Two years ago today, Sammy and I were anticipating the arrival of our newest daughter, and our children were so excited to have their new sister by Christmas. We had started the adoption process one year earlier in December to adopt this scared and crying little girl, named Jhosseline, I had found on a photo listing. Guatemalan adoptions were coming to a close on January 1, and I saw her photo on December 23. If she was to be adopted, there was only one way to get the paperwork in for her in time, and that was to fly there and do it in person. We only had until December 28 to do that. At the time, I knew that was a far-fetched idea because Sammy had made it quite clear that he didn't want any more kids. (After all our family was complete as Shay had been home for 6mos.) And to fly to Guatemala on a moment's notice, the day after Christmas, well I already knew that this was never going to happen. But I felt compelled to pray, and pray I did. I couldn't stop. I printed her photo out and posted it on the fridge and wrote on it with a big red marker, "Pray she gets a family before Jan 1st." To make a miracle-packed, two-day story short, Sammy and I were on a plane to Guatemala the day after Christmas to meet our daughter and to start the process of adopting her. This was big, this was GOD BIG. Sammy doesn't work this fast. For a year I had been praying for his heart to soften for another child. God steps in and 'WHAM!' two days later we're in Guatemala and this precious four-year old angel is with us in our arms. Talk about surreal.
Well, over the year-long adoption process, we got to spend time with Josi via our Skype video calls once a week. I visited her again on her 5th birthday. We had a big party. She had a piñata bigger than her and a delicious cake. There were lots of kids, and songs, and presents. I think it was the best birthday she ever had. I had purchased tickets to visit her again in November, but our case finally passed the final court on October 31, and she was officially our daughter. There was more paperwork to do and money to send, so I cancelled my trip because I knew she would be home in December.
Two years ago, December 5, 2008, it was a good day. Josi's bed was ready for her, 'pink' at her request. All her clothes washed and folded in her dresser. Christmas presents bought and wrapped and waiting for her to tear open. There were Spanish-to-English translations posted throughout the house to help us in understanding each other. Our bags were packed as we knew it was only a matter of days before we were told to book our flight. I could not be happier. I was finally getting my little girl!
Then the phone rang, and everything changed…
While our family was out to dinner that evening, we received a phone call. I had to go outside because it was too loud in the restaurant. The fiancée of Josi's adoption facilitator called me and his voice sounded serious. He asked if Sammy was with me. I said yes, even though he was still in the restaurant with our kids. I mean, how bad could it be? I thought he might tell me something was wrong with the paperwork and that we couldn't get her by Christmas, (which would have probably really upset me.)
He told me that Josi had been killed. At first I didn't believe him. I asked how she died, and he told me. Then I believed him. No one would make that up. My heart fell and my legs buckled. On my knees on the concrete I cried out to God…
I composed myself and went back into the restaurant and told Sammy and the kids. My girls cried and cried. Little Sammy, four-years old, said, "Why are you all crying? She's in Heaven with Jesus." God's reminder in little Sammy's words are what got us out of that restaurant and home.
The next couple of weeks didn't seem real. Sort of like an out-of-body experience. My life was continuing, but in third person. I don't even know how I got through those days. Eventually, the state-of-shock and unbelief lifted for all of us as we then started to just deal with the sadness and loss of our beloved Josi.
No one knows why things like this happen, and that's probably a good thing. We do know that we were called to adopt Josi. We followed God's leading and put everything in his hands. How blessed are we to have known and loved her for the year that we did. That she was able to feel our love and know that we wanted her so badly even while she was waiting. We rejoice in knowing that she is with our Heavenly Father and that we will one day reunite.
All I wanted two years ago was for her to come home. I had no idea that God had another home in mind, his home. The tears today we shed are not only tears of sadness, but tears of happiness.
So for now, we will continue to do our best to celebrate her home.