Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

Honoring the Sorrow

The first time I heard someone use the phrase "The rightness and wrongness of adoption," I didn't get it. I thought I did - I thought I understood the depth and meaning of that phrase - but looking back now, I know that I didn't fully understand.

I thought that right and wrong were opposites, that they were separate from one another, and that the "right" covered and erased all the "wrong."

But now - after seeing the face of my sweet son, after hearing his story and learning about his mother - NOW I get it.

The day we got our referral, we excitedly made our way to the homes of each of our family members to share the good news and proudly show off our ador.a.ble little guy. Later that night, my sister-in-law asked my 10-year-old nephew what he thought of his new cousin. And my intuitive, thoughtful, sweet, sweet nephew started crying.

Why are you crying, Caden?

Because that baby will never know his mommy.

As my sister-in-law recounted this story to me, I was reminded that in our joy, there is deep, deep sorrow.

We are over-the-moon excited about enfolding this little boy into our family, but it is only because of brokenness, injustice, pain, and poverty that we have this privilege. We are gaining a child, but only because another woman is losing him. In our rejoicing we cannot forget her grief.

It's a tricky thing to talk about this grief because I feel the joy just as intensely. I am both happy and sad. I feel joy and pain at the same time. It's not one emotion or another - and the emotions are not opposites. The sorrow and the excitement are complimentary and intertwined and cannot - must not - be separated.

Every time I dream about his future as my child, I mourn the future that he doesn't have as her child. Each time I get excited about connecting him to my family's traditions I feel the pain of severing his connections with his Ethiopian heritage. Similarly, I truly believe that one day this little boy will love me just.as.much as he misses his birth mother.

And when that time comes, I want him to know that I understand. That I love her too and that it's okay to grieve over the poverty and brokenness that brought him to us.

There have been many times during the past 20 months that I have wondered, "If I stop pursuing adoption right now, will God allow the child he has chosen for me to stay with his mother?" I've considered it. I really have. I'll stop right now if this child can stay with his mom.

But I know it doesn't work that way. Each time I've questioned, I've known that God wants me to press on. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I know that God has a sovereign plan and that all of this - the loss, the pain, the grief, the joy, the excitement, and the rejoicing - is a part of it.

The rightness and wrongness of adoption. The both/and of this miraculous adoption process. I understand now that the joy does not erase the sorrow but that one emotion only intensifies the other. The beauty of enfolding a child into a family does not undo the fact that another family had to give him up. The "rightness" of pursing an orphaned child does not make right the "wrongness" that caused him to be orphaned in the first place.

We love this little guy, and we are humbly grateful that God is placing him in our lives, and us in his. And we will laugh with him and cry with him and continue to long for the day when God heals all of the world's brokenness once and for all.

And I'm so, so thankful for my nephew. I hope he never forgets the sorrow that he felt. One day, I pray that he can share those thoughts with my son and that my little guy will know that his cousin "gets it" too.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Be still my heart

For 19.5 months we been riding the adoption roller coaster. We get high, high, high, and then plummet to the depths with our hearts in our throats. The whole ride is thrilling and terrifying and we can't wait to get off.

It seems like each day, we hear the dreadful clink-clink-clink of the old rusty chain pulling us toward the next adventure, the whole time trying our best to predict whether it will be a happy high with great views of the landscape, or a frightening drop causing us to close our eyes and hang on tight.

I'm not trying to be dramatic.

Last week was a down week.
Lots of uncertainty. Lots of getting tired of waiting. Lots of analyzing the "what ifs" of adoption.

But then today. Oh. This. Day. This day is an "up" day.

Today, we learned that we will meet our boy on March 7th and that on March 9th we will stand before an Ethiopian judge and say, "Yes! Yes! We want to adopt this baby!"

Now, if you see me in public, I'll be cool as a cucumber on the outside. But inside? Well, inside I'm hyperventilating. I simply cannot catch my mental breath today. And the very sight of the airline itinerary in my inbox makes me want to toss my cookies.

This day just kept getting better.

Plane tickets are $2,000 LESS than we estimated.

AND, we got a new picture of our sweet boy - (get this) - playing the air guitar. No joke. If you could see it you would totally agree that he is rocking out.

So we move forward - enthusiastically with caution - and enter the "travel-planning" phase. Oh my, it feels so good.

Two Hundred Seventy Six

Two Hundred Seventy Five

Two Hundred Seventy Four