11.04.2014

God's unfolding story {the heart and plan of God}


God is always writing a story in our lives.
Some pages and chapters easier to turn than others, yet every detail is
woven together to draw us closer to Him.

This is a glimpse of the story God is unfolding in our lives.  

A year ago today, November 4, 2013 I received this picture in my inbox from my husband.

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He found it through Show Hope's November prayer focus .
 I printed out the prayer focus page and put it on our refrigerator so we could pray for this little angel.  My niece's name is also Marlee and she was going to China to study abroad the following semester.  

I was drawn to her from the moment I saw her and could not get her off my mind.

I reached out to inquire more about Marleigh.
Our names were added to the list of those who had already asked about this little angel.  
 If and when our agency received her file they would assess the severity of her needs and then
match her according to the medical checklists on file beginning with date of submission.

This was the beginning of God's plan to teach me more about trust and surrender.

November 29, 2013

Our dossier was logged into China which officially began our wait to be matched with our daughter.

December 16, 2013 
(excerpts from my prayer journal)

"I lift up to you our daughter....you know her needs and you have already given her a name and set her apart for our family. Prepare us Lord for what lies ahead whatever that may be. In my heart I feel we may have a daughter with a heart condition but your plan is sovereign and if that is not your will give us clarity in knowing what child you have for us."

I shared Marleigh's picture with our family and a few close friends so they could be praying for her.
Lily's consistent prayer was "I pray for our baby sister and for baby Marleigh.
 Even if you don't put Marleigh in our family you still have another one for us."

I admit, whenever Lily prayed this, my heart would sink a little at the thought of not being matched with Marleigh but I also knew it would be a miracle for that to happen and I must trust in God's sovereign plan knowing He would put the perfect angel in our family just as he did with Lily.

March 21, 2014 

"If in your power and divine intervention you would have little Marleigh be our daughter we ask that you expedite her file and that the timing of when it comes through our agency would be the right match with our file. You are sovereign and you know what is best for her and our family. Refine me Lord in the waiting to be ready for what lies ahead. Fill my heart with trust and surrender to your perfect will."

April 4, 2014

"My heart yearns to know more about the little one you have chosen for us. My prayer is that she is loved and held and her emotional and physical needs are met. May she enjoy the gifts of playing outside and feeling sun other face. Give us a glimpse into what her special need may be and prepare us and the doctors we will need to support her. If Marleigh is to be our daughter- only you can make that possible. You have the power to do exceeding behind all we ask or think and we rest in your timing and mighty power. Prepare us for that day we receive the call...pour out wisdom and discernment that we may know without a doubt the child you have chosen for us."

April 8, 2014 (my birthday)

We received an update from our agency that Marleigh's paperwork was underway for adoption. The same night as I was driving home from our last adoption parenting class my friend Lisa texted me this picture asking...is the little one you were interested in? My heart skipped a beat and I pulled over to relish a moment in her sweet face.  Such sweet unexpected gifts to receive on my birthday.  

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June 13, 2014

We received these pictures from my dear friend who was in China and had the opportunity to meet Marleigh.

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June 14, 2014
"You are faithful...oh so faithful in all you do. I can look at so many areas of my life and see your faithful hand weaved throughout. Thank you for the gift of seeing the picture and video of sweet Marleigh. It makes my heart full to see in action the little one we have been advocating for and praying for since November. You know my heart and desire to bring her home to be part of our family and I will continue to pray for a miracle...that in your sovereign plan you might orchestrate the details of her file with the timing of our medical checklist to be one. And yet I know my hopes should not be set on this but on you and your perfect plan for her and our family. Thank you for the care she is receiving...may you expedite her file at your timing and place her in the forever family you have designed for her from the beginning. Protect my heart from disappointment or sadness if she is not our daughter...I rest in your divine plan."

July 2014

We made the decision to put our file on "hold" and wait for Marleigh's file to come through our agency. We knew this was in no way a guarantee we would be matched with her and we were taking the risk of possibly extending the wait for our daughter should our medical checklist not be the one in line when her file was released.

In late July we learned that our agency would most likely not receive her file until December of this year. We continued to pray and ask for clarity to know if our decision to put our file on hold was a prompting that was part of God's plan or a step of disobedience in which we needed to surrender complete control.

The end of September marked 16 months of waiting since the submission of our medical checklist, and we decided to set up a conference call with our agency to ask some difficult questions that could impact our decisions in the days ahead.  

September 29, 2014 

"I lift up to you our conversation with our agency next week. Be present during that time...speak to us and give us clarity on how to respond to the wait, to Marleigh, to the special needs we have marked. Let us live with open hands and surrender to your will. Protect our daughter from loneliness and fear. Surround her with caregivers who love her and embrace her as their own. Thank you that Marleigh is in a place of love and care. Give her laughter and hope. I pray that you may expedite her file so that she may know the gift of having a family. Let us see your providence and sovereign plan through the waiting, which at times feels like opposition. You work all things together for your good and your glory."

