Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Booked-18 1/2 years later

The first week I met AJ, before either one of us knew 2 years later we would be married, he told me about a little girl.

She was tiny. Dark hair. He gave her one of her first baths.

She was not very old when he first saw her, and she was not very old when he last saw her.

This little girl's name was Rachel. And she is his daughter.
AJ & Rachel Holding Hands
She was born September 23, 1991.

AJ was overjoyed to see his daughter, yet sad. The biological mother felt it would be in the child's best interest to be placed in a loving home through adoption. AJ fought to keep her, but in God's providence, he lost the battle.

It was an open-close adoption. AJ's parents would occasionally receive pictures of Rachel, now Stephanie Joy. Such a pretty little girl. Always looking so happy. AJ and I would sit there and stare at her picture. She has "your eyebrows" I would tell AJ. "She likes music like you."The sadness in his eyes would give away. Though he would not speak of his hurt.

AJ did not talk much about Stephanie. The pain was so deep of losing her, he buried this pain and turned it into anger. When he did talk, it was always with the undertone of desiring to be with her. He was angry at many.

During these years without Stephanie, God worked in him. It was a slow process and still is, he still has anger, but there is forgiveness in his heart.

AJ confesses that, though he desired to raise his little girl, it was in God's perfect plan for him not to. Though it has grieved him, he rests knowing God ordained this for a reason unknown to him, and all he can do is trust. Trust in a great God who does ALL things for His purpose and glory.

Through the years, we have searched for Stephanie, with no success in finding her.

"If only I knew where she was...if I only knew..." he would say.

I asked him once what he would do if he found her whereabouts.
AJ replied he didn't want to disrupt her life, but would be tempted to go where she lived to "just see her". See her move, maybe catch a glimpse of her smile.

I asked AJ if he ever planned on contacting Stephanie, through the adoption agency, when she turns 18 years old, but fear gripped him with the thought of being rejected by her. Why would she want to know him? She has a good life with a good family. He was "just the guy who did not want me".

I encouraged him never give up hope. He would get to meet her one day. With much doubt, he prayed this would be true.

And day...last July...I got a call...

"Christine...Christine." AJ says breathless, "Stephanie has requested to be my friend on Facebook."

"What!!!????!!! Really?"

"What should I do?" he asked nervously.

"Well, accept it!!!"

He did.

They began corresponding through e-mail, getting to know each other. Favorite foods, colors, movies, animals.

AJ has been like a kid in a candy shop since...excited! Speaking and thinking of her often. Looking forward to the day when they get to meet.

The day they meet...

Today, AJ booked a ticket for Stephanie to fly down here to Texas, June 21st, to reunite with her...18 1/2 years later.

AJ and I are thrilled to meet Stephanie Joy. The children are excited to meet their big sister. We are all anticipating the visit. The kids are already discussing who she will "get" to sleep with. Rest assured, she will have her own room...

So where do I fit into all of this?

From the beginning, God gave me a love for Stephanie. I would spend nights thinking, praying for her. Wish her a "Happy Birthday" wherever she was. Wonder what she was doing......I love her deeply in my heart. Always longing for the day to meet this "special little girl" I first heard about that first week in knowing AJ.

AJ and I are nervous. Full of anticipation and questions... "Will she enjoy her time with us? What will she think of us?..."

But in the midst of the excitement, I can't help but to dream of June 21st......

Stephanie walks down the terminal...AJ sees her...their eyes meet for the first time after 18 1/2 years...and AJ is finally able to take Stephanie in his arms, holding his "little girl" once again...


Carrie said...

Ok, Miss Christine ... you have me in tears!! What a beautiful post!!

I think it is so amazing (just like God!) that He gave you a heart for Stephanie!

My prayers are with you all as you anticipate this special time!

Kevin said...

Oh, Christine . . . I'm marking my calendar . . . after I wipe my eyes.

How special, how exciting.

Please let AJ know that we will be praying.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. ~Proverbs 13:12

Anonymous said...

So many years, so many prayers...the harvest is finally here. We will be praying for their reunion and for this precious gift of your family, finally, being united for the very first time.

Love you guys!

Liz said...

well, you have reduced me to tears. such a bittersweet story, EXCEPT, now it will be just sweet... Thank you God for bringing AJ's little girl back to him...

Pat said...

My tears have joined the others. I know how your prayers have gone up. God is so good to bring this opportunity to AJ, you and your family. I know Stephanie will be blessed by coming into your lives. My prayers will continue - praising God and asking His gracious blessing upon the meeting.

Unknown said...

How exciting for y'all and especially AJ. Like the others, I was in tears after reading the store. This didn't really help with my already emotional brother-in-law had to put down his dog today after 9 years.

Laura said...

Wow, thank you for sharing of your lives so openly. Tears came freely as I read your words.

What an Awesome God we serve to bring AJ and Stephanie joy back together. I'll be praying you you all in the days to come and for the big day June 21.

Looking forward to hearing more about this reunion.

Kristy said...

Oh Christine, what a great story! I pray for a wonderful outcome! Keep us informed.
I will be praying for you also!

Lori said...

Okay, so it looks like you turned us ALL into blubberers. :) Praying...and crying...and laughing. :)


The Adventures of a Simple Life said...

I want to thank all of you for your kind words and prayers for us. We are counting down the days!

Yes, Laura, we serve an AWESOME God!... And yes, Carrie, He IS amazing!

Kevin, thanks for the great Bible verse. I think I might get a picture of Stephanie and have the verse written on it.

Heather, Liz, Mrs. Pat...thank you for all the years of listening to me and the prayer requests I have had concerning Stephanie. Our prayers are being answered and we could not be more excited!

Candi, hope you are having a better day. I have been praying for you. I am sorry to hear about your brother-in-laws dog. Losing a pet can be hard!

Kristy, Thanks for prayers for me. I need them as this will be an emotional time for me also, but in a different way.

Lori, Laughing...I like that! A form of rejoicing! And that we are!

Thanks again, everyone!!!

LynAC said...

this is amazing! can't wait to hear more. yes, I've got some pics up. I'll do more. are you on FB also?