I remember in the months leading up to bringing Maggie home, I would just ache for her. Especially in church, I would just think about her and pray for her and I couldn't wait for my arms to be full with the weight of her. I felt the same when we were waiting for Allie. It's different than being pregnant when your baby is right there inside of you, moving and making her presence known. The world just seems SO BIG when your child is on the other side waiting.
We've been back to church 2 times so far since we've been home. We're nowhere near ready for her to go into the nursery away from us, so we let her sit with us. She's sometimes noisy and one of us has to step out, but generally she's been content to sit with us. She's such a fulfillment of a dream, a fulfillment that I can feel in my lap and in my arms, hear her giggle with my ears, see that adorable smile. It's truly an answered prayer to have her there with us.
This week our 3 big kids came on stage with their classes and performed a couple of Christmas songs. I don't know why this always makes me cry, but it does. I knew the boys would be up there, and we were ready with the camera. We sat in the back due to our chatty girl, but both boys immediately spotted us despite being so far away and waved and blew kisses. Tears. Tears for my love for them and pride in their hearts being so open to loving their sisters and all that bringing them home entailed.
BUT THEN. Then I just happened to spot my big girl, my Allie. I had no idea her class would be up there too! (Hence the fact that she was not dressed nicely like her brothers, but in another wacky outfit she concocted herself with rat's nest hair, but that's beside the point.) But there she was, front and center singing and doing the motions and waving like mad to me. Yes, her eyes found mine too, despite being on opposite ends of such a huge auditorium. My heart melted. She has been through so much and come so far, that big girl of mine, and oh how I love her.
To see my 3 big ones up there singing worship music, a visual representation of how far we've come with God's help, and to be standing, swaying and holding the weight of my littlest girl in my arms was such a gift. To hear the message speak of acting on your heart instead of your head. Of letting your heart break for the things that break God's heart and acting on it.
You see, Maggie wasn't initially our dream, our plan. We thought we had our life nice and neat with a little bow on top, with 3 healthy kids. But God had other plans for us. He began to lay the cause of the orphan on our hearts once again last summer and slowly the idea of Maggie became our dream, our plan, as well. We could no longer remain inactive. Our hearts stretched and grew until we began to ache for her as her mom and dad, and fight to bring her home.
Sunday in church was a culmination of a long, emotional process. What was initially an act of obedience has turned into one of the biggest blessings our family has ever had. She is our JOY. We're so thankful we let go of our desire to take the easy route; to have the money and time to do more THINGS and have more STUFF and instead let her and our other children become our purpose.
There is nothing like listening to the beautiful music that I love, watching my 3 oldest on stage rejoicing in the reason for the season, standing with my Maggie Fei in my arms and rejoicing that she's finally home.