Naomi’s Blanket

I chose yellow to match her dark hair and eyes. For every expected grandchild, I had knitted a special blanket, woven with yarn, love and prayers. This time would be somewhat different: different in expectation, different in design. Instead of the usual nine months, it would be over two years before we had the opportunity and joy to welcome her into our family. However, she was loved long before “Gotcha Day.” Abandoned as a newborn, she had miraculously survived and was placed in an orphanage for two years. The orphanage personnel named her Zhau Dong Ping, which meant “Autumn Duckweed.” Their reasoning was because she born in autumn, and their hopes of her being as audacious as duckweed due to her poor health upon finding her. But God! God already had a plan for her to be “birthed” again in the heart of a mother of four at the time. After experiencing a dream of a little Chinese girl lying facedown in the mud, a seed was planted, and the long adoption process began.

Naomi's Blanket

God’s attitude toward orphans is very straight-forwarded and clear. He wants them cared for! In His own definition of “pure” religion, God describes in James 1:27 what real and undefiled religion really is. “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”(NIV) God cares very deeply for them. In Exodus 22:22-23, He declared dire and extreme consequences if an orphan or widow were mistreated. He admonishes us in Psalms 82:3 to “Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.”(KJV) Caring for these innocents, children left abandoned to die or survive on their own, is what God sees as PURE and FAULTLESS religion. While actual adoptions might not be feasible for some, cannot everyone do something to care for them? Through financial giving and prayers for them, we can put into practice that “true” religion that God so loves. What an honor to be so involved in the life of those whom the Lord commands such care!

Our granddaughter’s name was changed to Naomi Zhen-Zhu, meaning “Pleasant Pearl.” Her knitted blanket by Nana was, indeed, different in design. The rows of knitted “waves” represented from across the sea from whence she came. The border of hearts illustrated the love and countless prayers that were prayed for her. The focal point in the center depicted two trees growing side-by-side. They symbolized two different cultures with separate roots, transplanted closely together with branches intertwined into one beautiful tree –family.

As her small hands cuddled the softness of the yellow blanket for the first time, my eyes filled with tears of thanksgiving, just as they had with each arrival of our nine grandchildren.

I believe God was smiling.

—Judy Griffis