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Authors: Patti Lacy

Reclaiming Lily

BOOK: Reclaiming Lily
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© 2011 by Patti Lacy

Published by Bethany House Publishers

11400 Hampshire Avenue South

Bloomington, Minnesota 55438

Bethany House Publishers is a division of

Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Ebook edition created 2011

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.

ISBN 978-1-4412-3385-1

Cover design by Andrea Gjeldum

Praise for
Reclaiming Lily

“A remarkable layering of intertwined experiences woven together into a truly memorable story. Led by the spirit and the heart, Lacy gives the reader a chance to experience China in a new way. 
Reclaiming Lily
is a book to be savored.”

—Cindy Champnella, author of
The Waiting Child: How the Faith and Love of One Orphan Saved the Life of Another

“Patti Lacy bravely ushers the reader across cultural lines to show the power of God to restore all that the locusts have eaten.
Reclaiming Lily
is a moving story of loss, healing, and above all, love.”

—Gina Holmes, bestselling author of
Crossing Oceans
Dry as Rain

“The bonds of maternal love and whispered promises are held to a flame and tested in this redemptive story of sacrifice. Patti Lacy’s vibrant prose and endearing characters will capture your heart. Bravo!”

—Carla Stewart, author of
Chasing Lilacs
Broken Wings

“Riveting. Powerful. Haunting.
Reclaiming Lily
is a stunning example of just why Patti Lacy is a must-read in Christian fiction today. I dare anyone to pick up this book and not be moved, inspired and changed forever. Truly a talent not to be missed.”

—Julie Lessman, award-winning author of
A Hope Undaunted


Title Page
Copyright Page































Author’s Note
Discussion Questions
Back Ads
Back Cover


HINA, 1990

The van jostled its way to the orphanage. Hunkered beside her pastor husband, Andrew, Gloria Powell craned her neck to gaze out the filmy window. Though she’d read books and studied photos until bleary-eyed, nothing—
had captured this wild land! Waterfalls cascaded velvet hills, yet garbage carpeted the countryside with tin, paper, and plastic. A naked child squatted to pee near a dismembered dog. Bent-backed peasants formed graceful shadows on rice fields robed in green and silver.

A sigh escaped Gloria. This was a strange land, a magnificent land, the homeland of their baby.

But it sure was a long way from Texas.

The van wheezed to a stop near a crumbling stone wall circling a weathered two-story building. Children streamed from a blistered wooden gate and clustered about Gloria’s van window. A bow-legged toddler pointed at her, as did others with rice-bowl haircuts. A gangly child—he or she? Five or six?—in a striped shirt and flowery pants shuffled to a shade tree.

“Is this it?” Gloria whispered to Sherri and Jim, missionary friends sitting in the seat behind them.

“Yes. We’re here.”

Gloria leaned against Andrew’s shoulder. A picnic on Baylor University’s quad, where her engagement ring was presented and eagerly accepted after a cafeteria-cookie dessert, had birthed this China odyssey. Unlike other college marrieds, they had wanted children right away—and had “family-planned” during study breaks in that tiny first apartment.
“Why wait?”
Andrew had whispered.
“A baby’ll liven up this place.”

Over ten years I’ve waited. And still no baby.
Gloria thanked God for Andrew, who had always seemed to know what she wanted, like that first time, when he’d approached her at a BSU mixer and asked her to volunteer with him at Waco’s Buckner Children’s Home. Andrew glimpsed the Gloria hidden behind the façade she’d erected to keep out men who lied and cheated. Men like . . . her daddy. In one evening, Andrew had coaxed trivia from her—favorite color, pink; favorite food, enchiladas; and secret things too.

Soulmate Andrew . . .
Even he doesn’t fathom my hunger for a child
. Why, she’d diapered countless Chatty Cathy dolls, waiting for this. Wiped runny noses and dirty bottoms in church nurseries, waiting for this. Were these orphans waiting too? Would the older ones slump away, reluctant to face the heartbreak of not being chosen . . . again?

Like those children, Gloria had borne disappointment with every surgical-gloved examination, every lovemaking session that revolved around a half-degree rise in her body temperature. For a decade she’d waited for phone calls, for paper work . . . for God.

Damming her emotions, she pressed her face against the dusty window. Her heart seized at the sight of a living doll with a lopsided ponytail sprouting off the side of her head. Gloria let the China sun, the Chinese children, ward off her insecurity.
God, with your help, I’ll be the best mother in Texas!

