Almost six years ago, Walker and I were asked to participate in a pilot bible study at our church for couples on finances. I had just had a baby boy. Unbeknownst to me, I was also in the throes of postpartum depression. The fact that my stupid boobs wouldn't work right so that I could nurse my new baby, despite trying every method known to woman including waking up in the middle of the night several times to pump an hour for a measly two ounces - then spend another 30 minutes feeding him - was about to put me over the brink of sanity. Or maybe I had already gone there.
That night, at the end of this bible study, Walker submitted my breastfeeding trauma as a prayer request and then, of course, I burst into tears.
All the other moms surrounded me immediately with love and support, several with nursing horror stories that topped even my own. One in particular, a tall girl named Jenny, said, "I never had any problems nursing. But, I had about every other new mother problem that exists, so, I think I understand your misery."
And with that, a friendship was born.
Our husbands liked each other too. And we liked each other's husbands. Many of y'all will agree when I proclaim that when two couples all not only like, but really like each other, it is nothing short of a mariage miracle.
Several months later, I sat on Jenny's red couch while our little boys played, pregnant with my first daughter. We talked about how Jenny, the mother of two boys, had always dreamed of having a little girl. But Jenny is one of those who considers the baby stage what you put up with to get to the good part: toddlerhood. (I am the opposite, I love newborns, and suffer through the following couple years. Every time she and I discuss this it ends in sighs and looks of bewilderment at the other's oddness.) Considering her post traumatic colic disorder, Jenny had no desire to go the newborn route again. But still, she dreamed of a little girl named Rosemary.
Then I gasped and said, "You should get a girl from China! Oh! Chinese Rosemary!"
We had plans to adopt from China, and because I recruit company for all my endeavors, she was not the first to whom I had made this suggestion. But she was the first to respond with "that look." That wistful look, off into the distance, as her brain began churning and her heart began dreaming of a little Chinese baby named Rosemary.
I lamented the fact that Chinese girls were usually a year old before they were adopted, so I would miss those first months. Jenny considered that a bonus. We sighed and shook our heads at each other.
That was five years ago. Since then, I have been a blessed witness to all the roller coaster rides which adopting from abroad entail. We've seen obstacles melt away. We've traded books and blogs and articles about how horribly girl babies in China are treated. We've agonized as China has made adoptions more and more difficult to obtain. And last year, when the six month wait suddenly turned into six or more years, we prayed about letting go of the image of a healthy toddler named Rosemary and asked God if Rosemary was really a six year old little girl with scoliosis.
God affirmed that she was.
She always had been.
It was during this time that I began to realize that, for various reasons, my decade long dream of having my own daughter from China was probably never going to happen. I told Jenny that I believed that God gave me that desire so that I could pass it along to her, and while it broke my heart, I was okay with Him using me in that way. And then, of course, I burst into tears.
So, tomorrow, when my dear friend Jenny and her family go to an orphanage and meet a little girl who, before the Lord laid the foundations of the earth, He gave the name Rosemary Juen Johnson,
I know you will understand that while my body is in Houston, my heart is in Shanghai.
Jenny is blogging about this experience for the New York Times. You can follow their story here.