There’s no way around it — this weekend was hard.
Although we kept our eyes focused on our miracle-working God (and helped each other when our eyes began drifting instead to those mountain-high circumstances), we all felt the pain of DJ’s absence Saturday night — a night that was supposed to be our first with our little superhero.
As I opened the Facebook page for our orphan hosting group at the arrival time for the Chicago flight, I saw there smiling back at me the photos of families in Great Wall red with posters and banners and balloons and enthusiasm — families waiting just outside the airport gates to meet the superheroes they’d been praying for for weeks and months. And 99 percent of me cheered with them — cheered for them — for these brave families who said “yes” for various reasons to making a superhero-in-waiting part of their world for one month this summer. Their love and passion just emanated from this photo, and I wanted to whisper in all their ears, “Bravo, world changers! YOU ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE!”
And the other 1 percent of me, the selfish part that couldn’t get my mind off a little boy still lying alone in a hospital bed in China, wept for sweet DJ, who was not to be among these families on that day.
All of us felt the weight of this moment. And all of us found ourselves silent at this loss. And for a second, I felt almost paralyzed by grief for this precious angel.
It is absolutely astounding to me how prayer can connect two people who have never met in such a powerful way. I don’t know DJ. I’ve never MET DJ. My only knowledge of this superhero comes from the medical files I’ve been given and the pictures I’ve been sent. And yet, I feel this profound connection to this little boy — one only God could foster. I feel as protective of him as I do of the children already in my care. And knowing he doesn’t have a mama of his own to be his advocate just makes my internal mama bear growl more loudly. I love this boy I’ve never met like I love my nieces and nephews. And Auntie Michelle is not about to sit idly by and give up on a chance for this boy to meet his forever family.
Six weeks of prayer for this angel I don’t yet know has bound our hearts.
And it’s also bound the hearts of our children.
As I, still grief-stricken and frankly bummed, tucked our three superheroes into bed Saturday night (only after eating away our woes in marshmallows roasted over campfires in underwear — BOYS! — while Super-Spouse attended a wedding he had RVPed for when I had planned to be in Chicago still), Superhero 2 asked if we could pray for DJ. In his beautiful, compassionate way, Superhero 2 then prayed fervently for this little boy who was to be his friend, summer companion and temporary partner in crime.
And then Superhero 1 suggested that we do more.
“Mom,” he asked, “could I take those business cards you made for DJ and hand them out at Sunday school tomorrow? My entire class could use them to pray for DJ.”
“Me, too!” chimed in the other two superheroes.
On Sunday, I got to be a fly on the wall as these boys shared DJ’s story with their teachers. As they shared their hearts for this sweet friend with their comrades. And as they handed out DJ’s business cards to everyone they met, asking them to please pray for him — for good health, for travel opportunities, for a forever family.
And there, in the midst of trial, I watched as my little superheroes learned to turn OBSTACLE into opportunity — opportunity to be a VOICE for the orphan.
Because the story they told wasn’t just DJ’s. It was Superhero 3’s. It was our family’s. It was the story of every child around the world who sat alone in hospital beds and orphanage cribs without the love, security or comfort of family on that day.
Yes, it was HARD watching these precious superheroes grieve at the delay of their summer host brother. But in the midst of LOSS, we gained children on mission — on mission to advocate for the ones they just now realized are JUST LIKE THEM — but without parents to hug and hold.
Without DJ’s “extension,” they may not have been as passionate about this opportunity. They may not have realized the gravity of this last-chance scenario. They may never have caught the vision — caught the mission — that THEY, TOO, could become a part of.
But this weekend, they got it. They felt it. They saw the need, and their hearts ached not just for the loss of a Nerf war participant, but for the loss of a little boy who DESERVED A CHANCE AT A FOREVER FAMILY.
THIS is obstacle-turned-opportunity. THIS is the silver lining. THIS is the unexpected blessing — the amazing grace of a God who works all things together for His good.
This is the beauty that comes from ashes.
We are all still believing for DJ to arrive.
It’s just that now, when he does, he doesn’t just have TWO host parents as advocates. He has a five-person business-card-assaulting, orphan-advocating family ready to do everything in their power to change DJ’s story.
And believe you me, there are no greater warriors in this house than our three persuasive superheroes on mission.