As many of you have probably gathered from my facebook page, the past 17 hours have been filled with many tears and many more questions.Last night at about 11 o clock (noon in China), one of his nurses contacted me to let me know that the state came to take him from Maria’s. While there is never any known rhyme or reason to that process, I cant help but want answers. I have to choose my words very carefully, so instead of telling you all the things that he won’t have , I’m gonna tell you about all the things that I know he had at Maria’s.
First of all, I know that he had 3 meals every day. He had an ayi that always wrapped a cloth around his neck so he wouldn’t get messy while he was eating. When he didn’t want to eat, I taught her how to do an airplane with the spoon to make it fun for him. He liked that. He was never hungry…Thats obvious from how much he has grown and changed in the 2 years that I’ve known him. He has the best chubby little cheeks.
He had his own bed. Funnily enough, he even had Louis Vuitton bed bumpers on it. He slept there soundly every night, tucked in with a blue and white star blanet that I sent him as soon as I fell in love with him. His ayis had laminated pictures of us together and they were always surrounding him in his crib. My favorite part of the day when I would visit, was going in there at night after he was asleep and kissing those cheeks and saying ‘Wo Ai Ni’.
He had the BEST ayis in the world. They love him and play with him and hold him…and as much as I always hated saying goodbye, I knew he was happy with them. Safe with them. They would always promise me that they would take good care of him when I was gone. And I never ever ever doubted that they did.
He had great medical care. 5 nurses and a Dr. right there with him all the time. I never had to wonder what would happen if he got sick.
There were incredible possibilities for his medical future under the care of MBHOH.
He had joy. Theo loves to laugh. Which is so incredible b/c so many of you remember what he looked like 2 years ago when he came….inches from death. And now he is a beautiful, bright-eyed healthy little boy. He is so funny and has such a personality. I can’t help but attribute that to all the love and laughter that he has been surrounded with in that big blue house.
I knew that I could get him clothes and toys whenever I wanted to. There was always a way to let him know that I never forget him, even when I can’t be there.
I always had a peace knowing the love and care that he was being shown there.
And now I don’t know any of this. I don’t know how to find out. I don’t know if he is crying…but I’m sure he is scared. How could he not be? He has had to leave his home and the people he trusts and loves.
I hurt b/c I want whats best for him. Selfishly, I greive b/c I don’t know when/if I will ever see him again. But when I can push back my tears and my anger long enough to think about what has to be done, I know that all I can do is pray. Pray for the nanny that will be taking care of him. Pray that she is loving and kind and that she will open her heart to Theo and see what an extraordinry child he is. Pray that HOPE is not lost! He can still be adopted. Pray that a family will open their heart and home to this little miracle. Pray that beauty will come from these Ashes! This cannot be the end of Theo’s story. I need my friends and family to pray. Tell everyone about this little boy. I want to shout out his name from the mountaintop. He cannot get lost. He cannot become a number. He’s Theo and he has changed my life.
The image that was described to me by the nurse was that he left holding my pictures and smiling. I pray that he knows that no matter what changes, his mama loves him. But I know that no matter how much I love him, Jesus loves him so much greater than that. That’s why I have HOPE. As faint as it feels right now, its there. I hope that someone reading this will be moved to tears. Moved in a way that burdens their heart. That begs them to open their home and step out in faith.
I’m going to repost ‘My Theo Story’ that I wrote about a year or so ago…some people who are new to reading this, may not know the history. After you read this, please remember to keep him in your prayers. ALWAYS! This is my love story with my little boy:
I can remember the exact place that I was on Interstate 24 when I very clearly heard the words “Go to China” in my heart. I was really confused by this because China was never really a place that I had intended to go or desired to see. I just know that I was in a place in my life where I was frustrated. I was a college graduate, beginning my career as a teacher. I was not married and had no children. I knew that I would have summers off from work and did not want to spend them laying by the pool or hitting up the honky tonks in downtown Nashville. I wanted to do something more than that. I had prayed and asked God to show me what to do with the time off, as I was in a place in life where I could just pick up and go. And that’s when I heard “Go to China”.
My first mission to China was in Hong Kong. I went there for a couple weeks in the summer of 2008 to do Vacation Bible School with some of the local kids. Hong Kong was an incredible city with amazing people. I instantly fell in love with Asia and knew that I wanted to go back to the region if I was given the opportunity.
