Mountain Mover... A Dad's Journey.

Last January (2013) my wife told me she wanted to adopt another child. I acknowledged passively, but nothing more. Days, weeks, and months went by, and aside from a comment or two about Amy's thoughts, prayers, and various book studies, a 3rd adoption was not something I was feeling led to, or wanted to pursue. I just wasn't feeling it. As days continued to pass, Amy began sharing with me, things she was being challenged by in her devotionals and bible study groups. There was no pressuring, no guilt trips, no begging. Just subtle verses and concepts that cut straight to the heart, focusing on letting go of comforts, pursuit of wealth, and taking a risk, for a much greater cause. Sure all these things were great, but why me? Why now? As far as I was concerned, we had our hands full enough with our 2 girls, including Gemma, who was struggling to adjust to her new life. Things were just starting to become "normal." Why in the world would we want to add another variable to the situation?

Amy never wavered in her selfless, compassionate, devoted pursuit of another child. Soon she tells me she she has even identified a little girl on the "Waiting Child" (Special Needs) that "takes her breath away." Listen, I still want my "normal." I am comfortable and content with the way things are. I am still resisting, right up until the moment of truth. Because of the way the referral/adoption process works, you can place a "lock" on the file of a child while you do some research (medical history, age, etc) to help determine if you want to officially start the process. Still, out of love for my wife, and a few drops of obligation, I agree to place a lock on the file Amy has become attached to. From that point we then have 2 weeks to make a decision. Guess what? I'm still not feeling it. Finally, on the eve of the end of the 2 week file lock, after much anguish, prayer, discussion, fear, and uncertainty, I agree to pursue this little girl, but I have to be honest, it is mostly out of my love and desire to see Amy be happy. As a side note, after we finalized Gemma Lu's adoption, Amy told me "if we ever do this again, you are doing all the paperwork." Before this came about, I was happily complying with that ultimatum. After we made the decision to pursue the adoption of Shi Chun Yu, Amy instantly went into a paperwork frenzy. It was then that I saw how driven Amy was to bring this little girl into our family.

Although I eventually was able to let go of most of my fears, and get behind this new journey, I still mostly went through the motions, doing what Amy asked, as she relentlessly moved us forward as quickly as humanly, and legally possible. In essence, I was little more than a logistical and technological support person for Amy, still not emotionally invested.  Months pass, Amy faxes, checks boxes, dots i-s, crosses T-s , prepares elaborate files, and I provide menial   help, wondering how this will all work out, and even think about how much this will take me out of my comfort zone. By this time, since we have announced our plans, and even shared Chun Yu's new name, people are congratulating me, and asking questions in a steadily increasing frequency. It is difficult for me, because I am still not 100% invested.  A few months go by and it is time to actually start gearing up for our trip to China. We know we want to take Gracie and Gemma, but travel costs are prohibitive, so Amy all but singlehandedly facilitates a T-Shirt fundraiser. I can't help but be moved by our friends' and family's generosity. Further it is time to prepare tangible things like bedrooms, beds, and other similar details.  We get some updated news about Gia including a newer video, arranged and sent to us by Helen, who would end up being our guide in China. I slowly begin to feel my heart being changed. I'm fairly certain this is due to Amy's non-ceasing prayer on my behalf.

By the time May rolls around, I'm finally emotionally invested, and committed, but I'm still scared to death. Gia's medical history scares me, losing our family routine scares me, adding another financial responsibility scares me, another possible traumatic "Gotcha" Day scares me. So I'm in, but I'm petrified. However, it is then that I decided to let God have all my fears. I was convicted because I often talk the talk, but rarely was I put into a position to walk the walk. Now was that opportunity, and I vowed to take it.

The Millers 4 board a plane bound for Beijing, China. Here we come Gia Pearl. Hang on.

Monday May 26, the moment of truth. I'm prepared for absolutely anything. Three years ago, after holding Gemma Lu for an hour while she cried, screamed, kicked, and resisted, on her Gotcha Day, I know what my biggest fears are. As I learned in a class for adoptive parents, "Crossings," I set my expectations low, so I wasn't surprised or disappointed. Then, ready or not, it was time. Before I have time to prepare my camera, Gia Pearl ChunYu enters the room with her nannies. She softly grins from ear to ear, and approaches us meekly, as her guide whispers into her ear "BaBa," pointing at me, and "MaMa," while pointing to Amy. She softly repeated the words "BaBa," and "MaMa," and sat down with all 4 of us. Honestly, I didn't know what to do, as I was expecting the worst. But there in the midst of all my doubt and fear, God was faithful, and my heart was instantly captivated. After a little while, we left the orphanage and began our forever family journey TOGETHER. With each minute, this little girl with a smile straight from heaven now took my breath away, made my heart swell, and inspired me indescribably.

Since meeting this precious girl, she has taught me more than I can begin to explain. It is she who is impacting me, rather than just I, her. In seeing her courageously face colliding worlds and emotions while she said goodbye to a lifelong friend, and hearing her soft cries of grief and sadness, with each passing mile on our train ride back to Beijing, from her home city of Shijiazhuang, I have been captivated and inspired beyond comprehension. I can't stop looking at her, because despite the merciless severe motion sickness, and being moved from hotel to hotel, multiple van rides to strange places, and her first airplane ride, her sweet smile gives me an overwhelming feeling of love that grows exponentially with each gaze. That smile.... I have had but a small glimpse into this girl's life, but oh how intense and at times heart-wrenching some of the moments have ben, and yet the pure joy that radiates from that smile....

As I begin to attempt to process all that is happening, I think back to a year ago, on that particular eve of the end of our file lock period for Shi Chun Yu. I think about how close I came to not listening to my heart, and casting aside my material comforts and fears. But thanks to a relentless, amazing wife, and a sovereign God, my heart, my soul, and my life has been forever changed. After just a few short days I already can't fathom our lives without you, Gia Pearl ChunYu. Your mom aptly described you as a mountain mover, and I agree every way conceivable. For you have already moved me beyond my wildest expectations, and have already inspired me so much. I feel myself changing in so many amazing ways, with each glance. I love you Gia Pearl. Now we can move mountains together.


Penny said…
Thank you so much for this beautiful post. I have been praying fervently about China adoption of a 6-9 year old for well over a year. My husband has no interest - he says "I'm old." (He is 63, I am 56.) Plus we have a challenging 15 yo, my elderly mother with Alzheimer's, and so on, so he also feels we don't even have stability there at this point. If G-d wishes to move this mountain he will, and I suspect my husband's feelings may well follow a similar trajectory to yours. I am saving this story - thank you for giving me another piece of hope today!
Vicky said…
Beautiful post!

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