Six months today since we walked into the mint green room and waited. Six months since we spotted the workers coming through the door with two scared littles, one by hand and one in arms. I can't describe it, how it felt. It's like giving birth and finally seeing that sweet baby face, but different, because you have fought tooth and nail for this one. And have traveled across the world and filled out thousands of papers and paid tens of thousands of dollars and you have wondered all this time if it would actually lead to this. You've been pinching yourself since landing in this very foreign land, sure that something is going to happen to make it all fall apart. And then, there she is and it's you that's falling apart. Because she's orphan no longer, the minute they place her teeny, weak body in your arms and something in you dies, but it's good because it needed to. It's a bit of your selfishness and your innocence. This is what I learned six months ago today:
~You can't unknow what you know. We took off from Hong Kong and I wept silent tears watching out the window as a country that once terrified me became smaller and smaller. Wept knowing we were leaving millions behind who, like her, need food and love and forever.
~It's hard. They'll tell you that, but they'll sugar coat it in the same way women at a baby shower tell you you'll probably be tired some. The don't divulge that you'll be so exhausted you'll think you might die of it. Adoption is like that. There are days still I'm sure I'll die of it. But I'll happily go down with that ship for the sake of one less.
~It's good. They'll tell you that too, but they'll get it wrong. How can they describe what it's like, possibly? Just like how you can never find the right words to tell a new mom how great it'll be. Just can never find those words.
~It's the work we are called to. Not just me, all of us. Don't you doubt it. It's laid out in black and white, clear as a bell. This has hit me upside the head lately, since all our children have asked for a Chinese brother for Christmas and my China mamas are chewing on going back for one more. Just one more. And one asked, how do we know if it's right? and another said, it's adoption. If it's not a clear no, then it's a yes. If it's not a clear no then it's a yes. Kapow. See what I mean?
~It's a step forward and two steps backward. Maggie is walking all over the place. Awesome. But if a friend comes over who is a mommy, she'll choose her over me every time. Not awesome. She said "help" tonight. Awesome. But it took me 45 minutes to feed her enough to feel ok about it. Not awesome. One forward, two back. It's a strange dance and one that leaves my muscles aching most days, but she's just about the sweetest little partner, so I'll stay on that dance floor till I drop.
~It has wrecked us. All of us. The kids would rather fly to China and snatch up another sibling for Christmas than open a pile of packages under the tree. Except Lu, who, according to her pictorial list is really longing for a cheeseburger and a bag of balloons. And if it was between the new American Girl carriage with bells and working lights, it'd be a toughy for sure. But at the core of it, they have been wrecked and are longing to hear stories of children set down into forever families. It's part of their vernacular now. They play orphanage on their home days, wonder aloud if any of our friends will decide to adopt, set lofty goals for how many times they're going to adopt when they're grown up. This. Is. Beautiful. I would do this whole thing over just for the side benefit of growing kids whose hearts have been broken for the orphan.
~I get it now. This whole salvation thing. Get it with a clarity that has brought me to my knees more times than I can count in the last year. Maggie and I share a birth story. You do too. Redemption stories always start in the ugly. It just makes sense. Hers did and so did mine. The poverty, the dirt, the yuck, the whole thing. It's how it starts until a Father who longs to call us home enters in and invites us into his family and suddenly the ugly is made beautiful. And when Father says that he desires to set the orphans in families I think he just might be talking about you and me too. Redemption is his most precious work and it ought to be ours too. The redemption of orphans through adoption and fostering, the redemption of lost neighbors and family and coworkers. All of this life is meant to be working toward redemption and if we're not working too, then we are just standing in the way.
Adoption, dude, it's a killer. Yours and mine and hers. Literally a killer. There is a Jesus with nail scared hands that prove your worth, that pay tribute to your adoption. And if you haven't signed on yet, then you are still an orphan, despite an incredible Father who longs to make you his. Please, join this family. We are waiting for you.
This is me being real. Thankful for redemption in my own life, thankful for it in yours, blessed to my toes to be a part of Maggies. And pretty sure she would rather have had a family who came from a more temperate climate, but we will have to do.