It was exactly what I'd told Derek weeks ago that I wanted.
A jogging stroller.
And here it was, its picture posted on a local online yard sale. And by someone I knew, which made it all the better.
A couple of texts between us, a stop at her house, and it was mine.
Several days later we pulled the "new to us" stroller back out of the garage with the intention of giving it a good ol' scrubbing with the garden hose. After sitting in my friend's garage for several years, it was time for the dust and cobwebs which had inevitably piled up, to go.
Derek began spraying it down as I gathered the hand towels and liquid soap. Quietly, we worked side by side.
Thinking our own individual thoughts as we moved our hands over the stroller, I looked at my husband, the man I've known for over 20 years, the man who said, "Why not?" to this journey before I could even wrap my head around it, the man whose patience seems to know no limit, and asked, "Whatcha thinking?"
He said, "It's time. "It's time to get our daughter."
Tears welling up in my eyes, I nodded my head, "I know."
Birds chirping and cars driving by, we stood next to each other in our driveway and petitioned our Creator once more for our girl.
Water pouring from the hose, desperate words pouring from our mouths.
God, please...isn't it time?
We have a stroller. We have the cozy crib. We have cute, sassy clothes. We have little shoes. All the little girl stuff.
We just don't have her.
But the official, Judge-approved, Judge-declared, written court orders we received a week ago (dated March 9, 2016) say we legally have her:
"In result I proceed to pass the following order:
It is hereby declared the proposed adopters, Mr. Derek Fort & Mrs. Michele Fort are the adoptive parents of the female minor, -----.
It is hereby declared that the female minor ----- shall have all legal rights including rights of inheritance as that of a natural born child of the proposed adopters, Mr. Derek Fort and Mrs. Michele Fort..."
Rights of inheritance....more tears.
Her second birthday was almost two weeks ago. We celebrated her (as best as a family can when the birthday girl isn't present) with balloons, a cookie/brownie dessert, and in song.
And last weekend we celebrated Easter.
The message of Easter itself refilled our hearts with the message of hope--believing that something good can come out of something bad.
Remembering that God is not finished.
That He is still at work.
That in His absolute sovereignty He sees the end of the story when all we see is the part we're in right now.
That all we need is a flicker of hope to keep believing.
And her passport. We need that passport.
Out of the blue, in the van the other day, Grace said, "Mom, I miss her. Some days I really miss my sister. I know that sounds impossible. But you know what I mean, right? About missing someone you've never even met."
Yep. I do.
So I have to ask.
Would you please add one more prayer right now, as you have so faithfully, so many times prayed before?
Pray--earnestly--for that passport? Pray that it's time?
He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity in the human heart;
yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.