We were living in La Jolla at the time. Jesse and I were bike riding fiends. Beach cruising is one of our all-time favorite things to do. Pedaling and pedaling till your quads tingle and your shoulders are tan. The ocean air on your skin and in your lungs. The breeze whipping through, tangling your hair. The obsessive (because it’s so cheerful!) bell ringing to let the tourists with rentals know you’re zooming by on their left. Jesse says I ring my bell too much, but I ring it anyway. It all makes me feel so free. So alive.
So, I guess it’s no surprise there were bikes in my dream. We had been riding them incessantly.
This is the story of the first time I saw her. I may not have her in my arms yet, but this is the moment she was born in my heart.
I was walking down the sidewalk, right in front of the house we were living in at the time, in 2014. I had my beach cruiser with me. But I wasn’t riding care-freely, like we normally do, I was walking it along. And all roped in, snug and secure to my bike, was a little bike. Her bike. The little bike’s wheels were lifted off the ground, weightless, hugging the big bike. Not working at all to make its way down the sidewalk; just enjoying the ride, as the thick, strong rope kept it close and safe to the big bike.
The sun was out and the sky was blue. But my heart was far from feeling breezy and light. Quite the opposite, really. Something much more serious was happening. Something much more involved than the playful passing of cirrus clouds swirling their way across the sky.
In my right hand, I held the left handle bar of the big bike, steering the roped duo along. And in my left hand, I held a much tinier hand. It belonged to a little girl with straight, black bangs that covered her forehead. She was about 2 years old. I don’t remember the expression on her sweet face. I don’t remember what she was wearing. I just remember her straight, dark bangs and how I was feeling as my arm dangled down to meet hers and her hand stretched up to meet mine.
There have been so many times in real life, where I can relate to how I was feeling in that dream. I moved across the country when I was 22. I moved to South Africa when I was 25. I’ve started two businesses when it seemed there’d be wiser, easier things to do. And as I held her smooth little hand, I had that same wave of here we go wash over me. A mix of anticipation and hope and surrender and excitement flooded all of me, as I looked down at her little squishy face wearing those dark bangs.
I looked at her and then at Jesse.
The three of us stood there, only for a short time, but I remember feeling like the seconds lagged as we soaked up all that was transpiring there outside the house. As I looked at Jesse, I felt fear rush through my veins. I knew he could see the uncertainty in my eyes. But, I had a feeling it was all going to happen anyway. Even though, I wasn’t fully ready. Even though, I was scared.
I looked down at her and then back at him again, “Are you sure about this?”
He said, “I am.” He’s always ready.
And even though I wasn’t sure why or how we got to this spot on the sidewalk, this spot in our lives, I was sure it was time to move forward.
Jesse took her other hand, so that we were a connected trio. One of us on either side, so that we could block the weight and worry of the world from touching her. Snug, protected, just like the little bike roped to mine. The sunshine and truth must have blazed through my bewildered heart. The salty ocean air must have absorbed my fear, because the three of us started walking away from what we once knew, me steering the bikes, stepping over the cracks of the sidewalk. Filling the cracks and holes of our hearts. The seagulls swooped and darted. The palm trees calmly swayed, how they always do.
As we moved forward into what we’ve only dreamed about in real life, in the dream, that dark-haired little girl slowed her steps and turned her head behind her. Still holding our hands, so that her tiny arms pulled ours back as well, I heard her voice for the first time. I don’t know who she was talking to, but she spoke one very short but very sincere sentence to the world she was leaving behind, “Thank you for finding me a home.”
We continued down the sidewalk. She was finally home. We were finally home.
And then, I woke up.
I woke up in wonder. It was all so vivid. She was so close and real. I replayed the scene over and over in my mind, just in case one day I’d want to remember it. Just in case, one day I’d want to tell her. I was nowhere near knowing or accepting or surrendering to a life with her in it. But, there she was. There you were.
A lucid vision, a promise of pursuing something that not everyone understands. Not even me.
Jesse says he always knew we would adopt. I say, I had sort of figured we would. I think I lacked confidence about it at the beginning, well, for years really, even after having this dream, because God wanted to bring me so much closer to Him first. I am the little bike. And his strong, secure arms hug me lovingly, beautifully, purposefully; but for so long, I tried to break free.
In order for me to hear Him, I had to pursue Him. Relax and settle into the ride. Be still. Let him guide me. Let my wheels be lifted off the ground. Let my burdens be carried. I had to learn to choose Jesus whether or not I got pregnant. I had to learn to lean into and love Jesus whether or not I felt inadequate or left out. I had to learn to choose Jesus because He is God and His plans for my life are so much more beautiful than the life I was hoping for.
Someday, hopefully soon, we’ll get a phone call and an email and we’ll learn all about her. They’ll send us a picture, too. I can already feel that anticipation, as I’m sure we’ll scroll, scroll, scroll quickly through the records, to see her face first. I don’t know if jet black bangs will cover her forehead. Maybe she’ll have a sprout of ponytail, a silky black firework on top of her head. We’ll see.
But, this I do know. I am no longer afraid. I am no longer uncertain. I know without a doubt in my mind or heart that she will be a dream come true.
We can’t wait to buy her first little bike. We can’t wait for her to feel the cool ocean air on her skin and the sunshine on her face and in her heart. We can’t wait to teach her to ride down the sidewalk and watch with us, as the cirrus clouds playfully swirl across the blue sky. I will buy a cheerful little bell for her bike. And we’ll ring them together, over and over again.