life that remain a mystery to us, just as many of mine remain a mystery to me. Fortunately, God knows both of us intimately and He alone knew the healing we both needed. I am completely humbled by His gentle and loving ways. Although the healing is not yet complete, He has been working miracles of transformation within both of us. After 18 incredible (and long) months, I am beginning to see God's beautiful handiwork within both of us. The photo above was taken just a few weeks ago. It's a testament to those who know both of us that God is restoring Sara's broken heart and a reminder of the joy that she is bringing to my fragile heart every single day.

As I type this, a song is playing in the background...the words strike a chord deep within my soul."You have redeemed my soul, from the pit of emptiness. You have redeemed my soul from death. I was a hungry child. A dried up river. I was a burned out forest. No one could do anything for me. You put food in my body. Water in my dry bed. And to my blackened branches you brought the springtime rain of new life. And nothing is impossible to you." ("You Have Redeemed My Soul" by Don Chaffer/ Enter the Worship Circle) God gave Sara what she needed through me, just as He gave me what I needed through her. Amazing.

I know that I am not alone in the pain that I have experienced in this life, just as my Sweet Sara is not alone in hers. God knows. He knows where and how we have been hurt. But more importantly He knows when and how He will bring healing to our battered hearts and weary minds. It is because of His love and His grace, and a beautiful, little 3 year-old Chinese girl that I can joyfully say that TODAY I AM MOST DEFINITLEY LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!


Becki party of 5 said...

Amy, how have I not seen your blog before? I will add you to my blogroll if it's ok with you...and blog more soon, too! :)
This post just gave me goosebumps the entire time I read it. I know the road you are all walking is far from over, but I"m in awe at the healing God has already brought about in the whole Ivey family. I feel privileged to call you and your family my friends, and to walk this road with you.
Love you lots!

Sonya said...

I also have an adopted daughter. I enjoyed this post and your daughter will be so blessed by being in your home!

I hope to meet you at She Speaks!

Lysa TerKeurst said...

Wow! What a story and what a beautiful picture.

Can't wait to see you at She Speaks in just a couple of weeks.

Sweet Blessings as you prepare to come our way...

Sheri said...

Amy Jo, I love this! The way you wrote it kept me engaged from GO! What a sweet picture of our adoption!

Thanks for coming by and saying "hi!"
Sheri from OK.

Robin said...

Amy Jo - I just stopped by to say hi and that I'm looking forward to She Speaks - and your post blew me away. What an incredible story of love and redemption. I hope we get to meet up at the conference. And I'm going to add you to my blogroll. You have much to share!

Charlene said...

That picture just brings sweet tears to my eyes. What a testament to how far she's come. The 2 of you look wonderful together. You are an amazing woman, wife, and mother!

Keri said...

Your words of hope and healing were beautiful. I am so happy that your lovely daughter is learning to trust. You havae hung in there and you are reaping the rewards. Congratulations on your "Blessed Life".