October 3, 2014

"Thank you Jesus that you are sovereign. That in our times of weakness you give us strength to move forward. Give me an attitude of thanksgiving and gratitude for my hard days...not complaining but looking to you and trying to see how you are using the valleys to help me grow. Thank you for today and for what lies ahead. ."

I remember this day well.  It was a Friday morning and I was working in my art studio...struggling with my art and working on a painting with the scripture Psalm 30:5
"Weeping may endure for the night but joy comes with the morning."

Michael called me that afternoon at 12:43 pm and asked, "are you sitting down?"

The next words he spoke I will never forget.

Marleigh's file has been released but it was given to another family who was ahead of our medical checklist.  We should know something definite about their decision in a couple of weeks.

My heart sank.

I was thrilled that our prayers for her file to be expedited had been answered and that she would soon know the love of a forever family. I was broken with the reality that this little one who God placed on our hearts, who had captivated us from the moment we saw her, may not be the one chosen for us.

I sent out a group text to our closest family and friends asking them to pray.

Lily and I sat on the floor of our kitchen floor and prayed and cried and gave thanks.

Eucharisteo
{thanksgiving}

Thanksgiving precedes the miracle.

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October 4, 2014

"Let me trust in your unfailing perfect love and plan for our family.... Not my will but yours be done...I have been asking for clarity knowing what direction to take and your answer to this will be the billboard I was hoping for but wasn't sure I would receive. Prepare my heart for what lies ahead and give me your peace that passes all understanding."

October 7, 2014

"My prayer this morning is that you place Marleigh in the family that you have chosen from the beginning...the one that can provide for her medical needs and be the best match for her. Give the family that is reviewing her file peace in their decision. Intercede in such a way that they know without a doubt the direction they are to go.  If it is your sovereign will for Marleigh to be in our family, orchestrate all of the details and timing...open my eyes and heart to see your hands at work and trust you more. Sweet Marleigh will always be part of our adoption story...now we just wait to see if she is the story or the little one leading us to a different chapter. Thank you for all the ways you are revealing yourself and reminding me that you love me with an everlasting love, you lead me with cords of human kindness, you tie me with knots of love. Be in the midst of our conference call today and if it is your timing and will perhaps she may have some news to share about Marleigh. Shine your light into the darkness today and let me rejoice in all that this day brings."

This was my prayer the morning of our conference call with our agency.  At 12:30pm we were talking with our agency and they told us that the family called that morning and decided not to move forward with Marleigh's adoption based on the severity of her medical needs.
We were the next family to see her file if we were interested in reviewing it.

My heart skipped a beat.

Interested?  Without a shadow of a doubt.

We knew even before reading her file and knowing the extent of her heart condition that she was our daughter...the beautiful miracle God had been preparing for us.

As we spoke, I got in my car to drive to Michael's office so that we could view her file together.

We sat in awe, truly humbled by the way God had woven all the details of her story to bring her to our family.

Even in the face of unknowns, we rest in promise that God will see us through every step that lies ahead in our journey of faith...trust...and surrender.

We cannot wait to welcome Mary Katherine YiMan into our family.
 She is 18 months old, has big expressive eyes, likes music and going on walks outside, she is curious and is a "little girl who is loved by all".

We are in the process of trying to expedite our travel and hope to be there sometime before Christmas!

Praising God for the miracle of one
and for the pages yet to be written as the story continues to unfold.  


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"Hope deferred makes a heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life."
 Proverbs 13:12

5 comments:

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

I could not be more thrilled for your family...... She is absolutely beautiful and he has shown us time and time again, that she was meant to be your daughter. The miracle of adoption never ceases to amaze me....... major blessings for all involved here. I can't think of a better Christmas gift!! Many prayers for you all as you embark on another journey to China where you will meet your second daughter, Mary Katherine Yiman! Love You and am so thankful I could pray and support you the last year as you waited patiently for God to show you the path. xoxoxoxo

Michelle Hoover said...

You never cease to amaze me dear friend. I am inspired by the way you craft your thoughts and share your emotions of this beautiful journey. Blessed by you and Michael in the way you walk in steadfast faith and your ability to surrender to His will. The pictures of Marleigh are beautiful and illustrate that He has taken such care of her by the obvious radiance and joy in her eyes. So grateful that she will soon know the loving family that awaits her arrival. Cannot wait to hear of travel plans. Love & Hugs, the Hoovers

Ellie said...

oh I love how God has written such a beautiful story of your journey to your sweet baby girl! xoxo ellie

DiJo said...

Amy, I am just catching up on your new daughter!!!!! So happy for your family!!!!! And, so thankful that God without a doubt chose her to be yours!!!! Congratulations on your TA!!! What a wonderful Thanksgiving gift you have received!!!! Prayers for God to go before you know, as your prepare to bring her home!!!!!!!! Hugs from MN! ~Diana

Nadia H said...

We are waiting to start our adoption journey with China. I have been praying for this little girl since the prayer focus through Show Hope. I'm so happy to know that she has a forever family!

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