Monday, December 24, 2012

Part Two

The week dragged on as the reality set in that Anna was not going to be our child.  I continued to pray, believing in my heart that something would change and she would eventually come home.  I even gave God a time limit as I prayed - telling him He had one week to bring her home and then I would stop praying about it and trust that He had found the forever family she needed.

I used every connection I had to try to figure out if I knew the family N had chosen for Anna.  I just couldn't find who her family was. Deciding to write N one more time, I simply told her I disagreed with her decision and believed God wanted us to be her forever family.  I ended my email by saying we were still praying.

N responded and said Anna was being picked up by her new family on Thursday. 

That Thursday, my two older kids were in their school musical.  It was so fun watching Eleanor dressed up like a flower child while Harry did his best Sonny Bono impression.  I laughed.  I shed a tear here and there as I thought Anna would just love to have them as her big brother and sister. 

Friday night was the second night of the show and we had relatives come in.  It was on this night that I officially gave up and stopped thinking about her.

Saturday - I have no idea what we did that day - but I do remember putting everyone to bed that night and they fell asleep right away.  I was the only one awake and was sitting at the computer doing something - probably playing Words With Friends or something, ha!  My cell phone rang.  Weird.  It was probably 10:30 at night and the whole house was sound asleep. 

I looked at the phone and recognized N's phone number.

Why is she calling me?

"Traci?  This is N.  Are you still interested in Anastasia?"

I gulped a bit and thought...am I?  I had just surrendered her. 

Reality slapped me and said Answer Her!   "Yes...", I simply said.

"Well..I got into a fight with the first family I chose. I am having doubts about them.  I am really second guessing not chosing your family.  Can you get here right away?  I mean, she is packed and ready to go.  She knows someone is coming to be her new family."

My heart leaped and shattered at the same time.  I could not imagine a 5 year old child being packed up and ready to go, sitting there just waiting for strangers to walk in and say, "I am your new mommy!"

I asked, "So, Anna knows she is going to a new family?  How did you tell her?"

N answered, "Her therapist told her."

I realized I really needed to talk to Joe before going another step futher.  I asked N if I could call her right back. 

"Yes..but I need to know tonight."

Wow - nothing like a little pressure huh?  OK - so you want us me to wake up my husband who has been asleep for 2 hours and ask him if I can fly to CO in a day and pick up a 5 year old from Ghana who is being disrupted?  But that is exactly what I did.

I woke up Joe.  I told him N had just called and that she now was choosing us.  He had a few questions - he clearly wanted to know more than what I could offer, but I kept saying that God had made a way!  God had changed her mind.  God's will was being done right before our eyes.

He smiled...laughed a bit...and said, "Go buy a ticket to CO."

So I called N back and said, "I am coming.  I will let you know when I get my ticket. I knew she was supposed to be ours."

That Sunday, as Joe and I worshiped a God who loves the fatherless and the orphan we couldn't keep the tears from streaming down our cheeks.  We were going to be parents again.  I can't remember if we told anyone or not - I think despite the joy we felt, we were terrified.

I scrambled around the next day getting ready.  We lived in a TINY house with TINY bedrooms and we already had 5 kiddos crammed into those rooms.  I put out a call to my friends who had girls and asked for some clothes and shoes.  I bought some pink sheets and a new yellow comforter for her bed.  Then I realized she needed a pillow pet - after all, the other 5 each had one.  It's funny looking back what was important to me then...things like pillow pets and a closet full of clothes.

Tuesday came and I drove my old Suburban to the Milwaukee airport.  I was taking an early flight to CO and would try as hard as I could to maneuver my way onto an earlier return flight.  I wanted to just get her and get home!  My stomach was in knots the entire flight there.  I couldn't read, couldn't listen to music....couldn't really do anything but worry.

The plane landed and I walked into the concourse of the airport and suddenly froze.  I couldn't even take another step.  I had been here before - walking toward a child I believed God had chosen for me.  The first time I was so sure that the child would run into my arms and hold on tight.  I thought my love would bring healing immediately and that child would know from my warm smile and my tears that I loved him. 

That did not happen.  He ran from me.  He wouldn't look at me.  He would cringe when I tried to touch him.  I had never felt such rejection before in my life.  It was the most painful moment I have ever gone through.

And here I was CHOOSING to walk into that same scenario.  But this time, with an extra broken child.  A girl who had been rejected more than once!

