When Facebook Goes Right

I wrote a blog sometime in the past year called, When She Was Ours, which was a post about a little girl named Madison that my family lost 10 years ago in what we thought was an adoption process.  She left us at apprx. 3 1/2 years old after living with our family for a year.  Obviously, it was heartache for us all losing her.

I’ve told my mom through the years that I will always be trying to find her again, just so she will be aware, and also because I wanted to know up front if she wanted to know if I found her.

For 10 years I’ve looked for her.  She is 13 now and I’ve thought, with Facebook, I’ve got to be able to find a 13 year old girl! Even went old school and tried Myspace but I’ve never found her.

Now most people can’t relate to trying to finding someone but when you are, you look for any name or link that can lead you in a new search.  All I’ve ever known is mom’s first and married last name, Madison’s first and last name, and her brother’s name.  Sounds pretty good until you’ve exhausted those options and you are back at square one.

About 3 weeks ago, my mom and I were talking about Madison and she brought down a picture of her that one of her grandmother’s had sent us in the 6 months after we lost her.  On the back was a new name and I told my mom that I was going to try to find granny on Facebook =0)

No luck…at least I don’t think.  It pulled names but I know nothing about her so who knows who I was looking at.  But this time, I tried again to search her biological mom’s name aka who got her back when she left us and this time, I pulled a name and in parenthesis to her first and last name was Madison’s last name!!!!  Praise the Lord people include other last names in aiding people to find them on Facebook.  I went out on a limb and sent her a message that went a little like this:

“Hey! Not sure if I have the right person but I was wondering if you are (name deleted), Madison’s mom. We (my mom and step-dad) fostered Madison around 2000ish and I was 18 at the time. My mom is (name deleted). I’m 29 now and a mother to one daughter with one on the way. I always wonder how she is and what’s she’s like. If this is you, I would love an update. If it’s the wrong person, sorry for the confusion =0) Thanks so much!” Rebecca

AND THREE HOURS LATER she wrote me back and I found her!  After 10 years of looking, I found Madison!  Technically I found her mom but it was finding her, too.  She sent me pictures of her that’s she’s taken through the years and recent ones.  I even got 2 videos of her singing at church.  It was crazy awesome!  I can’t explain what it’s like to lose a child in your life and have them reemerge as a teenager and get to hear them speak.  I loved to hear her speak.

I always wondered if I would recognize her in a room full of strangers and now I know I would.  Her mother was so open and so sweet to share everything with me.  I know how tall she is, what she likes, where she’s lived all these years, what her life has been like, and the million dollar question: Does she remember us?  And she does =0)  She was so young, this is all thanks to her mother who showed her the scrapbooks we sent her with.  So, Madison knows us through stories and pictures.  That’s worth it’s weight in gold to me.

And to top it off with a grand finale, she will be in my hometown this summer and I get to see her!!!!  Madison was already told that her mother and I have been talking and she is excited to meet me.  HOLD UP!  PARTY IN MY IMAGINATION!

I just can’t believe it.

I told her mom that even though we loved Madison, I respect that I’m a stranger to her and that she doesn’t know me.  I told her I expect nothing from her and that I’m a teenager whisperer and that it will be laid back and natural for her, I promise!

Meeting was her mom’s idea!  I’m just so excited.  If I’m able to, I hope to post pictures of our little reunion.  I think most blog update posts are lame but I had to share this.  Please read When She Was Ours which talks about losing her so you will know what this really means to me.  It’s a good, non-lame post. Promise =0)

Adopted

I picture her there in that house.  In that crib.  The house is old, unkept, broken-down, and carries the stench of dirty dishes, unclean clothes and bodies, and cigarettes.   She’s alone.  She’s on her back in her crib just staring at the ceiling which is what she has done for the first four months of her life.  She’s silent among the chaos.  Occasionally, she cries out in anxiety.  She can’t understand it because she’s an infant but the screaming around her, the hunger in her belly, and her need to be touched, changed, and fed gets the best of her.  She calls out to a house full of people but really cries out for no one. 

By the grace of God, a social worker comes.  They find a baby barely fed, un-nutured, wearing a soaking wet diaper, alone in a crib with curdled milk bottles tossed around her body.  4 months old.  Rescued from that place.

That’s when she became my sister. 

When I first had Eden, she would cry out in that sweet little desperate cry for the food that she needed every two hours.  There were several times that I would feel my maternal need to help Eden and I’d hold her in my arms and think of what she must’ve looked like alone in that crib.  I’d cry over my child and think of my sister.  I would think, “You were just like this.  Just like this and no one had compassion on you.  No one came to care for you.  You were just a few miles from my house crying in your prison that was your home and no one knew this little needy girl existed.”   I can see her vividly crying out alone and I could do so because I had a depiction in my own child now.  All these years later, holding my baby, I cry for what she bore at the expense of unloving, unfit parents.  It all just gives me an overwhelming sense of the mercy and grace God has already had on Eden’s life. 

