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Letters to My Sons, Part 2: The Didi

9 August 2018

My sweet Jude.

I am so, so sorry.

It feels like I shouldn’t say that. Like some standard or some text book or some unspoken expectation is standing in the shadows, just out of frame, gesturing at me with wide, angry eyes to keep quiet about it. To smile and say the safe, happy things. To point at the future when we’re all healed and happy and whole and together.

But I can’t.



I am standing on stage, after almost a year of rehearsal, in front of a room full of empty chairs except one—except yours—and I am terrified. Because my heart is breaking. Because I see you smiling at me, but there are tears in your eyes. And it draws out the tears in mine, and I choke on the words I want desperately to say:

I am so, so sorry.

I am sorry for what I’m about to put you through.

You will spend your fourth birthday in a government office, being signed into the care of strangers. On the one hand, I can see Providence at work in that, and I hope that someday you will too, but in a couple weeks I don’t think it will feel like destiny. I think it will feel like a kind of death. 

Because you, and we, have been unspeakably blessed to have a foster family for most of your life. Your first four years were not spent abandoned in an orphanage crib. You were not a number. You had a family. You have a family—a temporary family but how much can a four-year-old understand about foster care? How can a four-year-old guard his heart?

I think about what it would be like if someone called and told me my four-year-old had been adopted, or what it would be like the day we took him to meet his new family, and I can’t imagine a worse feeling.

What is it like for a four-year-old to leave the family that has raised him, and be sent to another world with strangers? I’ve read the testimonies of other families. I’ve talked with other adoptive parents. I’ve seen pictures of their children grieving, and the thought of seeing you like that paralyzes me.



Because I love you. And the mama bear in me doesn’t know what to do when I rear up to pounce on whomever is hurting my baby and find that … it’s me.

I just can’t breeze through that first scene. I want to skip to Act 2, when everything is healed and the sun comes out again, but I’m stuck.

Because I want you to know that I am so, so sorry. I want you to know that I see the tears in your eyes, even when you don’t want to release them, and I know that it’s hard, and I agree that it’s unfair, and I hate it too. I want you to know that it’s okay to cry, and it’s okay to not like me that first day (or week, or month), and it’s okay to miss Grandma and China and all the rest. I will cry with you as many nights as you want, and if you hate me then I will cry with you from the next room.

The thought of it tears my heart to strips and it’s almost enough to make me call the whole thing off.


You belong with us. I will tell you the miracle stories over and over until the last breath leaves my lungs and you have memorized the cadence of my recital, because I suspect that those stories will become stitches for your heart. They have been for mine. They are how I know that God is in this, that you are ours and we are yours.

The opening scene is terrible and gut-wrenching, but there is an Act 2 and it is going to be awesome.

Because baba and I already love you more than you know and we are sold out on doing whatever it takes to earn your love in return. Because God has a plan for this that’s even bigger than our love and our family, and he never disappoints. Because those same families whose children once grieved their losses are so happy and secure today.

I don’t know why it had to start this way. I don’t know why you were born on the other side of the world, or why we didn’t find you years earlier.



But I do know that our God is the healer and the restorer. I do know that he weaves it all together into a glorious masterpiece, and that dark threads often become small shadows that offset the beautiful things he is forming.

I hope that someday it becomes a part of your testimony: that the cycles of death and rebirth you have experienced equip and strengthen you for the other amazing things that God is going to do in and through you. I hope you recognize that your heritage is an asset. I hope your story helps you connect in a totally unique way to the heart of a Savior who was also separated from a Father, and who chose that path so that others could be adopted into his family.

And in the meantime, I hope I can be worthy of you. You’re so brave and so strong, and I hope that I can deserve to cry with you and hold you and wipe your stained cheeks. I hope that I can earn smiles and giggles, and someday hugs (and maybe even snuggles – if you’re not too old for that by then), and eventually trust and love.

I’m nervous to come to China. I’m terrified of causing you heartache. But I’m also so, so excited to see you in person and hold your hand and hear your voice. I’m so excited to start, even though the start will be difficult, because I know you’re the one my heart has been missing these past few years. And I don’t want to miss you anymore.

Yours in hope,



Rob Laughter
Nathan Dumlao
Denys Nevozhai

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Krystal permalink
    9 August 2018 11:01 AM

    This is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing such a raw and real part of your heart in this process. Praying over ever single part of this journey.

    • Lex permalink*
      9 August 2018 3:36 PM

      Thank you! Goodness knows I need it. ❤

  2. 9 August 2018 10:11 PM

    So glad you took time to write this, to process this. Oh my heart. No words—but you have all my prayers for all these next mysterious steps ahead. Love you!

    • Lex permalink*
      13 August 2018 5:40 PM

      Thank you, thank you! ❤

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