When Can We Do It Again?
I’ve been holding it together for just about 4 months now. All that comes with raising two toddlers has taken precedence over absorbing what’s happened in our home. It’s had to. Survival-mode, as I’ve called it.
Overnight we’ve gone from long sits in the sauna, long soaks in the bath, long runs, long evenings to just sit and chat, long times sitting before the Lord … to military showers, early alarms, quick jaunts to dinner after the kids are asleep and the babysitter arrives, and bursts of prayer throughout our day.
The transition has required all of my mental, emotional and physical energy. While my legs haven’t hit more than 5 miles on the road, my calves are often sore from running up and down the stairs all day.
We have a new kind of normal.
In 5 days it will have been 4 months since we first wrapped our arms around Eden and Caleb and, but for the distinct differences in our family appearance, you’d never know it.
Now that I am sinking into a schedule and carving out the necessary time to process the loss of my Dad and the birth-into-our-home of these children, the gravity of God’s work is weighing heavy on my chest.
At night she continues to ask for one-more-big cuddle and he wakes up from his nap, only to be pacified by wrapping his legs around my waist and his arms around my neck. They’re wired for affection from mommy. Who could have given this to them? Did they learn this longing from being in our home … or were they waiting, hungry for cuddles and kisses, before we got them?
Then my mind goes to other places … Eden was severely malnourished when she arrived at the orphanage. Could she have made it much longer? Caleb was admitted to the hospital for a 3-week stay just after he arrived at the orphanage. Would he have survived in the great, big “out there” in this condition? Oh, God, what if they weren’t taken to the orphanage?
And then I think about us.
What if we had conceived a biological child just before beginning this adoption process? What if we had chosen the route of fertility treatments — instead of adoption (a tough decision that took months to wade through)? What if we had zipped through the process, as planned, and had received a referral for different children?
I’m living at the intersection of the divine and the ordinary. I’m cleaning up spills, doing countless loads of laundry and kissing ouchies … of children who–six months ago–had a bleak existence.
The secular world wants to look at me and Nate and say “wow, you did GOOD. what a marvelous thing you’ve done for these children.” And they do. I hear it almost weekly. And I cringe.
I have yet to come up with a brief response that illustrates the gravity of God’s work. We did NOTHING, but cry out to God out of our own (possibly selfish?) longing for a family, and for more of Him, and for His Spirit’s leading in our lives. And He cracked open His divinity and gave us a taste. And just this little sip is about enough to knock me over. Every day. When she says “mommy, stay here?” more times than I can count or he gives an unsolicited sloppy kiss followed by “I love you Mommy” I sometimes can’t breathe.
God, you let us play a part in saving them. You would have done it anyways — in one way or another. But you married our prayers–frayed around the edges–with their need.
Many have said adoption is addicting. And now I know why. I tell Nate that, at the moment, I am a dangerous woman. Because any hint I’ve had of a child in need, an orphan, tends to linger in my mind.
Where did this come from? When I was a kid, I never dreamed about being a mommy. And when I started to conceptualize married life, I would envision a family that was spaced-out in such a way that would interrupt my life and my dreams the least. Motherhood and me just didn’t seem to fit together. It seemed more of a necessary evil than something I’d actually enjoy.
Now, here I am, asking God, like a little child, when can we do it again?
This post feels like 20 others I’ve written, but I just can’t get over it. This is my testimony. The depth of the riches in God. The power of His Spirit to weave our lives with theirs. The intricate details that only He could maneuver. The beauty of aligning ourselves with Him. The sweetness of His redemption. The vigor of following Him. The reckless abandon it calls forth from me.