|He was worth the wait!|
Whenever I start telling people about what I get to do I am almost always asked, “Do you have children of your own?” or most often, “How many of your own kids do you have?”. I think it is obvious that I love my babies and it is inconceivable to most people that I don’t have any of my “own”. It is a strange calling; to love babies that are sure to leave you with true and ardent love despite the impending, inevitable goodbye. I have never been pregnant but there are parts of this experience that mirror what being pregnant must feel like. As Aunties we daydream about who will come next: a boy? A girl? Twins? How old will they be when they arrive? Will they be healthy or easy; sick or loud? We hope and dream and wait. As I have shared previously, long before I met Jack I dreamed of loving him, or someone like him. For some God ordained reason, I always wanted to have a baby with Down Syndrome and when I scooped Jack up for the very first time my heart almost burst. It is a divine joy to be able to hold and name and kiss the hope differed that has finally arrived. There is always joy and wonder when we receive any new baby; beautiful, redemptive hope wrapped up in a little stranger but holding Jack was different because I had been pregnant with the hope of him for years.
I think the first time I cried at the thought of saying goodbye to Jack within the first 24 hours of meeting him. I’ve cried that way over a handful of littles and their inevitable goodbyes before. A hazard of the job, I guess, but my heart has figured out that the grief of goodbye is best doled out over time rather than sitting unexpressed until the actual day of departure. My current screensaver is a quote by Brian Andreas that says, “She said she usually cried at least once each day not because she was sad, but because the world was so beautiful & life was so short.” I feel like that is something I would say. Somehow the beautiful disaster of this calling has turned me into weeper. Those of you who know me well know how much I used to, and sometimes still do, hate to cry in front of other people. Even those closest to me. Mostly because my voice gets two octaves too high and I can’t clearly communicate why I am crying and often when I cry once I can’t stop crying over everything for the rest of the day. I am also sure my prideful spirit and desire to seem put together must have something to do with it as well. I wanted to keep Jack for my very own more than any of the precious babies I’ve loved on before. Partly because I waited for him, partly because of the trauma we experienced when he first arrived but mainly because he is just so special! Everyone who meets him loves him. After I shared his arrival story I had many people from all over the world inquire about how he was doing and if they could be the family to take him home. All the Aunties mooned over him and I think were secretly glad when I was out of the house for any extended time so they could have him all to themselves. I wrestled with my desires knowing that there really was no easy way for Jack to stay with me. People who loved me and could see how much I loved him asked if I would try and keep him, despite the obstacles and impossibilities in the way. For months, I pushed away the thoughts and comments until one day I put them before the Lord and in His mercy, He made the answer incredibly clear. Fighting to keep Jack would be selfish and thinking that I could love him best was incorrect and worse, incredibly prideful. Not all the Father’s words to our hearts feel good but they are all true. I am beyond thankful He spoke clearly to me that day; He knows my wayward heart and exactly what I needed to hear and rehear even today.
One thing I love about adoption is that in its very nature we see God’s redemptive story and how He chose us to be His children. He gave us the right to be called sons and daughters and through Christ we now have access to the Father and all the benefits of being His children. Adoption also depicts the pain of the Gospel; a Son surrendered, a Father who turned away the good of all humanity, sacrifice that in the end brought victory and eternal joy. As our children journey towards their Forever Families there is pain, sacrifice and surrender that marks the way. The mystery of pain that Jack’s birth mother must feel when she allows herself to think of him. The sacrifice of the Aunties who loved and cared for him for his first year and miss him even now. The surrender of a baby you love knowing that you are not the best or only thing he needs to become the man he was made to be. I eternally thankful that the Father and the Son loved us enough to see the joy that lay beyond the cross. I pray that with their help I will willingly embrace not only the joy of adoption but the pain as well; knowing that beauty lives in both.