Dearest Hailee and Harper
Tomorrow is the day–the day the Lord Jesus KNEW would be the day that I would meet you. The day He knew I would hold you for the first time. Tonight I will leave Kiev on a train that will take me to the city you live in. The time has finally come, sweet girls.
Soon your lives will change. Forever. Life as you know it will never, ever, be the same again. It will be better! It will be more than you ever imagined. My precious girls, before the foundation of the earth, God in heaven knew that someday you would be our children. Though you may not be flesh of our flesh, you were birthed in our hearts a while ago.
We sure did not go looking for you. God brought you into our lives as two tiny little photos. That was all we had. It only took one look at your sweet little faces in those pictures for us to know that the Lord was about to lead us on another wild adventure–a ride that would lead us to you. A journey that would not only be the promise of change for you, but for us too.
Little did we know nine months ago how much we would be stretched and challenged. Little did we know how much the Lord would teach us in these last few months.
I so clearly remember that day–the day I saw your pictures. It was a strange thing, really. In my heart you were always together. You were never separated. Though not biological sisters, I knew that there would be a bond between the two of you that could never be broken. I knew that you were always destined to be together. I don’t even know if the two of you know each other in the orphanage. Do you play together? Do you even see each other? I have no idea. I only know that you cannot be separated, you need each other. What a blessing you will be to each other…and to us. I never imagined that the Lord would ever call us to adopt two children at one time, but I can honestly tell you, with all my heart, that I am so grateful He did.
I am overcome with emotion when I consider that the Father chose us to be your parents. I don’t know what we ever did to deserve this blessing–the blessing of you. We’re not the best parents around. We are so very far from being great parents. We make mistakes all the time. Some days I feel like I fail miserably. But, I guess we try to be willing parents, and maybe that’s all God expects of us. Willing to change. Willing to grow. Willing to climb back up after we fall down. Willing to go when He says go. Willing to say, “Yes, God”.
I am humbled and amazed, dear Hailee and Harper. This journey to adopt you has been nothing short of miraculous. From day one we have seen the Lord move heaven and earth on your (and our) behalf. He has astounded us time and again. My heart truly cannot fathom the love that your Father in heaven has for you both. Someday you will understand, my girls. Someday you will know.
Soon your story will begin. No, actually, your story has already begun. It began nine months ago, not just with us, your family, but with a whole mighty army of God rallying to bring you home. I am overwhelmed as I think of just how many people have given of their time, efforts, prayers, and finances to help us bring you home. We are your family, but there so many more people woven into your lives, many whom we have never even met. Your Daddy and I are so thankful to each and every one of them, many who we may never have the blessing of personally thanking this side of heaven. Saving you both from life in an institution really has been a team effort–there is no way we could have done it alone.
Soon you will have a new idenity. You will NOT be known as ‘disabled’ or ‘developmentally delayed’ or whatever else they try to label you with. No more! You will be given new names. You will be known as blessings, daughters of the most High God, treasures on this earth, chosen, and precious daughters of Anthony and Adeye Salem. You will be loved and adored like there is no tomorrow. You will be encouraged and spurred on to be the best you can be. You will known for your ABILITIES, not your disabilities. You will be part of a family who cherishes you JUST the way you are. Yes, you have Down syndrome–but that will never, ever, define who you are as treasures in this life! We’ll acknowledge the fact that God created you with Down syndrome as a blessing…never a curse.
You will NEVER be known for the things that may be ‘wrong’ with you…but rather for all the millions of things that are so very RIGHT with you. You’re beautifully created in the image of an Almighty God, a Father who does all things well. He made you perfectly…extra chromosome and all.
We are so excited to parent you, sweet angel girls. Do we know what to expect? No. Do we think it’s going to be easy? Not for a second. The only thing we know is that with God on our side, there is nothing we cannot do. There is no mountain we cannot climb, and no valley we cannot get out of. Someday you will know our Jesus, the One who has held you in the palm of His hand since the day you were concieved. Someday your little hearts and minds will understand. I cannot wait to see your sweet relationship with Him unfold. As you are welcomed into our family with open arms, you will have an opportunity to know HIM–and there is nothing sweeter in this life.
The old is about to be gone forever, and the new is about to be birthed, Hailee and Harper. We are all about to embark on a journey that is certain to have many ups and downs. I’m sure it will be a journey that will continue to challenge us and grow us all. And that’s okay with us. You Daddy and I promised the Lord a long time ago that we would never be content to take the easy road in this life. It is in the challenges that we press in to know Him more. That’s a good thing. It’s a good place to be.
I promise to love you with every ounce of my being. I promise to always choose to see the best in you. I promise to never push you beyond that which you can handle. I promise to be patient and gentle with you both, always listening to the leading of the Holy Spirit. I promise to make you feel just like our other children, never different. I promise to rejoice in every victory you have, and hold you tight when life feels hard. I promise to give you every opportunity under heaven and earth to ensure that you grow up to be the women God has destined you to be. He promises you hope and a future, and your Daddy and I are so excited to see how that unfolds.
And I promise you, my beautiful new daughters, that you will NEVER be abandoned physically or emotionally again. You will never bear the name ‘orphan’ again! It was never yours to keep.
You have been found by us. Forever and ever and ever!
And so your story continues to unfold……….
And with a Mommy and a Daddy who love you more than words can say.