I have inherited Your testimonies forever,
For they are the joy of my heart.
I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes
Forever, even to the end.
Psalm 119: 111, 112

Friday, August 9, 2013

A New Knowledge of Kinship

Never in my wildest imagination did I ever "think" this is what my life would look like today. We all say that, right; but, really. Who ever lives day-to-day in your homeland, the country of origin that God has chosen for you, in the time He has chosen for you - and realizes years before it happens that your own life will be so intertwined and connected with another family on the other side of the world? I mean, I guess one can have those college-kid aspirations of going abroad; working on a fishing vessel off the coast of Scandinavia, or being a tutor for a family in France. Maybe even "growing up" and knowing there is a mission waiting for you in an impoverished and God-hungry third world country. I don't mean to nullify or devalue these dreams and real callings and visions in any way. However, this adoption thing. Well, it just gets bigger and wilder every day, and I'm certainly not one of the few (because there are some) who grew up just knowing I would adopt one day. I had no idea this was coming!

We received the long-awaited email this past Monday. The one that I would wake up at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning for. Pretty much every day...night? Whatever. Picking up my phone and scrolling through my mailbox just praying that the email from across the Atlantic, and another continent - and 10 hours ago would be there. This mama wanted to see those words so badly! "Your adoption case has been submitted to the US Embassy in Ethiopia". Sweet, sweet words. What joy it was to see that! But, the ride isn't over yet. Only our oldest, Simon's, name was on the case title. As it turns out, our baby, Elijah, is still not submitted. The Embassy is still waiting on "medical" results before he can be submitted. What kind of results? I don't know. When will they be ready to submit his papers? I don't know. Will they process both of our sons at the same time, or wait until Eli's papers are complete and process them together? I don't know. When do we get scheduled for our visa interview? I don't know. When do we get to pick up our sons and bring them home? I DON'T KNOW! I don't know! Do you have any idea how that feels? I have children on the other side of the world and I can't put a band aid on their ow-ees. I can't cut a pb&j sandwich in quarters for them and make sure they have milk to go with their lunch. I can't watch them play catch with their daddy from the kitchen window. I can't wipe their tears, read them a story, kiss them goodnight... I can't even stop the attachment and love from growing each day so that the hurt of not having them here can go away, or at least ease off. There is no such thing. They are simply my kids and I'm supposed to be with them. Yet, as I continue to learn to release the heartache to God and trust in His perfect timing, He continues to help me see His plans and reasons for this amazing journey and family He has for us.

Here is what God brought me to today. Intense love and sorrow for a family in Ethiopia who I now understand are part of my family. My boys have been in an orphanage since December of 2011. Probably on or just days after Simon's birthday. Why? Because they, along with their father and sister, had to watch their mother be sick and die from a virus that she wasn't able to be treated for. They buried her in a protestant cemetery, and then my sons' father, knowing he was ill with the same virus, decided the best thing for his sons was to leave them in an orphanage; not even two months after his wife died; probably in his arms. The grief that brings me to is more than I can explain. Do I "know" these people? As of today, I feel that I do. God has brought them into my life. Into our family's life, and He truly has given me such a love for them, that not only do I grieve for my sons, who in their less than a dozen years of life put together have experienced more hurt and loss than most people would experience in their whole lives. But, I love their biological father. I love their biological mother and pray I see her in the sweet by and by. I love their extended family, all of whom have admitted to not having the means or ability to raise my little boys in a healthy and nurturing life. My heart hurts for each of them. Huge hurt.

I am seriously yearning for the opportunity to meet my sons' bio dad when we go back to Ethiopia to bring the boys home. Our desire is to meet as many of their kin as possible. We want to love on them, pray for them, share a meal with them, assure them that they made the best decision and that we love the boys and will take care of them always. That we are all kin now. That our hearts are overflowing with joy and awe at how God has written this story.

We still wait and rest in the Lord. Today was a day of new mercies, new beginnings, and another set of blinders completely removed and replaced with the heart of God. How much does He love us? What does that look like? It looks like this - my sons' first father walked into that orphanage and surrendered them there because he knew his days were numbered and he couldn't provide for them anymore. Even more, real love is this: my Savior, Jesus, stumbling down the Via de la Rosa on His way to the cross where He willingly opened His arms and surrendered His life for us, so that His Father in Heaven would be pleased and so His name would be exalted. See, here it is... "you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15