Today was a regular follow-up type visit for our little Geri. After waiting for a while in the exam room, her pediatrician came in to see us. After talking about a couple of smaller items, Dr. Kim came over to the chair I was sitting in, with Geri on my lap, and took a knee in front of me to talk. He put his hand on my arm, comfortingly, and said "I feel like we really need to talk about something that is hard to hear. This could be really tough to accept, but I think we need to consider the possibility that Geri has Autism Spectrum Disorder..."
At that precise moment, Geri leaned forward and rested her forehead against his, rubbing her head on him in a sweet little nuzzle.
Dr. Kim stopped. I said "Geri, are you saying 'hi' to Dr. Kim?" and she replied with her adorable "hiiiiiiya." He looked at me in shock and said "Did she just say 'hi' to me?" I said "yeah, I think she did."
He leaned back and said "Wow, that completely derails what I was going to say. I had this whole spiel about Autism prepared for you and now I don't think I need it!"
Through the rest of her exam Geri was more lively and sociable than he's ever seen. He was in shock, because when he saw her two weeks ago she was completely withdrawn and unresponsive. Today she was babbling, touching his face, looking at and grabbing things, responding normally to his touch and voice. He said at least three times "This is a completely different kid than I saw last time!" At one point he asked, "Is she like this at home?"
"No, " I told him, "she's more active at home. At home she talks more, plays and giggles more, explores by scooting, follows me when I leave the room, and is starting to cruise around on the furniture and walls. At home she says 'mama', 'daddy', 'doggy', and 'up' and is starting to use 'kick' reliably and just this morning she said 'sock', 'shoe', and 'eat' for the first time."
He told me point blank, "This is God's work. It's a miracle."
Speaking of miracles, her rickets test came back negative. She had the lowest vitamin D level he's ever seen and yet, somehow, she only has some minor softening of the bone that is still in the near-normal range. Sort of like how she still has vision in both eyes after having extremely high, untreated pressures for 4 years.
This Sunday, at church, we sang the song "Mighty to Save" and I cried my eyes out. Since I was saved, three years ago, that song has always brought me to tears. Before, I cried because I knew how I had been saved and my salvation was (and still is) such a big deal to me. Now I cry because I see how He saved, and is still saving, my daughter. My Savior can move mountains. He is might to save - to save me from my sin, and to save my daughter from that orphanage by bringing her a family from clear across the world.
The Bible talks about how our Lord came to seek and to save, and about how He came to restore. Sometimes, when we hear about God's salvation and restoration, we are tempted to think it just means He's going to stop our losses where they are. He's going to stabilize things and keep it from getting worse. But God wants to go further than that. He wants to return what was taken from us.
Before I was saved, I had burned through two marriages (plus an engagement). "With her own hands, the foolish woman tears down her house..." says Proverbs. I was that foolish woman, tearing down every house I built. My dreams of a happy family had been taken from me by my own foolishness, and I figured that I was never going to have what I wanted so deeply. But God came into my mess, changed me from the inside out, and gave me a family that is so much more than I'd ever hoped for. He restored the dream of family that had been taken from me.
My daughter lost her vision due to the apathy of others. But God stepped in and stopped that damage so that there would still be vision to save. It will probably take a lens transplant and coke-bottle glasses, but some day our little girl will see almost as well as anyone else. Due to the decisions of others, she lost a family. But God stepped in and brought her a family. She lost her personality, hidden in a shell of coping and hiding, but God made sure that her beautiful heart wasn't shattered so that we could nurse it back into the light.
I don't know if you believe in God or not, and honestly that's your heart and I'm not here to change it. A lot of people want evidence of God's existence, or that He is the God of the Bible and not something else. I think the best evidence is in the lives of the saved. My life is the best evidence I can give. I spent years chasing after other concepts, believing in Wicca and philosophy and Ba'hai and dabbling in Buddhism, trying on atheism and agnosticism, and there was still an emptiness in me that drove me mad. I was still sad, I was still scared, I was still lonely, I still felt worthless. I was spiraling down and none of those beliefs could stop me. But when I was saved by God, the God of the Bible, I changed and my life changed. And that pales in comparison to what He is doing for my daughter.
I thank God that we adopted this little girl. I am so grateful to watch miracles unfold firsthand, because it is really good for one's faith! He has faithfully answered and even exceeded our prayers, continually sustained us in this effort, and comforted us every step of the way. And we're no even 2 months along, yet! How much more can He accomplish before her next birthday? Before she starts school? Before she is an adult? He has lavished miracles on us and on her, and I have no doubt that He will continue to do so in the future because that's just who He is.
I was so excited about the miracles of that doctor's appointment, I thought this day had totally peaked by noon. Then we went to pick up TJ from school and decided to play outside and enjoy another miracle - a springtime warm day in January. TJ was playing with friends and Mera was running up and down a ramp and I decided to try to get Geri to walk. I was just trying to get her to walk holding my hand, to hopefully work towards getting her over this crippling social anxiety of hers. As soon as I put her down, holding one hand, she turned right around to come back to me and be picked up. So I took a few steps back, still holding her hand, to get her to walk a bit with me. Then I picked her back up and told her what a great job she'd done. At some point, she was putting so little pressure on my hand that I figured she might be able to go it alone. I took my hand out of hers and she did it. She took a couple of shaky, unsteady steps into my arms. I picked her up, laughing and celebrating, and she laughed and cuddled against me, smiling.
We repeated this probably 10 times, and towards the end she was going as many as 5 or 6 steps towards me before it was time for me to catch her. 5 or 6 steps. Independent steps, with a couple of very steady pauses in the middle. And me with no video camera!!!
It was a day of miracles, to be sure. I couldn't be more grateful to have this front-row seat.