Tigist attempting to climb out of her highchair, and Mary clapping for her.
When my daughter Tigist first came home in September, she couldn't do much.
She had a strong trunk, but at two years old, her poor arms and legs were oh so floppy. Not to mention she couldn't drink from any sort of cup without losing a good 40% of the liquid out of her mouth, she was unable to suck, and could not eat any sort of food texture beyond mush. And she was unable to take bites. Of anything. No matter what you gave her to eat, you could be sure that she'd just grab it with the palm of her hand and shove it all into her mouth.
It's difficult to know what is the result of Down syndrome, and what is merely a consequence of living in an orphanage for nearly two years. Most stuff is probably a little bit of both.
Slowly but surely though, our girl has been making progress. She learned how to drink from a sippy cup within the first two weeks of coming home, she takes bites now, she's cruising while holding onto furniture(!), and she can crawl all.the.way.up.the.stairs.
Needless to say I am so, so proud of my little girl. She's living proof of the redemption of God. A profound example of beating the odds and surviving and just plain refusing to give up.
And even though life has been speeding along at an insane pace since bringing our daughters home in September (funny how going from five to seven kids, with three heart surgeries for two of them, will make you feel that way) I am acutely aware that our lives are just as they should be. Most of the time, anyway.
I recently read the autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux, and my main takeaway was how she spoke about God choosing who He wills. In other words, He doesn't necessarily pick superheroes or really patient people or even the most experienced to do His work. No, He has His own purposes and lovingly and deliberately selects individuals for reasons often unknown to us. And I found great encouragement in St. Therese's profound words because on more than one occasion over the last several months, I have actually questioned God's wisdom while wondering how on earth we wound up here. Deep down I have no regrets, but there are days when I just sigh and think that surely someone else would be a better fit for, well, my life.
But when I start thinking that way, I also get this nagging feeling that something is wrong with how I'm looking at things, and it's time to regroup and adjust the murky lense through which I see the world. And St. Therese's perspective completely floored me because it speaks to the idea that God chose me for this. He chose me to raise my four adopted children, including two little girls who were born with Down syndrome and heart defects. It might make more sense on paper for them to have gone to a smaller family, or a family already caring for a child with Down syndrome, but God picked us for some reason. And that's a big deal.
So take heart when you feel as if God is asking you to do the impossible, because He doesn't make mistakes. He picked you for a reason, on purpose, to do something for Him. It might seem big or it might seem small and unimportant, but it just plain matters because it's God's work. And, I kind of love that.
And if you ever get the chance to read anything by St. Therese of Lisieux, I highly encourage you to do so. You won't regret it!