Monday, September 12, 2011

Reality Check

I joined a new Yahoo group specifically for people who have either adopted or are adopting children from Princess Petal's orphanage in southern China.  After posting a quick intro as to who we were I received an email from a woman  in the Netherlands that changed the course of my entire day. 

First I have to say that our referral photos of Princess Petals are beautiful.  She is in a cute outfit and posed on a professional backdrop of grass and flowers and the lighting is excellent. 

The woman from the Netherlands contacted me because she had just been in China adopting her daughter last month.  While visiting her new daughter's orphanage she noticed a little girl that touched her heart and she took several pictures of her.  She wanted a better description of the child we were adopting.  I gave a few details and a few minutes later I had six photos of Princess Petals in my inbox. 

I was forced to realize that the little girl we are hoping to adopt is not the cute little baby in nice clothes posed on a professional backdrop.  She is a little girl who was abandoned within 24 hours of her birth and hasn't known the love of a mother since.  She is an orphan wearing a stained t-shirt that's two sizes too big.  She is child who sleeps in a crib with steel bars and instead of a mattress she has a piece of plywood.  It was a mixed blessing for us to see the reality of Princess Petals' life.  We've come to realize that although it was tough to swallow, the reality is important to know.  Now we are prepared for her reality, not ours.  Ever so thankful for those photos. 

I was emailing back and forth with this wonderful woman from the Netherlands about the pictures she'd taken and her experience until I realized that the boys and I were still in pj's and going to be ridiculously late for church.  I was rushing around so much that until I opened the car door to get W out of his seat I hadn't noticed that I'd never put shoes on him.  I stared at his bare feet and let out a big sigh in the parking lot.  All I could think about was that little girl staring at me in the pictures, and that I'd come to the right place. 

Who knew that the entire sermon today would revolve around orphans???  I wished Jon had been there with me but he was out of town for work so I listened and tried not to cry - this sermon was certainly not going to be a distraction.  It was more of a call to duty and an answer to any doubts. 

Today has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster but I'm heading to bed feeling truly blessed.