Two Lasting Bequests

Thoughts on adoption and other things dear to my heart.


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What is REAL?

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Before tonight, I hadn’t read The Velveteen Rabbit in forever. Like decades. Maybe you haven’t either, so can I just share this bit of wisdom that was such a gift to me tonight?

From The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams:

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

So good, this idea of becoming. So thankful for a Lover who is relentless and faithful through it all.


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just.

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Lately when people ask How are things with the adoption, my reply is something like We’re just waiting. And we are. But there is so much hiding in that just. Waiting is not nothing. Waiting is uncertainty…that rumors and threats surrounding our children’s birth country and international adoption will prove true. Waiting is heartache…for a woman who – for some injustice, be it sickness or poverty or something else – will not watch the children to whom she gave birth grow and learn and laugh. Waiting is sacrifice…of my immediate longing to have and to hold and to mother because I believe there is a greater purpose here. Waiting is mysterious…how I can love someone I’ve never seen or met, someone who may not even exist yet except in the heart of God. Waiting is an invitation…to trust a God who know what it’s like to wait for the ones He loves. It is exhausting sometimes, all this just waiting.

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So that is how I’m doing emotionally. Numerically, we are now #39 on our agency’s waiting list. We entered the list at #67 last July, so we are definitely getting closer to referral. As I eluded to, for a few months now, there have been rumors and delays and changes to the whole process. So if you are so inclined, please pray. Pray that families stay together if at all possible, and support organizations and individuals that work to do just that. Pray for integrity and discernment for all those involved at all stages of the adoption process. Pray that children in hard situations around the globe would somehow know deep in their core that they are loved by Love.


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Worth it

I was very encouraged last month to learn that we had moved up a whopping ten (!) spots on the waiting list. The month of November, however…Nada. In this crazy world in which we live, I am always a bit nervous that any day, something (or someone) might happen, putting an end to international adoptions alltogeher. So the wait is necessary, but hard in the midst of so much uncertainty, even instability. There are no guarantees that our dream of welcoming two more children into our family through adoption will be fulfilled. Such is life – there are few guarantees.

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And so we remain #47 on the waiting list, up 20 spots since we were added to the list in July.

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Four years ago this week, we met our son for the first time, and we are celebrating that this week, his 4th famiversary. Coming home at eight months old, he will not remember a time when I was not his mom. But I do. Just as I have this past year, I filled out forms and mailed documents and read adoption blogs, but mostly I just thought of him. And us. Together. I remember Christmas 2008 was the hardest season of waiting. I remember crying at seemingly-inappropriate times while listening to Christmas hymns. Maybe because Christmas seems like the time of year that families should be together. More likely, though, because the Christmas season itself is a time of waiting – for a child even – and of great expectation.

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Then there he was. And there we were. And by Christmas 2009 we were a family of four. And this Christmas 2013 we remain a family of four, but we are waiting on two more. Adoption, like life, may have few guarantees, but one thing I’m sure of is that these kids, like my son, are totally worth the wait.

Another thing I’m sure of is God’s love. For me. For the whole world. To Him, we are worth it. If it weren’t for this Love, there would be no Christmas, no great expectation, no hope. But because of this Love, there is.


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Two months waiting

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I have no idea who these gentlemen are, except that they represent the MIT class of ’59. Found them as I was searching for an image of the number 59, and don’t they look fun?

It has been two months, so yes, an update is long overdue. I’m not sure what I want to write today, however. There were very few referrals this past month, so since August we have moved only from #61 to #59 on the waiting list. Adoption is unpredictable, but we are anticipating an approximate wait time of 15 months for referral. Two months down…

So I’m feeling “okay”. We knew when we started this second adoption process that things have changed, including wait times. Anyways, we have not yet bought a minivan, so we are not yet prepared to become a family of six.

But I sure do think about these kiddos a lot. Especially as my big kids are becoming more independent and doing things like dressing themselves and going to school and other big kid things. (Okay, so 6 and 4 are not exactly big, but they’re bigger than they’ve ever been before.) And while it is nice to be past the stages of baby gates and bottles, I sure do miss things like onesies and the sweet breath of a baby sleeping on my chest.

Quite possibly a long wait ahead of us, so I’m afraid it’s a little too early for this baby fever. I suppose it might come and go in waves over this next year. It helps that I have two lovable and not­-always­-so-­independent distractions in my life already. And one of them just so happens to have been adopted. And he is my reminder each and every day that Love finds a way. And Love redeems.


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We’ve been waitlisted

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We are now officially waiting for the referrals of a precious boy and girl. We will receive monthly updates from our agency, but for now, we are #67 on the list and are anticipating a 12-15 month wait time until referral.

I’ve been thinking a lot about waiting lately, but, like most of my thoughts, they’re usually interrupted by the needs of some small person. Or interrupted by sleep. So here is what I’m thinking about today:

This process of adoption, this period of preparation and now waiting, has been completely different than when we went through this process four years ago. (How has it been four years already?!) There is less excitement, less anticipation, because I know that with every referral there is a heartbreak. With every family brought together through adoption, there is a birth family ripped apart by sickness, death, poverty, indifference–injustice and heartbreak of some kind.

I spent a few years of my nursing career in the CCU, caring for patients with various cardiac issues, including those whose only hope was a heart transplant. I came to know (and love) two patients in particular,and D, during their long stays in the unit, and I was deeply touched by the grace and humility with which they waited. How terribly sobering to realize that, to live, another’s life must end. (I am also convinced these two men understand God’s sacrifice and Jesus’ work on the cross in a way that most of us will never be able to.)

There are obvious differences between the two situations–waiting for a heart transplant and waiting for a referral–but I know, in a similar way, the waiting is hard. I’m praying for the grace to navigate this process I’m in and the emotions that come with it.

 


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Done with a capitol “D”

After four months, our dossier is complete! Before mailing it off, we made a quick trip to Frankfort for the state seal, which my sweet L referred to as a gold medal. (I don’t know about a medal, but it is quite the accomplishment, as any adoptive parent will tell you.) So here I am at the Capitol building, excited to be wrapping up this stage of the process, and excited to not have to carry this file folder around with me anymore.

ImageIt was a perfect summer day, and despite riding around in the car all morning, the kids were in particularly pleasant moods. Maybe it had something to do with the suckers they received at the bank and the county clerk and the secretary of state office, but I’ll take it.

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Perfect.

A month or so ago, my five-year-old had a few bucks burning a hole in her pocket, and bought herself a jewelry-making kit. And with Mothers’ Day and my birthday back-to-back this past week, I pretty much knew what her gift to me would be. On one occasion I was banned from the toy room, and I heard her exclaim–but in a whisper–“Perfect!”

And it was.Image

So it is not exactly symmetrical. It doesn’t go with much in my wardrobe. I’m pretty certain that plastic beaded necklaces are not the hottest fashion trend. But it is perfect. Because she says so.

And I love it. I love it because I love her, and because she loves me. I love it because it reminds me to not take myself so seriously, and that others do not think about me nearly as much as I think about me or as much as I think they think about me.

And it reminds me of the Creator God who calls us His Beloved, although we all, at times, get off balance, unravel and fall apart, feel and act ugly. Because of Jesus, a Holy God can look at me–at all of us–admiringly and whisper with delight, “Perfect.”

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