10 November MMXV
June 16th was the day I saw my baby’s face for the first time. And also the day that so much fear within me surfaced that I tried really hard to forget that I knew she was mine. June 16th was the night I tossed throughout until morning never dreaming how the day would leave its fingerprints all over my heart and all over my life. I was not yet awakened to the gravity of the 16th…until the 17th.
After sufficient rattling and encouragement from my earthly father during our lunch date on the 17th, and following the relentless all-night tugging from my Heavenly One, I requested the file of the child who would not let me rest. When I saw it arrive in my email in box I was actually shaking. I was bathed in an awareness that I was receiving something holy.
Her file from China contained nearly everything this world knows about her short life. Her birthday…or an estimate of it…her medical and surgical records, her sleep schedule and personality traits. It contained her favorite type of toys and the developmental milestones she had reached. And it held within it the report documenting the day she was found.
The former prosecutor in me who had read countless law enforcement reports returned as I read this government report documenting where and when she was found by a security guard. I saw the address of the location and the name of the person who had found her and turned her over to authorities. And I learned the date that all of this happened…June 16th 2014.
I had found this child on the exact anniversary of the day she had been surrendered by her China family. The Exact. Same. Date.
I am a date person. All dates resonate with me. Birthdays, death dates, anniversaries, feast days of saints. They all resonate someplace deep within me. And recognizing that I had just happened to look into the face of this baby across the sea on the precise anniversary of the date her China mother likely looked into it for the last time grabbed me and shook me. Hard.
The God Who had, Himself, fashioned me and Who knows me better than I even know myself knows this about me. So He had chosen to speak to me in my own date language…a language so personal and so intimate that I would never be able to deny that it was from Him. He was gently, yet mightily, demanding me to pay attention to this child..and to Him. And I knew it. Every single fiber that is me knew it.
There was something so powerful in realizing that I shared this June 16th date with her China family…as if they had, themselves, handed her over to me in some way. And in the midst of the joy that surfaced within me over the next few days realizing that she was mine, June 16th kept me aware of, and anchored to, their grief somehow. I will always remember the date with joy as the day I saw my daughter’s face for the first time. But they, in all likelihood, will remember the same date with great pain and sadness. Sharing the same date with them keeps me tied to that in a somewhat mystical, yet very tangible, way.
There may never be enough time this side of eternity to ponder within my heart all that is embodied within this June 16th that we share. But some things have already surfaced clearly. I cannot be separated from my daughter’s story prior to my entrance into it. It is part of her and, thus, a part of me. Because she is a part of me. All of her and all of her story. All of her heritage and all of her heartache. They are now mine too.
And, perhaps the most glorious thing about June 16th is not the way it ties me to my child and to her story but the way it reveals the way God loves her…and has loved her without her even knowing it. The date she was “lost” by her China family is also the date she was “found” by her forever one. God went about redeeming June 16th for our daughter before she was even old enough to understand its need of redemption. Only He can do that. Only He can love like that.
As her precious agency advocate reminds me, God goes before us ALWAYS and in ALL WAYS. He definitely went before my baby into that June 16th.