My fingers shook and I could barely see my phone screen to pull up Joe's number.  I was seriously having a panic attack (and I never have them!).  Joe answered and was so excited to hear from me!  He immediately asked, "Is Anna with you?"

I just broke into a sob.  I could barely talk, but tried to stammer the words, "I can't do this!  I am so scared!  I just want to come home!!"

Joe couldn't believe his ears.  But, he gently told me to take some deep breaths and then he did the only thing a husband could do in that moment.  He started to pray.  He prayed for me.  He prayed for Anna.  And he prayed that God would be with me. 

Immediately, peace flooded into my heart.  And I heard God clearly say, "Trust me.  I have sent you to RESCUE my child."

The peace was there...but it was a battle to keep the fear from creeping in again and again.  I found my rental car and plugged in a Christian radio station - just trusting that singing some words of praise would help me get through the next hour as I drove to N's house. 

The whole time I was shaking.  I wondered over and over again how Anna would react to me.

Then I pulled up to the house...or...I should say ranch - with the majestic Rocky Mountains literally in her back yard.  It truly was one of the most amazing places I have ever seen!  I thought there is NO WAY a little girl would want to leave this place to come to Wisconsin and live in a tiny, old farm house.  Doubt was sinking it's claws onto my back and he whispered into my ear that I was a fool for thinking what I had to offer Anna was better than this!  I began to shake again.

I pulled up the very long driveway and noticed all the corals and horses. A few ponies were in a ring.  Numerous dogs greeted me and even a few kittens scurried across the path dodging the car.  A man with dread-locs, a flannel shirt and a warm smile greeted me. 

"You must be Traci."

"Yes....and you are?"

"J.  I am N's boyfriend..."  It seemed like he wanted to say something more.  His eyes were sad even though his smile was kind. 

He simply nodded toward the house and said, "She's in there."

I was led to the front door and he opened it.  There was N.  I still hadn't seen Anna yet.  Dogs, little ones, were barking and snapping at my heels.  I looked around and saw such disarray.  There was even a lamb in the house - making such noises.  N said the lamb needed to be fed.  "Oh.." was all I said.

Then from behind a door, Anna's face peeked around the corner.  I saw here eyes.  She was smiling!

N snapped at her, "Anna!  You know you are not allowed to be in the same room as the dog!  Go back to your room!"

I must have had a shocked look on my face because N felt she needed to explain, "Anna kicked Muffin.  I just can't have her around the dog."  She said this as Muffin was nipping at my heels - barking and lunging at me. 

I almost kicked the dog myself.

N then said, "Anna's things are in her room.  Right back there."

I walked into her room and gasped.  There was Anna.  In a room with a mattress on the floor, a very large duffel bag and a few things strewn about - a cowboy hat, a naked Barbie doll and a blanket. 

At this point, I knew what God meant.  RESCUE.

I knelt down and talked to Anna a bit.  I asked if I could hug her and then asked her if she knew that she was coming home with me.  She nodded.  Her hair was a knotty mess.  My shock continued to grow.

All I wanted to do was get out of that house!  I immediately said I had a chance of catching an earlier flight back to Wisconsin and that I would not be hanging out for a few hours like we originally planned.  N was fine with that.

I lugged the bag - it was over 75 pounds and I was stumped as to how I would get that thing on the plane!  I asked about a car seat and N went to get it.  Filthy was an understatement.  Again, I just breathed deep and quietly prayed that God would be with me through this.

I truly felt like I was in a dream.

Here I was in a strange house, mess all around me, dogs lunging at my feet, a little girl with cracked skin and hair that had not been attended to...ever....in a room that no little girl should ever have to live in. 

Honestly, I don't remember any of the small talk that went between N and I.  J was there and he kept hugging Anna.  I got the impression J was not in agreement of N's decision and he told her he would always love her.  N said nothing. 

Anna hopped into my rental car and simply said goodbye to N.  She called her N.  Not Mom.  I shut the door and N said, 'See...she has never been able to bond with me.  This is for the best."

I said a few things about the legal issues that N would have to follow up with, said goodbye and got into the car.  Shutting  the door, I sighed and began to drive away.  At the end of the driveway, I handed Anna a photo book I had made of our family and our house. 

She suddenly asked, "Hey!  What should I call you?"

I hesitated for just a moment, but then answered, "Momma.  I am Momma."

Anna was quiet for a moment.  Then she said quietly, "Momma.  I like that."

And we started to make our way home.

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