Saturday, May 26, 2012

It's not easy...

My house is quiet and I am alone. My husband has taken the children camping and I will join them tomorrow. In the meantime, I have time for quiet reflection. It's so wonderful, I can hardly stand it!

So we're adopting a child with special needs. What that looks like from this end alternates between feeling incredibly blessed to partner with God in the ransoming of a child and feeling like we're the biggest dopes on the planet to take on something so huge with so little earthly gain. Which side I land on is directly proportionate to how much time I've spent with God.

I admit to being a bit jealous when my co-worker waxed on about finally deciding on a 14-day trip to Hawaii (7 days on ship, and 7-days on land, in case you were wondering) for her 20th wedding anniversary. I sat there thinking, "Our 20th is next year. We'll have 2 small children with special needs and 6 others with regular needs. Maybe we'll get to go out to dinner." Another friend is excited about building her dream home on a wooded lot. I start to turn slightly green. When joking with another colleague, mother of one, about leaving one place of mayhem (work) for another (home), I'm brought up short when she remarks, "Actually, home is usually pretty calm." Really? What must that be like?

Wow. I'm not proud of my reactions. I'm not proud that I continue to weigh such things as we move forward. I'm not proud that I question our choices, and the ones that we've already made, so easily.

The truth is, I would gladly choose Hawaii over an Eastern European country for our travel plans. I would love to move to a big house with a wooded lot, over staying here and stacking children. I think it would be heavenly to come home to a quiet house that stays clean every day.

It's times like these, that I am so thankful that I can confess my awful thoughts to God. I'm thankful that He gently reminds me that His ways are good, that His timing is perfect, and that there is a reward beyond Hawaii trips and big houses. He shows me that the here and now is just a blip in light of eternity.

My confession turns to praise and gratitude and I'm reminded of all the wonderful in the here and now. Would I notice the moments of quiet, if I were surrounded by it all the time? Would I be so giddy that my house is, indeed, clean right now if it were effortless to make it that way? Would I enjoy my home empty if I were powerless to fill it with children?

I think not. See, for all my grousing, I am incredibly blessed to have this life that's filled with children. I am excited to meet the one, born to another, but mine none the less, in the coming months! I am grateful that I have a husband who adores his wife and delights in his children. And I am thankful for the quiet moments, especially in their rarity.

Following Christ is a gift beyond compare. It's not easy, but one thing I know to be true is that easier is seldom better.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Normal, just like you

"Here," he said, handing me a folded piece of paper. "It's so you won't forget me."

I opened the paper. In a childish scrawl with yellow marker it read, "C-a-l-e-b."

We had been graciously invited to the home of a fellow homeschooling family we know to talk about adoption. Please understand, we are never invited anywhere. There are simply too many of us and we are overwhelming in a group, so this was a big deal. :)

But Julia is excited about international adoption as they've experienced that miracle, twice, and was willing to share their story and let me pick her brain.

They have a beautiful home and dinner was excellent. They confirmed our choice of agencies for our home study having had a good experience with them both times. And they gave us good advice, as well as a listening ear. Our kids had a ball playing with theirs.

But, what struck me most as the evening progressed, was how normal their family is. I watched as the siblings played and bickered and how they, as parents, interacted with all their children. I watched with fascination, having a new interest and perspective on the dynamic.

If it weren't for the skin tone of the younger two, no one would ever suspect that they had been adopted into this family, so complete was the seal.

I'm not sure what I was expecting. I think I've so immersed myself in adoption horror stories, in an attempt to prepare myself for the worst possible outcome, that I'd forgotten that adoption can, and usually does, work.

This average family, with strengths and weakness, perfections and flaws, just like you and me, recognized a universal need for family and responded to it.

They said yes.

Without knowing fully what to expect, they took a leap, collected and filed copious amounts of paperwork, saved and raised thousands of dollars, travelled across the world, and rescued a little boy who had been abandoned because of a cleft lip.

And because they found him to be a delight and a blessing to their lives, they did it again.

They found another child, a little girl with a minor medical issue, who needed someone, and they chose to be that someone....for her.

Guess what? She is a delight and a blessing, too.

Was it easy? No. Was it expensive and costly? Absolutely. Did their lives change? Most definitely. Would they do it again?

In a heartbeat!!!

From an outsider looking in, their lives looked joyful and stressful, peaceful and loud, orderly and chaotic. You know....normal.

They are not super heroes. They are not amazing people. They are ordinary people who did what most of us consider to be an extraordinary thing...but what they consider an ordinary thing.

Two children needed a home and a family, and my friends gave them one.

And because they did, their lives are richer, fuller, slightly crazier, but still normal.

What about you and your normal life? Have you considered adoption? Have you wondered what it would be like to add a child that's already been born to your family? I'll bet of the estimated 147 million orphans, more than a few have wondered what it would be like to belong to a normal family like yours. Will you pray about it?

Instead of praying, "Lord, should we?" Why not ask, "Lord, why shouldn't we?"

And don't worry, Caleb. I won't forget you. If not for your parents, I would never know you, but now I do and I will never forget the blessing that you are.