"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.