“This Is Our Daughter”
We have not yet met our girls, but their story has been written into ours since the beginning of time. Two tales of brokenness, simultaneously evolving on two different continents — finally intersecting.
And the treasure hunt just began.
What had been a heaven-only plan has surfaced and I shed tears over my computer keys at the thought of the Father’s delight that we might finally know what He has been concocting. That their fatherless hearts might finally know what He’s conceived for them.
So, we have these messengers. Friends, conveniently located within distance of our girls. Bringing messages to them of the family waiting, and returning with arms full of gold: details on these Hagerty’s we haven’t yet met.
One will go to Hope tomorrow — to hug, to hold, to be my arms until my flesh meets hers and I move from stranger to kin in an instant.
And another visited with our sweet Lily recently. She showed her our pictures and tickled barren-child places. She captured the fire in this girl’s eyes on camera and didn’t miss the moment when her smile broke and teeth revealed delight.
“I’m happy!” Lily pronounced confidently as she found herself comfortable in my friend’s presence.
When prodded as to why, she said, “Last night I dreamed about my dad. That they came to Ug@nda to get me. They took me to America and took me to church. And at church they said, ‘This is our daughter’.”
Sweet child — who’s never privately known the strong forearms of a father cradling her delicate self, or the feel of his stubble against her cheek when he kisses her goodnight, or the firmness of his chest-made-into-pillow that she somehow can sink into — is ready to be declared publicly that she is his.
Orphan made daughter, first in her dreams. Holy preparation. She is no longer a face among many, but one singled out.
And she’s happy. “So happy” she wrote in a letter to us, transcribed by our friend the messenger.
My back-stage look into the dream she remembered at just the right time to share with our informer, has two themes. Beyond the obvious, I see another Father. One who has had her name written on His palm since the beginning of time, and who has decided that now is the time for His people to know His daughter.
He wipes away any shame with His confident declaration and He tells the church: she is a daughter.
These words have seared me for days. They linger when I visit with an adoptive father who refers to “the daughter of his own” as different than his son, adopted. They hang heavy in my heart as I enter a conversation with another who draws a line in the sand between the “real way” to children — pregnancy — and a seeming act of charity, adoption.
Our family’s calling to the parent-less is no longer the secret in my heart. I wear it beside me at the grocery, in the prayer room, and on my front porch to my neighbors. And while I love to talk about it and have much grace for the unknowing, innocent comments (as one who spends a lot of time with my own foot in mouth ), the undercurrent perception I’ve seen, at times, pains me.
Many see my children as a tithe, a great offering to the Lord of sacrifice. Charity in its fullest expression — not just external, but in my home. But the Father spoke another word — into my heart, and into Lily’s dream.
“She is my daughter” He declares to His church.
Folded into God, folded into our home. Skin made obvious the separation, but the grafting-in story is as if each of their compositions were wrapped in my flesh from the beginning of time. This is not at all to negate the beauty of their birth-parents and their life-blood outpouring, but to expose the fact that restoration re-writes a child. It doesn’t just prettify the ending with one great charitable act which the child is to forever wear as a banner. It stamps hope where there was once decay.
This is not philanthropy. It is regeneration.
My call from God has crossed past the threshold of “sacrifice”, which many label God-following to be, and over into outpouring received.
And the blessings are such that I can’t gather enough cisterns to contain them.
So, when my child, whose feet have only known African soil, finds a way to rest her 8 year-old frame in my lap, as if she was infant and looks at me with eyes that long to belong to someone, the feeling that emerges will not be a satisfaction with my contribution to bettering this broken world. My response will be who am I, Father, that you would hand me the keys of your kingdom — in the form of your daughter — and let me call her mine?