10 Mommies and Daddies waiting.... We all were in different stages of marriage and family, but had a common bond. We were about to meet our daughters. I cannot begin to describe the excitement in the room as our Chinese guide, Evelyn, reviewed in our "What To Do With Your Chinese Baby" (paraphrase :)) session immediately prior to our unions as families. The conference room was simple and we were downright giddy to come to the best part. "This is a comfort phrase you can use". "Don't be surprised if your baby only bonds with one of you". Words came fast and were hard to process as we strove to still our pounding hearts; distracted by that moment in just a few minutes when those babies' faces would appear in this room. The "delivery room". Just as those moments of childbirth are somewhat blurred later due to competition of various emotions, the whirlwind of images swirl in my brain. Faces stand out. Sacred moments when parents fixed their eyes on their daughters for the first time. We videoed each others' moments. Tears and smiles mixed as we congratulated each other and commented on their uniqueness, just as parents tend to do in delivery rooms when they note hair amount or color and count perfect fingers and toes. That is our bond. We witnessed the sacred, vulnerable moments in each other's lives.
In the days following, we struggled together. Struggles were different for each family, but lack of sleep, fear of baths, fear of elevators, fear of diaper changes (since they had never worn them!), finding things they like to eat, etc dominated our discussions. Advice, kind words, encouragement were readily exchanged. We were in the trenches together and we were all elated to be there! Matt and I marveled at God's goodness and how He placed each child in THE family so perfectly designed for her.
One of those God ordained unions was the Carpenter family from Colorado - the Carpenter Three as they named themselves. Marin was selected by God to have Medray and Susan as Daddy and Mommy. If anyone has ever met Medray, you come away thinking subconsciously or saying aloud, "What a cool guy!" Medray was confident, stalwart, quiet, and consistent. Susan is a wordsmith. She literally chooses the most appropriate, diplomatic, encouraging words to say at the exact time you need them. The Bible verse that has always pops in my head when Susan is around is: "A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver" (Prov 25:11). Very few people have this gift.
And now is the time I wish I had Susan's gift. Susan and Marin lost their beloved Medray on Sunday night. He lost his valiant fight with an aggressive cancer that took him relatively quickly after his diagnosis. Marin had three precious years with her Daddy and he was a fantastic one!! We had the privilege of spending time with most of the families in San Antonino last year for a reunion. Marin and Medray had a special Daddy and daughter bond. Mutual adoration was overwhelmingly apparent. He poured an incredible quantity of love into Marin while he parented her.
So, we are mourning deeply the loss of Medray. Jesus wept at the loss of his friend, and we weep with Susan and Marin. Matt and I had a chance to talk one on one with Susan and Medray one night in San Antonio and we learned of their deep faith in Christ. So, we hold another special bond with him. He is our brother in Christ and we have confidence that we will see him again one day - wholly renewed, healed, and perfect. Susan wrote a quick note to us a few weeks ago and her words to describe him during this time were: brave, courageous, faith-filled, loving, at peace, and a fighter. I am not surprised one bit! We don't understand the ways of God, but we know God will be taking care of Susan and Marin. As for us, we pray we will get to reunite with Marin and Susan every other year or so as we have planned, Lord willing, and we can't wait to tell her about our impressions of Medray. We'll talk about his love for her and how very special her Daddy was.
The group at our meeting immediately prior to meeting our babies! We were taking notes and trying to listen to Evelyn. Medray and Susan are the couple closest to me in the center left side of the table.
Marin had a hard time in China, so Susan and Marin had some quiet time in the hotel room when we visited around Nanchang. Medray is in the center right beside Matt.
Medray and the O'Briens at the health clinic where we had to get exams for the babies.
Medray and Susan
Medray - Pearl River Cruise
Two beauties - Susan and Marin!