I have very few items on my "get-out-of-my-house-if-there-is-a-fire" list. The quilt our friend in Florida, Rachel, made us for our wedding. Some photo albums. A cross JB made me while we were dating with our names on it. A scarf Hatice made me.
And these shoes.
The story behind them is not unfamiliar to regular readers. In 2007, just after we had suffered our fourth failed IVF result -- just after we had decided to adopt a daughter from China. We received a gift from an online friend. You can see a picture of the shoes, as they arrived in my mail box by clicking here: Our "China" shoes.
Fast forward. We have two boys. We make the difficult and very painful decision to withdraw our Dossier from China due to increasing wait times and increasing costs. To not adopt China. To not bring the daughter we always pictured being in our family ... home.
I sent the shoes to a friend who was having a daughter. Her name was Rachel too -- but a different Rachel from the one who made the quilt. I told her to keep them. That I couldn't use them anymore. That I couldn't even see them anymore. They made me sad. Not that we weren't going to have a daughter. I didn't care about that at all. But that pulling out of China made me feel, in a sense, that we were losing a child.
And I couldn't be reminded of that.
But then, a surprise. We were pregnant again. And this time it was a girl. And my friend sent the shoes back to me. She had kept them!
And now, Abigail wears them. She's almost outgrown them. But they remind me, in one moment, of God's providence. Of his amazing ways. Of His ways not being our ways.
And while I was always be a bit sad when I think back on the China adoption that wasn't meant to be, I have realized that Abigail's presence is the presence of the daughter that HE always planned for us to have.