Occasionally, there are moments when I feel like I am never going to see Layla again. Every once in a while, the memories of her are so strong that I can't stand being away from her. Sometimes, I feel like all of this is just a dream and the whole thing is some weird joke. It has been nearly six months since the last time I saw Layla, and when I think back to that evening that we walked out of the orphanage, I feel sick to my stomach. All I remember is handing her over to a lady who was going to put Layla to bed. I didn't know her and neither did Layla. She whimpered as Eric and I walked away, so I went back to give her favorite pink monkey to her and get one last kiss. The look on Layla's face at that moment just kills me every time I think about it. She didn't cry or act scared, she just knew something was wrong. She knew this wasn't like other times where we left her for the day when we would go to the capital, Kampala.
When I think about how long we have been away from her, all I picture is her face as I walked away from her on April 27th. As I left her, I thought that the longest I would go without seeing her would be four months. I was probably being unrealistic at the time, but it made me feel a little better. When I think back to that moment, it seems so long ago. I know that Layla is happy, growing and thriving while living in the orphanage. I know that Layla probably doesn't miss Eric and I anymore. She probably doesn't even remember us, but I remember her far more than I remember most things. I remember how she crawled and how she slept. I remember how she would randomly scream for no reason at all, or how she covered her mouth when she laughed. I remember how she would try to stuff an entire banana in her mouth as if it were the best thing she had ever tasted. I remember how she only wanted to eat off my plate, even if her plate had the same food. I remember how she would sit at the door and watch the older kids play outside, or her fake laugh she would use to fit in when we laughed at something. Most of all, I remember how tight she held on my shoulder when I held her.
When I start to miss Layla, I think back to all of these memories I have of her. It does help to make me laugh and to forget the evening I walked away from her. It makes me hopeful to see that little face again one day. Even though she will look older and may act differently, I will still see that same beautiful little girl.
Today, I was listening to a NEEDTOBREATHE song that has these lines:
Grace, she comes with a heavy load
Memories, they can't be erased
Like a pill I swallow, it makes me well
but it leaves an awful taste.
I have listened to this song many times, but never paid much attention to this line and the truth in it. Many people have asked Eric and I how we are able to be away from Layla for so long, and at times, I feel like the people in my life struggle with the separation more than we do. This is not because we don't love and miss her, but because God has given us so much grace! Growing up in church, I always heard about grace and mostly thought of it as something that God gives us when we ask him to forgive us of our sins. Through this experience, I have learned that God gives us grace in our everyday lives and the perfect amount of grace to handle whatever situation we are in. Without God's grace, we would not be ok and I would be a wreck everyday thinking about Layla.
The line I love most in this song is "Grace, she comes with a heavy load..." When I hear the word grace, I think of a care free life. In a way this is true, because God does take on a huge load of what we are dealing with. Grace makes our lives easier, but does not make our lives easy. Not until this season in my life have I realized that grace does not come lightly. Grace has a heavy load attached to it, but without that grace, life would be so much heavier.
Part of me is writing this blog just to vent and get some of my frustration out, but the other part is writing this to tell you that without a shadow of a doubt, I know God is in control of this adoption. How do I know? Because if he wasn't involved in this adoption, I wouldn't have made it this far. I would not have been able to be away from her for six months without doing some drastic things. God's grace has kept me calm, sane, and happy. I may go through moments where I miss Layla, but then God reminds me of everything I love about her and puts a huge smile on my face. God reminds me that he brought her into our lives and is not going to stop there. He is going to bring her home. When we go through difficult times, we often think God is ignoring us while He is really giving us so much grace! All we have to do is lay back in God's arms, soak in all the grace we can, and He will carry the heavy load.