There are 143 million orphans in the world today. 

One Hundred and Forty Three Million.

143 million babies like my sister who sit and stare up from ragged beds who are unloved, come offering nothing but their dependence, and need a person to have compassion.  It’s not just in third world countries. It’s here.  My future little sister was only neighborhoods away from where I worked as an adult. 

Often people make references and say, “…but you want one of your own….”  I know what they mean and I also know what they don’t understand.  Until you have loved a child that came to you through adoption or you’ve seen it first hand, it’s hard to see that you can feel the same, love the same, throw a football the same with them, braid their hair the same, and, yes, even see yourself in them.  I have a little brother who was adopted from the same family I talked about earlier.  He is like a 50 year-old man trapped in a sweet, funny little elementary school kid’s body.  He says, “Pardon me” just like his dad.  If you raise someone or spend enough time with them, you’ll see yourself in them and you won’t have to look hard.  I’ll even do you one better!  People will still come up to you and say they look like you too.  That’s when my mom chuckles to herself and plays along.

My mom will tell you that she birthed four and adopted four and there isn’t the slightest of difference.  I have four blood siblings and four adopted and I can say the same thing.

Lance and I were talking about this the other night and he said something profound.  People always say, “Why adopt when you can have your own?”  A question that would be harder to say if you watched my sister in that crib. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think because you pose that question that you have no compassion.  It just comes from a place where you haven’t seen the tragedy of being parentless firsthand.  It’s harder to throw that out there once you’ve stared at it in the 4 little faces that are part of your family now.

And so Lance said this, “With 143 million orphans, why have your own when you can adopt?”

I can see all the offended mothers reading this right now.  A hypothetical Red Sea just parted between those who feel attacked for not wanting to adopt and just have their own, between those who have considered adoption for whatever reason. 

Lance followed up by saying this:

“I guess the answer to that is that God told us to, ‘Be fruitful and multiply’.”  So to all you ruffled mommies, bearing children is wonderful and it’s a blessing.  You should be fruitful.  If God has given you fertility, than that’s an excellent thing.

But the scriptures also say, ….”take care of the orphans and widows”…

Does ‘take care’ mean we all have to go adopt right now?  Can’t caring be other ways too?  Yes, it can.  But, caring is also adopting for many, many of us.  Probably more of than we are willing to think about because it’s not easy.  It’s not glamorous.  It’s trying at times.  Depending on how you do it, it can be expensive. It can be heartbreaking.

But it’s wonderful.  It’s intended to happen.  Orphans aren’t just for the childless.  Orphans should be welcomed into homes whether you were blessed with fertility or not.  Lance and I struggled to have a child but always knew whether we had a child or not that we would be adopting regardless.  What a picture of God’s love for us that we take in the un-loved and redeem it to something lovely.  What Satan meant for evil,  God means for good.

When my grandfather died, he left a tape for his children and his grandchildren to listen to.  He had it in a box with a letter that said not to listen to it until an appointed time which was several months after he passed.  I’m sure it was so we would all have time to grieve and so it wouldn’t be so hard when we finally heard it.  On this tape, he left us all personal messages.  At the end, the message to us all included in it to care for the orphans and the widows.  I suppose that was dear to his heart, not just because he did those things, but because he had been widowed.  He knew what it was to be one of them.  I don’t know what it’s like to be parentless, but I know what it is to love them.  I don’t know what it’s like to be orphaned, but I know the need to remedy it and I know the solution. 

My 57 year-old mom is most likely in her house right now with 4 loud children who are all about 11 months apart running through her house while she packs them all up for a well-needed vacation.  The Smokey Mountains are about to be invaded by an unconventional family of 6 from Kentucky. 

She has no scars from delivery or war stories of how she labored them into this world.  Somewhere in a filing cabinet where important documents lie are the “deliveries” of my brothers and sisters.  Scribbled out in writing by a judge and court mumbo jumbo are the words officiating adoption.  Out of the old life and into the new.  Just like God did for us.

In a few days, after a long night of water slides at the hotel, my beloved and dear brothers and sisters will lie down in freshly pressed beds between two parents with full bellies.  Labor rooms or court rooms will make no difference as they drift off to sleep.  But oh how their lives have been ransomed.  What a picture they are of freedom, second chances, and God’s love and mercy.  Some babies are born of blood and sweat, others shifting papers in the justice system and while the means made no difference…

what a difference compassion will make.

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