"You must be so patient."
"Wow! You're amazing!"
"Your family is really extraordinary."
These are some of the reactions I have gotten from people now that we're home.
I struggle with how to respond to these. The truth is, we are none of those things. We are not unusually patient. We are not amazing. We are not extraordinary.
We are human.
I deflect: "Oh, I don't know about that."
I get cheesy religious: "It's only by God's grace."
I make jokes: "Not really. Our lives are pure chaos." Big grin.
While there is some truth to all of the above (especially the God's grace part), none of those seem like an adequate or wholly authentic response.
When I've tried to explain in depth, I invariably sound more pious or more incompetent, depending on the moment, than I actually am. I am pretty sure those folks on the receiving end either want to nominate me for sainthood or place a call to CPS.
I realize that many people need us to be amazing, inhumanly patient, or extraordinary. They need us to be in another category of humanity. They need us to be different from them.
Because if we are, it lets them off the hook.
They can just admire us from afar without actually having to consider that they could do this, too.
It's really not that complicated. God placed a need smack dab in the middle of our vision and asked us to fill a tiny part of it. Grumbling, panicking, worrying, stressing the whole way, we complied.
And He has been with us every step of the way.
The truth is, I do it, too...put people in a special category. There are families that are doing things that seem amazing to me and I find myself in awe of them.
The Unroes adopted five children with Down syndrome from Bulgaria last year...at the same time. That brings the total number of children at home to eighteen. And, they are raising funds to bring home three more orphans with special needs.
Or how about my friend, Susanna? She and her husband were busy raising their brood of ten, when God clearly directed them to add in Katie, a severely neglected orphan with Down syndrome from a terrible orphanage in Bulgaria. Katie weighed just 10 pounds at NINE-YEARS-OLD.
She is thriving in her new family and, because of Susanna's advocacy, huge changes have been made in that orphanage resulting in a change of staff, better medical and dental care, increased nutrition, etc.
Susanna is now thirty-three weeks pregnant with a little boy AND waiting to travel to the same orphanage to bring home another son with significant special needs who has been severely neglected.
Except, neither of those families would agree. They would tell you that there is nothing extraordinary about loving your children, no matter what their needs or where they came from.
They would tell you that, while it has not been easy, it is completely worth it.
They would tell you that God has met them at every turn and upholds them even on the most exhausting of days.
They are not super heroes. They are simply willing humans dependent on a super God.
Parenting our large brood and adopting another hasn't made us amazing. In fact, it's made us weaker. It showcases our weakness and causes us to live more closely to the end of ourselves. I can tell you with all honesty that having a 2, 3, 4, and 5 year-old, three of whom are in diapers, is kicking my butt. It feels very much like chaos most days.
It is making us more dependent on Him. It is making us realize how limited we are. It is making us call on His name more frequently.
It is not making us amazing. We are still just willing.
(I would be so blessed if you would click on the links and visit the blogs of the families I referenced. Read their stories and rejoice that God is working through them. THEN, contribute any amount to help them get their children home! Every little bit helps. I know that to be true! :)