July 9 will mark one year since we started our big push to bring you, our Little Shope, home.
It’s funny, because time flies. And then it doesn’t. On one hand, so much has happened in our journey for you. We’ve raised money, we’ve prepared our hearts, our home, our lives. All for you.
And in other ways, time has stood still. We feel we’ve moved only inches in our very long journey to bring you home. They say that race car drivers experience a similar sensation. At 200 mph, everything feels frozen.
In the last year, we’ve filled out (literally) hundreds of sheets of paperwork. We’ve raised and saved thousands of dollars. We’ve written dozens of thank-you cards, sold enough coffee to power a journalist for a solid year, and said countless prayers.
We’ve fielded thousands of questions, received a thousand hugs, heard a thousand prayers whispered. All for you.
And while we have waited, time and the world and every other living thing has not.
In the last 12 months, we have seen so much:
We’ve met the Walton twins, who are living, breathing evidence that God hears us. Besides my prayers for you, dear one, they have been the subject of most of my conversations with God in the last year. You are going to love Eisley and Solomon. I already do.
Your uncles have gotten married and watched their families grow. Have I told you yet that you have little cousins who are waiting to play with you? I’ll show you how to play Monopoly, which ate up most of the hottest days of my childhood summers with my brother and cousin. Hopefully, I can teach you how to be a good sport, in case you are as mediocre a player as I was.
I went to Florida, which changed my world forever. I held the hands of women who almost lost everything on their journey to America. They risked it all because they dreamed about freedom.
I also saw alligators and giant tomato fields and signs that said “Panther Xing.” I put my feet in the ocean and giggled with my friends, who can’t wait to meet you.
This man named Nik walked across 2 inches of steel, 1,500 feet in the air over a giant canyon. This other guy named Felix jumped out of a vessel in space so that he could break skydiving records. It was awesome. You should know that I will ground you if you ask if you can do either of these things.
We screamed in excitement watching Olympians swim and run faster than any human ever has. Swimming and running are totally acceptable hobbies for you, by the way, if the Monopoly thing doesn’t pan out.
Our friends brought their babies home from all over the world, all over the nation and all over Albuquerque. We have rejoiced with them, and we prayed for them while they waited too. I even got to watch one take his very first breaths. I will never forget it.
Your dad became our church’s youngest elder, which is a lot of responsibility. (You can start teasing him now about what an old fogey he is. He won’t mind at all.)
The world is crazier and scarier than ever. There have been earthquakes and bombings and giant waves and tornadoes. There were violent protests and civil wars and men who robbed America’s movie theaters and schools of any notion of safety. If I’m honest, this terrifies me. I feel so sad knowing that I cannot protect your eyes and mind and heart from everything. I want you to grow up in a world without heartache, but it is everywhere. Yet, I do have some good news: Your dad is a superhero. Have I mentioned that? Not the kind in a cape or who can catch bullets in the palm of his hand. His super power is even cooler than any of that. He is capable of more love and gentleness than most people will ever really understand. God gave him that gift, just for us. And compared to the love of God, it’s like a grain of sand. Cool, huh? This is important for you (and I) to understand, because even when the world is monstrous, love is stronger.
I could go on for pages and pages. (You’ll learn soon enough that I’m not exactly brief.) But this feels like a good place to stop. You see, so much has happened, Little One.
But not you.