Every once in a while, I go back and re-read some of the things I've written in the past. It always ends up being equally gut-wrenching and gratitude-inducing. I've been in a chapter of hope and restoration for some time now, and while I never ever forget my babies in heaven, sometimes I lose the connection with the darkness that enveloped their deaths. But when I re-read my writings from that period, it all comes crashing back down around me.
And while I'm saving the posts from Rosie's birth for a few weeks from now when she turns one, I happened to look back at a post titled "31 weeks and 1 day" from about this time last year. As it turns out, I wrote that bit exactly one month before Rosie was born- although at the time, I thought I had a full two months before we would be meeting her. http://brimhallfamilyjourney.blogspot.com/2016/01/thirty-one-weeks-and-one-day.html
One of my primary focuses at that time was on my struggle not only to accept the reality of Roselynn's existence, but to accept that my one-on-one time with my Isobel was on a bit of a stopwatch. As I re-read it today, I can't help but to be overcome with emotion. I had absolutely no idea what was in store for our little family, but to say that the continued healing that has happened in our lives this past year exceeded our expectations would be an understatement. What we have experienced and continue to experience on a daily basis has gone beyond anything I could have ever imagined in my craziest of daydreams.
For anyone who still follows me on social media, these little girls have been at the center of most everything this past year. And it warms my heart when people tell me how much they love to see their pictures and to hear about their little antics. But this goes just so much deeper.
A year ago, I often felt as though God had made a mistake. Actually, I felt as though He'd made mistake after mistake when it came to our family's journey through infertility, early infant loss, an adoption that we were totally unprepared for, and a surprise full term pregnancy. I can honestly say that I never really understood what He was doing, that I questioned it frequently, and that I wrestled with pretty much all of it, all of the time.
I spent a lot of time exhausted.
I think that for a long time, I believed that Grief was my enemy. Eventually, I learned that Grief was actually my friend and once I accepted it, I wrestled a little bit less. But instead of fighting with Grief, I fought myself- my insecurities, my guilt, and my fear.
And that didn't stop with the birth of Isobel, and it sure didn't stop with the surprising news about Rose. And so I found myself in a wrestling match again- with myself- and I was tired and like every other time in this journey- I just couldn't see "it.". I couldn't see the whole picture. The full story. I couldn't find Hope. I knew that this couldn't be right, that I wasn't ready, my baby wasn't ready, my other baby wasn't real, and that one more disaster must be on the horizon.
I worried constantly about the impact that this was going to have on Izzie, on her journey to grieve her losses and to understand her story. I worried that she was being robbed of her chance to be a baby and that this would definitively impact her in a negative way and that both she and our relationship would suffer as a result.
Obviously God was not making mistakes and obviously there was a bigger picture and obviously I maybe would have been a little less exhausted if I had chosen to trust what He was doing instead of questioning Him at every turn.
Honestly? My constant struggle with these fears was just one more way to make it about me.
But let's be clear here. None of this has been about me or for me. This has been about an incredible display of God's omniscient power and about the people whose lives have been impacted by it. I was and still am not deserving of any of this, nor did any of it happen because of me.
And so. This girl. And this other girl.
They have known each other for nearly a full year now, but I could swear it's like they have been together for decades.
It's absolutely unreal.
People. God orchestrated this. No. He orchestrated this. He thought up Isobel and then He made her, and in her makeup, He deliberately wove her a Big Sister heart. He gave her more compassion, understanding, other-centeredness, silliness, and empathy than I have ever seen in a little person, and then He tagged those traits to be connected to one other person who hadn't even come to be yet. And so. He thought up Roselynn and then He made her, and in her makeup, He purposefully wove a Little Sister heart. He gave her a deep sense of loyalty, admiration, adventure, and reassurance, and then He tagged those traits and connected them to a little 14-month old who had just learned to walk a few weeks earlier.
And that bond is unlike anything I have ever seen before. It's very real, it's solid, and it's seemingly unbreakable. And my mother heart tells me that it's for life.
I know what you're thinking. Oh my gosh. They are babies. Maybe they like to play together, but the rest of that is crazy talk. Wait until they are teenagers- they will hate each other and fight over clothes.
Nuh-uh. I may be crazy, but I'm not wrong about this. And I know what teenage girls are like, but I refuse to speak that over them. I'm asking God to give my girls hearts that are other-centered, and I'm asking Him to help me live my life in that same way. So my prayer is that while they will have their tussles as all siblings do, their bond will only deepen over the years and they will embrace the opportunities to love one another.
And when I see these girls together. When I see Izzie putting her hands up behind her sister's back to catch her if she falls down, or I see Rosie engaging her timid sister in an adventure- or I see them holding hands- I'm reminded of what an idiot I was.
My thinking was so backwards. It's true that I couldn't see the future, but I could have chosen to trust that God's faithfulness was not going to run out. That not only did He know what He was doing- but that He carefully and purposely knit these girls separately- and then knit them together. That all of this. Was by design.
People ask me all the time about what it's like having an adopted child and a biological child. That's worthy of a whole different post entirely, but what I will say is this: I worry about Isobel a little less now. But I don't worry about her less because I've found some magic formula to ensure that she won't be impacted by a lot of the issues that seem to affect children who are born into a family through adoption. She will and I am preparing for that as much as I can so that I can walk that journey with her. But I worry about her a little less because when I see her with her sister, I can't help but believe that this divine relationship that the two of them have will play a big role in Isobel's healing process. That they will continue hand-in-hand and that their bond will only strengthen Isobel's understanding of just how loved and wanted she is. Something tells me that where a mother heart and a father heart may not always be able to get through to her on that- a Sissy heart will.