In May 2008, Maria Chapman, daughter of Steven Curtis Chapman, was tragically killed in a car accident in the driveway of their home. She was a beautiful little five-year-old girl, adopted from China. Steven and his wife, Mary Beth, through the organization Show Hope (www.showhope.org) began their dream of building a special needs orphanage in Luoyang, China to honor their little girl’s memory.
I was invited to go to Maria’s Big House of Hope in the summer of 2009. I had no idea how my life would be impacted by this trip. It was a 2 weeklong adventure from Beijing to Lang fang to Luoyang. Our team spent time at an orphanage for cleft pallet babies…at a home for osteogenisis imperfecta (brittle bones)…and each of these places seemed to be filled with faces that were unforgettable. However, the place that I hold so dear to my heart and where I know that I have left my heart is at Maria’s House. It is a 6-floor building that towers into the sky. By a mix up in translation, it was painted bright blue with clouds. Hand painted Daisies are sprinkled along the front of the building, a memory of the flower that Maria had drawn the day she was taken to heaven.
The thing about Maria’s House is that it is filled with precious children and I have always loved children. I had never really been around special needs children, however, and that is a whole new experience. I was drawn to a room on the third floor because there was an adorable little girl up there named Jenny. Her only special need was that she was born small. She was capable of much more than many of the children there. She could laugh and play and interact on a ‘normal’ level. But there was this one little boy in there that could not do any of that. He was in a chair in the corner that he kind of had to be strapped into due to his deformities. His legs were limp and twisted and crooked. His head was abnormally large and you could see the shunt in it that was used to aid his hydrocephalus. He was pitiful. My prayer was that I would be able to bring myself to pick him up by the end of the week. I was playing on the couch with Jenny and rested my arm on the armrest when I felt these tiny fingers wrap themselves around my pinky. I looked down and the pitiful little boy was smiling at me. I picked him up and did not put him down for the next 5 days. I cried thousands of tears and stood over his crib at night and prayed for Theo. That’s his name, Theo. A name that I have uttered a thousand times since that day through stories that I tell and through prayers that I send up to God. People ask me all the time ‘Why don’t you just bring that child home?!’. Well, in China you have to be married and 30 to adopt. I am neither of these things. So until I am, I must pray for what’s best for Theo. That there will be a family somewhere who wants to take him in and give him the medical care that he needs…that there will be a doctor somewhere who wants to do an unknown surgery to heal his legs. Saying goodbye to Theo at the end of that week was excruciating. I wept over him and promised him that I would come back.
On March 17 of this year, I came back. But he had heard from me since then. I had sent him clothes and pictures of the two of us together that his nannies hung in his crib. His nannies refer to me as his mama. And I really feel that in some strange way, I am. I thought of what it would be like to see him and hold him after 8 months had gone by. There is not one moment that I doubt he knew who I was. He looked at me as if I must be a dream. I spent every day with him that I was there. Every free second that I had, he was in my arms. He was not the same boy that he was when I had left him in July. He is now expressive and healthy looking and he can blow kisses and play peek-a-boo. When I would tell him that I loved him in Chinese, he would answer back with the word ‘yes’. I love you is really the only phrase that I know in Chinese. Theo can’t understand my English…and I can’t understand his Mandarin babbling. But we both understand that we love each other deeply. How incredible is it that God created love and it is one thing that is universally understood?? Just as I had suspected, our time together was too short. 3 days flies by so quickly and then I had to say good-bye again. This time was harder than the last. There was much crying and weeping. But I was not alone. His nannies cried with me. They don’t understand me and I don’t understand them but they know how much I love this little boy and it broke their hearts too.
On June 22nd, I’m going back to China. Back to the big blue wonderful house of Hope! Every day I struggle with my calling there. Why am I so drawn to a place that is so difficult to get to? 14 hours in a plane…10 hours on an overnight train. But so worth it once I’m inside. I will be spending my summer there, doing whatever they need me to do. I look forward to serving them in any way possible. Of course, I look forward to spending time with my little boy as well. Sometimes I sit and think about my experiences, about the faces of the children who have been abandoned, about the floor of palliative care babies who may not make it through the night…and I become so overwhelmed. There are so many! I can’t help them all! But I can hold one tightly and I can love one like the mother he may never have. My challenge to anyone who reads this is: Love one. It doesn’t have to be a child on the other side of the world. It can be a child on your street, at your school, in your home. Love one. And that love will grow and spread to others…and your story will reach the hearts of people you may never meet and inspire them to love outside their comfort zone. I thank God for the opportunities that He has given me, the heart that He has blessed me with and the little boy that I love and that has chosen to love me back.