Today we celebrate ten whole years of Lola. That’s a lot of life when you’re less than four feet tall. I’ve been Lola’s mom for four years now and it almost seems unfair to celebrate ten when I’m missing six of them.
Four years ago, in January, she was a picture on a screen. I saw her just before her 5th birthday. A beautiful little girl with eyes the color of the sea. Our paperwork was approved for a child no more than four and so we set about the task of completing more training and more addendums because of all the children in the whole wide world God spoke her name into my heart. It would be awhile before she would come home to us, approaching six years old and carrying an entire life we didn’t know or understand.
The first couple of years were more than our hands and hearts could carry and our family stretched and grew and even crumbled at times. Thankfully there are greater and bigger hands that held us and continue to hold us as we learn day by day to say goodbye to “normal” and yes to being the family God created us to be.
As we suspected, blindness, although unfamiliar to us, was not a disability but rather a different way of doing life. Lola has accomplished a tremendous amount in the time she’s been home. She is on-grade level in her third grade studies and has mastered braille and is working steadily on grade level Nemeth, which is the code she uses for math. Her social skills are growing daily and she’s becoming more self-aware. She delights in sharing the scripture passages she’s memorized and listens at least 75% of the time when we have family Bible time.
Taking a step back is immensely important in our journey with Lola. In the thick of it there are times I despair over difficult days but with a bird’s eye view I see the flower blossoming. On paper, when we look at Lola’s background and experiences, there is a lot to fear for the future. But our hope for Lola isn’t in scientific or psychiatric journals and studies… our hope is in the Lord and in his word that says:
Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Daughter of my heart… we have loss between us. At times that loss seeks to divide us and turn our hearts against each other. But we also have promises that tell us nothing is beyond the hand of God. I promise to seek him even more in this 10th year of your life. I promise to look beyond your actions and watch for motivations behind them so that I can bind up your wounds. I promise to watch for your successes so that I can give you praise and remind you of your triumphs. May this be the year we call the year of fastening… the year of connection… and a time we rejoice over because it was the year our hearts were entwined in deep commitment to walk as mother and daughter.
I loved you before I knew you,