She sat at the dining table last night, face aglow. Enchiladas were her meal of choice for her 11th birthday dinner. She was alive and joy-filled. Open. Receiving. Invitational. As Dennis gave our Father thanks for our daughter, he thanked him for bringing Meseret to us from a little village in Ethiopia one year ago. Something deep within my soul was touched, moved. And I was very aware. Aware because for many months I’ve been numb.
Open and invitational was not her posture when she arrived. She was happy when she had her way, maintaining independence. Soft toward my friends. Hugs, embraces flowed to them. Her face lit at the sight of them. Months of three to five hour stand-offs/day was our reality. Just waiting for her to say, “Yes mom.” To surrender to me was death to her. How often my God must utter that about me. “To surrender to me is death to her.” She fought the dying. We spoke different languages. Different cultures. Different everything. She’d given up all familiar. Not by her choice. Her birth father had chosen. Dennis and I had chosen. Our God had chosen. And we battled our flesh minute-by-minute to say, “Yes, Father.” as she did to say, “Yes, mom.”
And we all grew tired. Weary. I wondered how I’d make it through another day, trusting that in my weakness, He’d perfect His strength. Clinging to the promise.
Then I awoke on May 23rd, and was greeted by a daughter whose petals were opening to me. Fully unexpected. Immeasurable gift. Only Mystery knew the secret to unlocking her heart. And He is mercy. And He poured forth grace. And I began to exhale. And my body, heart and soul discovered how tired they’d grown. Trust, when so much had been lost, must be hard-earned. He knows that, too.
Something moved deep within me last night as Dennis thanked our God for our now 11 year-old daughter. And it felt good. I was awe-filled at what a year can bring. We were strangers when we celebrated her 10th. Engaged in a tenuous dance. There she sat…open, invitational, receiving. Face aglow.
As each of us shared with Mez words of life, our words permeated deep. Eyes touching eyes, each offering heart words. Each one, with his or her own story of deep surrender written this year. Each of us choosing to adopt. And she is adopting us. In a mysterious wonder-filled way, an American woman’s story is intertwining with an Ethiopian girl’s story and we are becoming more of who our Author created us to be.
Opening. Inviting. Receiving.