“Is one of them ours?” escaped her lips.

Syllables rat-a-tatted in the front seat. There the civil affairs official, the driver, and their guide were having it out. While their baby waited . . .

“Maybe,” Sherri finally whispered.

Gloria bit her lip. If she didn’t shush, she’d light a fuse in this powder keg called international adoption, brand-new to China. Things couldn’t explode before they got their baby.

Andrew found her hand and squeezed hope into it.

Good thing I married a pastor. His middle name is hope!

“Just hold on,” continued Sherri. “It won’t be long.”

Hurry up and wait.
Her theme song, even in this final leg of their journey. They’d languished in Customs and Civil Affairs and train depot cane chairs. They’d flown thousands of miles, rail-traveled hundreds more, road-bumped most of this day away. Would an angel soon nestle in her arms, or would God once again snatch family and future from her?

Arm waves, hisses, and snarls continued from the front seat. Gloria couldn’t understand a word, and her confusion intensified her fears.

She propped her elbow against the van door as regret washed over her. The Bertolets had coached her to remain silent, patient. Had she offended those who, with a nod, could vaporize their hopes for a baby? “I shouldn’t have asked that,” she whispered to Andrew.

Though Andrew pressed two fingers over her lips, his eyes crinkled like they did when his church kids made a human horse out of him. “It’ll be all right.” His voice salved her frayed nerves. “At least we’re here.”

Preachers—especially hers—knew the right things to say. Gloria focused her gaze outside to the children being led into the orphanage by women, looking official in the Party dress of white blouses and navy pants.

Suddenly the still-squawking officials leapt from the van and shoved open the back door. The Bertolets climbed out, stretching and blinking. Tucked under Jim’s arm was the folder holding two years of correspondence. Permits.
That folder holds our future

“Stay in here.” Traffic-cop style, Jim raised his hand. Then the Bertolets joined the officials in a succession of bows and a spattering of strange syllables, though Gloria barely heard for the whooshing in her ears.

Andrew found her hand. “God, we pray that you will guide us, protect . . .”

Blood continued to roar through Gloria and muted Andrew’s words. She burrowed into him like she might be swept not just from the van, but off the very continent of Asia if they didn’t get their baby soon.

Footfalls signaled a development. Gloria’s chin lifted. Progress?

Jim stepped to the van and crouched so she could see his face. “It shouldn’t be long. We’ll get things rolling.”

“Thanks.” Andrew’s voice became husky.

“Remember.” Jim waved that folder. “No pictures.” Then Jim rejoined the entourage entrusted with their baby’s life.

Gloria craned her neck, taking in every nuance of the place her baby had lived and, Lord willing, the place her baby would
. Later, she’d transcribe it into a journal: their train travel, in berths stacked like pancakes, two hundred passengers in one car! Old men drinking grainy-smelling beer. Women sipping perfumed tea. Students dragging on cigarettes. The smell of soy sauce and rancid oil emanating from cloth seats. Chopsticks that clicked, game tiles that clinked; throats that cleared, mouths that spit. People that laughed and snorted and snored and stood and sat and lay. She’d soaked up every experience, knowing her baby came from China. Her baby

She and Andrew would preserve for their baby a history book. She and Andrew would not deny their baby glimpses of its homeland. Its

Her mind whirred to capture the orphanage walls plastered with exotic red Chinese characters. Wood trim had peeled and masonry had fissured. The grassless yard boasted no playground equipment, but the property was free from the excrement and kitten-sized rats they’d seen along China’s byways. Gloria clenched her hands. Dared she hope that these caretakers had kept her baby clean? Healthy?

The officials stood in the courtyard, their arms waving, their lips flapping. Jim kept shaking his head. Gloria observed every move while her baby dangled unseen, like catfish bait, between the Americans and the Chinese. She swallowed, fidgeted about in her seat, and resisted the urge to claw her neck, leap from the van, and hightail it into the building, screaming for her daughter.

The world stopped rotating on its axis.
. She replayed that word.
. They’d have a daughter. Fallout from the one-child policy and the patriarchal bent of the country had tilted the odds toward adoption of a girl, but the Holy Spirit had just doused any doubt. And Gloria believed she’d know that baby girl the minute their eyes met.

Seat springs creaked. Andrew cocked his head toward the crowd. “What’s happening?”
Talk about role reversal!
He’s worried; I’m . . . calm!
“What’re they saying?”

BOOK: Reclaiming Lily
3.18Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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