It took 2 years to complete the paperchase to adopt Claire. That is a long time to dream.
In my pre-adoption mind, I imagined my little girl standing proudly in a high school cap and gown. I imagined sending her off to college, and even dreamed of a wedding on some far off day.
More near term, I dreamed of reading books together in the hammock and being able to reference our shared literature in daily conversations. I pictured visits to the museum, or hikes to historic sites. Maybe sharing a mother daughter Bible study with stimulating interactions that help us both stretch our understanding.
I really do know better than to create an imaginary child before adoption, but somehow, my mind seems to, well, have a mind of its own. As much as I try to keep an empty slate for a real child to fill up, little expectations find a way to lodge in my thinking.
One such idea was that if God had healed Claire's heart, He would surely heal her mind as well. I wasn't even conscious of this idea being present until we started trying to do some "normal" things that most young children can do easily. Little tugs of worry started pulling on my heart. When the first evaluation was done at the adoption clinic in Birmingham and I watched the testing proceed, those tugs got harder. When I saw the scores and heard the doctor talk about oxygen deprivation and brain damage and very low developmental levels, my dreams were shaken and my heart came to a virtual stand still.
I had a lot of thinking to do.
Surely God didn't heal her body just to let her brain stay broken. (But His ways aren't always the same as our ways.)
"Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements and how inscrutable his ways!" Romans 11:33
The more I thought, the more I remembered that God loves Claire, and all of us, just as we are. He doesn't love us for what we can do or for how much we know. He just loves. Sometimes He chooses to use the skills He has placed in us to accomplish things that bring Him glory. Other times, He chooses to use those that the world would call foolish or worthless to bring even more glory to Himself. Often, He uses our weaknesses to display His greatness.
So I changed my expectations and my prayers. Instead of asking God to just make Claire be all better, I asked Him to change my heart so that I can love her and see her through His eyes.
Oh, I still pray daily for restoration of the parts of her brain that have been damaged through lack of oxygen, exposure to powerful medications, and years of being in a hospital bed. I believe God can heal. I believe that brains can form new pathways to carry information. I will continue to work to provide treatment and care that offers the best opportunities for development.
But, I will also work to trust that God is ALWAYS good. His choices are always best. I will love my sweet girl whether she ever learns to put her clothes on in the right direction, or whether she can ever figure out how to run or jump. If she can't do the things that most people take for granted, I will find something she can do to celebrate.
When great waves of fear sweep over me as I discover that she can't button her own pants, or trace a line with her finger no matter how many times and different ways we try, or she can't distinguish the big puddles from the road they are on even when I'm trying to get her to stomp in them with her new rain boots,
I will remember
that God is in control of each and every outcome.
He will direct our paths, and HE IS GOOD.