Make A Wish
When you’re contemplating adopting a child whom you’ve been told has a fatal health condition and is already living on borrowed time, it does some very interesting things to your mind. From the time I met Faith until the day we officially started the process of her adoption, my mind was tormented on a daily basis. I have unofficially written a book in my mind in which I describe how I identified with most characters in the Bible during this process.
From laughing in disbelief: “You want me to do WHAT?!”
To explaining to God all the reasons why I wasn’t equipped for this job,
To attempting to run away from God,
Digging my heels in and “kicking against the goads,”
Begging God to take the cup from me,
Realizing that maybe I was put here for “such a time as this,”
To peacefully surrendering and exclaiming, “Here am I, send me!”
It was (and still is) quite a journey.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
During that time I would drive around in my car and cry as I replayed her potential funeral in my mind. I couldn’t wrap my mind around putting myself, my husband and my other child through that.
But all along, nothing never changed. Deep in my innermost being, I knew that Faith was our daughter. And as we ultimately decided, even if it meant deep pain for us, there was no way we were going to close our eyes and allow our daughter to die in a Chinese orphanage.
When Faith had been home about 6 months, her pulmonologist referred her to Make A Wish. We learned that there were so many kids on the list already who were waiting for their wishes. About a year went by while the sweet employees and volunteers at Make A Wish would check in and make sure she was “doing ok.”
Then last summer, the ball began rolling with the process of making and granting her wish. She was given a workbook to fill out, answer questions and draw pictures about the her ideas an dreams. She eventually decided that she would love to see Hawaii and that it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity to do the volcano tour there. She made her wish, and little did we know, a group of teenage girls in the area got to work. They worked all year spreading the word and doing fundraisers to grant Faith’s wish. We received a phone call a few months ago telling us that the wish was funded and that we were ready to book tickets and make this wish a reality.
We left on a Sunday morning and flew to the Big Island. We stayed at the nicest resort that any of us had ever experienced. It was so large that it had a boat and a tram to transport people to the various towers, beaches, pools and restaurants.
Monday we went deep sea fishing. Faith loved being on the boat, seeing the turtles and fish. She reeled in a few fish herself, but mostly loved watching other people do that work and celebrating as they dropped more and more fish into our bucket. Afterwards, the crew cleaned a bag of fish for us and directed us to a restaurant who prepared them for our lunch. It was delicious!
Tuesday we had a fun day at the beach and then went to a luau that evening.
Wednesday was one of the best days any of us had ever experienced. We did a 12 hour complete island tour. The Big Island is so fascinating with all of the various climates, the craters, volcanos, and lava tubes. We stopped at a coffee farm and ate lunch and dinner with our group. That day happened to be our 15th wedding anniversary, which I don’t think was a mistake. When the Make A Wish worker called to tell me the dates they had settled on for our trip, I smiled, called Daniel and told him that God had given us a little wink.
Thursday was a free day at the pools to rest from our big day on Wednesday. Also, the girls met a bird in the hotel lobby, and we went for a girls’ day at the spa.
Friday we did a sunset dinner cruise. The view was amazing, though 3 of the 4 of us did become pretty sea sick. Luckily, Faith was not affected.
Saturday we checked out of the hotel and made one last stop at a Farmer’s Market before going back to the airport and preparing for multiple delayed flights and a long journey back home. It was truly an amazing, once in a lifetime experience that we will always remember.
Before we even left, Faith told me that she wanted to think of ways that she could raise money and help other kids who were waiting on their wishes. In fact, during her first year of school in the US, everyone was asked to bring a quarter to school one day for Make A Wish. At the time, she did know realize that she was one of the children who could qualify for a wish. Instead of a quarter, she took 2 twenty dollar bills out of her wallet (most all of her money) to donate. I asked her why she wanted to take $40 when the teacher only asked her to bring a quarter. She said, “Because, Mom! Those kids need it!” I told her at the time that I thought that was very special and that God could see her good heart. He certainly did bless her more than a hundred fold.
This past Monday, Faith had her quarterly check up with her pulmonologist at Vanderbilt. He was very pleased with how she is doing. (As you will recall, he had already discovered that her condition was indeed showing some reversibility, which had been deemed impossible by multiple previous doctors.) At this appointment, he stated that it is possible for a person with her condition to live “forever.” He explained to her the importance of keeping herself as physically fit as possible so that if she does acquire pneumonia or similar infection, her body will be strong enough to fight it off. He told her to gradually begin exercising more and added that it wouldn’t be impossible for her to even do a marathon one day!
To be clear, Faith has the same underlying heart condition and resulting lung condition, but the point is that with medication, a healthy lifestyle and lots of answered prayers, she is thriving and living a completely normal life.
God continues to amaze us, to show us, to teach us. His ways are always good, and His timing is always right. We can be sure that these things are true, no matter what the future holds.
For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear; I will help you.”