“When the trials of life unravel the fabric of our plans.
When we face the deep confusion of painful circumstance.
When our feeble strength is broken,and we stand with empty hands.
That’s when the Father whispers ‘Trust the pattern I have planned.’ “
Lyrics from song, The Weaver
Lyrics from song, The Weaver
On August 4, 2000 we received word that our long awaited travel plans to China to adopt "Suzanna Jane" were now about to be cancelled. Forever. We would never meet her.
My heart was already bloodied and bruised from another trial God had given to us, and I thought this might just be the end. We had been told, "You'll get travel plans next month." And then, "Well, next month." And then we began to wonder. Would we ever go? Would we ever meet this sweet little girl? See her crooked little smile? (She had a cleft lip.) Would she ever be held in loving arms? Would she hear the name of Jesus whispered into her ears?
That Monday morning we received the call. Simply, "She is no longer adoptable. You can try to fight China. Or you can choose not to. You probably won't win. But you can try." Dear was up dealing with our other crisis and I could not believe I had to be alone to take this call. Minutes before his meeting he called me and asked, "Have you heard from the agency?" I hesitated. Surely now was not the time to tell him. He had a hard task in front of him and I didn't want to make it harder. He heard the hesitation and simply said, "Tell me."
We cried. We prayed. He hung up. He had a meeting. We asked our agency for 24 hours to pray and decide. We called our pastor. We called friends. We all prayed. 22 hours later our agency called again and said, "China has removed her name from the list." That was it. It appeared to be the end of our years of dreams, months of waiting, a lifetime of hope. And what would happen next? What would happen to Suzanna Jane?
Looking back we see now that God used her life for HIS glory. Each of our prayers was answered, just in unexpected ways. Through our long wait we told others of her story her and her short seemingly insiginficant (at least to the world at large) life caused a fundraiser to happen online. Five children received life-altering surgeries that allowed them to be adopted. We had the pictures and the stories to prove it. But what about her? What about us?
It seemed nobody understood. "It was not as if we had ever held her", one person said. "We could get another baby," someone else offered. In the end we were given a good name for what we suffered: a silent miscarriage. For months we had begun to "know" this child in our heart, prepare for her in our home, and even had a surgery date to repair her cleft lip. So, started my prayers. Or rather, they continued, just on a new path.
"Lord, if I can't hold her please let someone hold her. If I can't make her smile, please let someone give her joy and a reason to be happy. If I can't share your love with her, let her hear the name of Jesus from someone."
And yet, there she was. Half-way around the world. In an orphanage. Alone. With "brain problems." (We later learned her seizures were the first indicators of cerebral palsy.)
And then something strange, some might say mystical, but I say God-ordained started to happen. We started to get emails from strangers, every now and again I'd receive an email from someone I had never met. They had heard our story. They had been to her orphanage. One person shared how they held her for hours as she cried. Another shared about how they tickled her and she laughed. Another told how they whispered the gospel into her ear. And so, over the years God answered our prayers. Strangers who "just happened" to have heard of our story online answered God's call to minister to our "fourth child"... And, then somehow, they found us and told us.
We did go to China in February. We did adopt. We couldn't bear to use the name Suzanna Jane. But, the Lord provided a new name to go with the child He had ready for us all along. She is a blessing. She is our fifth child. Our children still have Suzanna's pictures on their walls or in their albums. She is still in my heart. In June each year I wish her a happy birthday, hoping she is still alive, and perhaps learning more about Jesus. We all still wonder from time to time. But we know that God answers prayer. He showed us over and over again.
He didn't have to. But, he did.
I wonder. Will we have a chance to meet her one day?
Only God knows.
To Him be the glory!
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