The beginning of this journey started with HOPE, FAITH and a tremendous amount of LOVE. We started down this path with blind devotion of making a difference to one...one orphan who needed a family....one orphan who deserved so much love...one orphan who WE needed in our family. Our hearts led the way and down the path we soared.
We saw McKenna's face the same day our faith took over. It was a sign from God...she was ours and we made room in our hearts to love her, completely....forever. I will never forget that day. We felt so blessed. We were on top of the world.
Our path was met with some bumps, twists and wrong directions, but we pulled and pushed through because our focus was to get to our baby girl. Her name became part of our daily conversations and we started planning for her life. BIG plans. BIG dreams. Everything we did, we thought about how it would be if she were there with us. We included her in for the next years events...next Christmas, next birthday, next Easter...we all couldn't wait to teach her about our holidays.
And we missed her. Her absence was always there. Our hearts grew bigger. Oh, how our hearts grew. This child was changing us. Making us see the bigger picture to life. We could make such a difference in her life...and she in ours. We felt destined to be together as a family. There was so much to tell her, teach her, show her. We all had different things in mind. We couldn't wait for her to know us.
McKenna was part of the Waiting Children program in China. This program consists of children that have either some type of special need or is older in age. A special need could consist of a port wine mark or cleft lip all the way to the most severe. We were drawn to this program for many reasons and open to several types of special needs. McKenna's special need came from amniotic banding syndrome. She had a club foot, some missing toes and fingers. To us, she was absolutely perfect.
For months, we dreamed of her, planned for her, shopped for her, talked about her....LOVED her. The day we would finally meet was right around the corner. How did we make it this far? Our little girl would soon be with us....
To say that we were shocked to learn that she passed away so suddenly would not adequately describe what we felt. Losing this child....OUR child....to pneumonia and myocarditis never crossed our minds. LOSING her never crossed our minds. Never once. We felt broken, crushed, devastated...HOPELESS. How could this happen to this precious child? OUR precious child. She was so close to coming home. We held her in our hearts for so many months. How could it be that we would never get to hold her in our arms? How could our leap of faith down this road be meant to end this way?
We don't have any answers, but we know there is more to this story. There is more to McKenna's story. This is not the end. She was meant to touch our lives. She was meant to help others like her. SHE is the big picture. We are still struggling to make sense of this tragedy.
But I know we are being called to honor this little ladybug.
As we have grieved, we are comforted by the fact that McKenna was being sponsored through an organization called Grace and Hope. Grace and Hope is a wonderful organization in China that is devoted to taking children from orphanages and putting them into foster families. These children are given the love of a family instead of knowing the inside walls to an orphanage. There are so many wonderful benefits to getting orphans into families. McKenna knew the love of her foster family. They WERE her family for the short time she was alive. And it makes us feel better knowing she did not leave this earth without knowing that love. She deserved that love. And other orphans like her deserve that love, too.
Grace and Hope is funded mostly by donations. It is our BIGGEST WISH that we honor our ladybug by raising money in her honor. She can make a difference for others. Her life can represent the love that can be found even when you are still an orphan.
We will never forget this very special child. She has a permanent place in our hearts. And I know she was meant to touch the lives of others.
Fly, little ladybug, and know that we love you. You made a difference. Your life is cherished.
McKenna's legacy lives on......