We both have four daughter's - some through the gift of birth and some through the beautiful gift of adoption from China. (Come to think of it, we both have 5 daughters now! But I'm jumping ahead of myself!)
We both have daughters from Shanghai. Rachel and "Mighty Mac" spent there early years in the same orphanage and sadly share some heartbreaking stories of neglect and indifference.
We both willingly chose the path of mothering children deemed "terminal" and unwanted by the world and have shared the incredible joys, the incredible highs, and the incredible lows of that journey.
We both feel strongly that our mighty God should get all the credit for the miracle of broken hearts mended, and we love to brag about all He has done for our precious girls! (Here's sweet Lily holding up her "Aunt Lori's" favorite Bible verse!!!)
We both married handsome, charismatic men, who love Jesus and have committed their lives to making Him known. (OK... Doug and I aren't quite as young and cute as they are, but...)
We both hate "drama" and we like to laugh at the most inappropriate times to help us find sweet perspective on this otherwise difficult journey!
And since the beginning of this year, we have both shared the anticipation of mothering precious children created with a wonderful, extra 21st chromosome!
Come to think of it... I guess I can squarely place the blame on Emily for dragging me into this chromosome-loving journey alongside her in the first place!!! I had never even considered voluntarily parenting a child with Down Syndrome until God sent me to walk beside Emily as she carried her precious daughter-to-be! All I really wanted to do was encourage my little sister when this news came crashing in so unexpectedly! But through it, we both discovered the most unexpected blessing of all- Emily had been entrusted with a beautuful treasure that the world has so foolishly mistaken to be a burden! And through those internet conversations into the wee hours of the morning, I fell in love with the precious children blessed by God with that special, extra chromosome. In China, such children are considered the least of the least... unwanted... unadoptable. My heart burned within me! A treasure from the hands of God, unwanted?? Never! Suddenly many of those children graced the front of my refrigerator for family prayer. "Oh, Lord... Move in the hearts of parents that love you, to see the immeasurable worth of these precious children and to be willing to take them into their hearts and homes.."
But as I prayed for others, God began to do a work in my own heart. I felt suddenly "jealous" of the blessings Emily and her entire family would know through the precious child she was carrying. Maybe the Lord would see fit to bless our home with an extra chromosome too! Emily and I conspired together almost daily and dreamed big dreams that God would speak to my Doug's heart about adopting one and somehow bringing one home to ME! So when Doug announced that precious Abby was ours, you might guess that my first phone call to announce the happy news was to my "little sister" Emily!!! We literally giggled and squealed that we would share this in common too! We were incredibly blessed and we knew it!!!!
Nothing could have prepared me for yesterday's heartbreaking news from Emily. She was in labor, but she would labor only to deliver her precious child straight into the hands of Jesus, where He was waiting to take her home. I wanted to jump in my car... drive to that hospital... climb into that hospital bed next to my sister... and sob! We had begun this journey together and we would finish it together too!!!
Have I mentioned yet that I have never even met Emily face to face?... Nope! Not once! We are only "sisters" at heart...seperated by hundreds of miles. And yet I was in that delivery room with her yesterday and I labored with her in the heartbreak! (Can you imagine what the doctors and nurses were thinking of this laboring mother as she texted through the most difficult day of her life? For that matter.... what was Jacques thinking???) But at 7pm she cut the texting short... "Getting ready to push!", she typed. Say no more! I encouraged her from Florida, "Push, Mrs Rancourt... Push!!!" My phone fell silent. I knew too well what was happening to my little sister hundreds of miles away and I was helpless to do anything about it! Finally an hour later word came. "It's a girl!" Addy HOPE Rancourt had been born... but she was already gone. In that single hour Emily had held her daughter for the very first time and was already being forced to give her back to the Lord who had created her so perfectly....
How could Emily and Jacques have known the significance their daughter's name, Addy HOPE, would have only a few months later? If they had, would they still have named her Hope?I am certain they would have and I am certain I know why...
There's one more thing that Emily and I have in common, and it is the most important thing of all! We both love Jesus with all of our hearts... And we cling to His promises with all of our might! We believe that there is HOPE regardless of the circumstances of life- even on days like yesterday.
As I allowed myself to enter into the heartbreaking pain Emily felt to the depths of her soul yesterday, I was reminded of all that we, who love the Lord, cling to in moments like these. I am struck by how, in our praying and pleading with God, we often think of ‘hope’ in terms of the here and now… a healing, a longing satisfied, the fulfillment of a dream… But days like this remind us that if ever we needed HOPE – we need it now! We need a God who will shout into the deafening silence of death and remind us that there is great HOPE for something more… so much more! It’s the kind of HOPE that stands in the face of our greatest losses and promises something far greater still… Eternal JOY!
As I write my heart is deeply grieved and I know that my precious sister is grieving beyond anything I can understand. But I find joy, even in the midst of this pain, because I know that we do not grieve as those who have no hope. We grieve knowing that it was for moments like these that our HOPE was purchased at the cross. And HOPE is more fully alive tonight, in our heartache, than we’ve ever known it before! My prayer for myself, for my precious friend Emily and her husband, Jacques, and for all those who are grieving this immeasurable loss tonight, is that God’s Glory would shine through our broken hearts and cast a bright light onto the HOPE that is ours in Jesus and the immeasurable JOY that awaits us in Him. We will see you again, precious Addy Hope, and we will praise our Lord together with overflowing JOY! Thank you, Jesus, that joy is possible, even now, because YOU are our HOPE!
|Addy Hope Rancourt - May 6, 2013|