Monday, March 31, 2014


Last summer our family hosted a beautiful young lady named Luda.

This is the post where I reflected upon our summer with Luda.  Looking back on the time we spent with her I am overcome by the glimpses of grace we found hidden in moments overcome with emotion.

We never had any doubt Luda was brought into our home for a reason.

When we put her on a plane headed on a transatlantic flight back home that sweltering day in August there wasn't a dry eye in our family, including Luda who will always be a part of our family.

Not by genetics or adoption  is she part of our family,  but by the collision of our souls.

When we decided to host the question arose - What on earth did we have in common or know about a teenage girl and why would we host her?

The reasons why we moved forward can't be fully explained, for I don't have the answer.

I only know we all knew we were supposed to bring her into our home last summer.

We thought maybe we were supposed to adopt again, and perhaps that was the reason we were led to host. We prayed through that and heard a resounding NO, at that time. We cried out to God WHY...NOT?

With Sveta it was so clear. We longed for more children (can't have anymore biologically) and knew we wanted to add to our family through adoption. That door hasn't closed in our hearts but last summer we also knew we weren't the family God was preparing for Luda.

We knew Luda had a family out there, that she desperately yearned for a family, as evidenced by the notes, letters and pictures she filled her room and notebooks with...words like..




There were other feelings too, spilled out onto paper, words we weren't able to translate until months later. Words describing her life up to the point we met her.

Absolute heartbreak.

But a glimpse of grace...for sweet Luda knows she is loved beyond measure. By us, by her father in heaven, and by the family racing to get to her.

Meet the Rose family...Luda's family.

To follow the Rose family's adoption of Luda you can find their fundraising page HERE and their blog HERE.  Their blog is a sweet reflection of their journey to Luda, and we are honored God chose us to be a tiny part of the Rose family's adoption of Luda. We are forever grateful God brought Luda into our lives for two months the summer of 2013.

Luda. A young girl who came into our home with all she owned packed into a little suitcase. With her, she brought gifts - handmade pictures she had painted, sewed and weaved love into. In her absence, her gifts have found a permanent place in our living room, sitting alongside well loved mementos, photos and memories.

Her gifts are cherished reminders of the glimpses of grace God continues to pour into our lives.

She will forever be a glimpse of His grace.

Monday, March 17, 2014


Moving on from that last post...disheartening the level of ugliness that lies in the hearts of some. To attack an innocent child is deeply saddening. I can't think more on it. The matter has been passed on to the proper authorities and that's all we can do. 

As we make our way to the month of April and warm weather dreaming...(darn groundhog!) I always find myself thinking more of Emma. She is always with me but there are times of the year I reflect more closely on her life and the time that has passed since her death. 

I wrote a lot after Emma died. I truly feel journaling through grief is a healing therapy. The depth of emotion spilled out onto paper was cathartic when my interior literally felt as if it was being ripped into tiny shreds. 

I don't feel that way anymore. 

Healing has come and peace resides in my soul. 

I wrote the following piece on the one year anniversary of her death. I can read it now and see how God has covered us in a blanket of comfort as we worked our way through layers and layers of pain.

He is good. All the time. Even in death.

For Emma...

A bursting summers sun began to light a new day as our daughter Emma was born into this world against a backdrop of mountains and a sky radiant with deep pink and indigo hues. The beauty of the outside world was lost to us as we met and beheld our newly born baby girl. We were introduced to her fiery spirit and catapulted into life with a most amazing child, and on that sultry summers day we became trapped in time, caught in rapture we inhaled joy and absorbed her radiance.

And nearly four years later, during the month of May - with butterflies flourishing the landscape and petals in full bloom, our tiny, exquisite Emma so filled with light, exhaled her last breath and took flight of this world forever. Her scent, laugh and delicate imprint on our soul will forever stay. Our Emma. Her name meant “one who heals” - a tantalizing notion because during her days on earth she seemed so in need of repair, her tiny body refusing to adhere to the rules for a healthy childhood. In the wake of her earthly death, the truth comes and shines its grace all around. She was not to be healed; it was Emma’s presence in our lives that helped to heal us.

In life and death, she continues to be…our teacher. Our journey with Emma led us through denial, darkness, unquenchable desire to make her healthy, acceptance of her disease, letting go of her and ultimately, a quest for healing and realization of truth. The family we were before Emma no longer exists. Torn apart are the definitions that perpetuated our minds of what was a fulfilled life. Left now is an ever ripening wisdom that living life is not to be defined by others expectations, earthly desires or boundaries. A fulfilled life is not measured by accomplishments, wealth, or the amount of time we spend on earth. The brief flickering of time that was Emma’s life held more truth, meaning and fullness than most ever experience.

Emma. Stay a moment and absorb her memory, the peals of her laughter, fiery spunk, and her courage. After she left us, we stumbled over this earth, demons haunting our dreams as we began to realize the pain might not be healed in this lifetime. Lessons learned are all we can take from her flight in and out of our life. She left us as quietly and quickly a single flame is blown out. The glowing aura of her physical presence remained as her last breath was exhaled. She was three. “She is gone, she is gone” my voice repeated and echoed through our home. The ebb and flow of life and death was fulfilled and glorified. Tiny glimmers of reality peeking through the dark cocoon of our shock.

Not light filled glimmers but a morose sense of perception - of the world and gossamer draping of knowledge that for a while existence was to grow darker, even darker. 

She is gone.

After she left it became quiet in our home. At times the rift between our reality and the world’s ticking of time has been filled with such intensity it threatened to rip us apart from humanity. And yet, we survived. We absorb the thrilling laughter of our other children; we notice the warm rays of sunshine that play upon furniture in Emma’s room, still filled with HER things. We are gingerly stepping through a doorway that must be the threshold to…the rest of the journey. It is filled with uncertainty but as time passes, I feel we are kicking at the darkness, and the future must now bleed light.

Light comes. 

It is the subtle, gentle caress of awareness that Emma’s spirit was shaped and filled with God’s grace. The feeling of contentment, fulfillment, and indescribable emotion when holding her was Him infused through her. Basked in truth while searching for relief from the searing pain we now reflect on her life, and her amazing journey. Emma was beautifully and wonderfully made. Her genetic fabric was carefully chosen well before she began her life on earth. She was placed into our family and lovingly cared for. Her syndrome did not debilitate our family but instead, empowered us. 

We continue to be amazed by her and by her work here on earth. Our family now travels on the journey without her physical presence but we feel her spirit, and her melodic laughter resounds around us. We keep her memory alive and woven securely into our family’s fabric. 

We have not “lost” a child – we still have three. We will talk about her, leave her pictures and favorite things in our home. Her blanket and pillow will forever grace our bedroom. We will remind Peyton and Paige that Emma is always their sister. 

That life is not forever, but love is.

Throughout the rest of my life I know our family will eternally be shaped around her short presence in our lives. Thank you Emma for the love, the lessons, and patience you had for each person blessed to have met and beheld you. It was never a sacrifice to give all to you, and wholly absorb all you had to give back. We know well that you were our tiny messenger sent to teach us and that you were only meant to be here a short time. 

We are humbled to have been a part of your life.

Emma Catherine
7/6/01 - 5/22/2005