Waiting and Grieving

Last year we were anxiously waiting for July 11th because we were supposed to find out if S, a waiting child we applied for, could be adopted by us (if our agency got her file). We felt hopeful and near the end of the adoption process, so I never would have guessed that a year later we would still be waiting and we would be no closer to bringing our daughter home than we were then. It is a discouraging thought.

The grief I have felt during this process– for the girls who we tried to adopt who were matched before us, for the girls I have wanted to adopt who had health needs beyond what we can realistically handle being overseas, over knowing our daughter is family-less and not being able to DO anything to make this move faster. It’s heart-wrenching and often churning only inside me. It’s not visible as I keep taking my kids to swim lessons and digging the Legos out of the couch cushions and cutting the crusts off PB&J sandwiches. Grief is funny like that.

I still pray over the faces I’ve seen. I pray for A and B and T and H and S and P and C, who we pursued adopting to some degree or another. I still grieve for their losses of biological parents and siblings and beseech Almighty God to place them in loving forever families. I still think about them and wonder where they are (most of them are home or on their way!) I am still changed by encountering their stories and their realities. I am forever changed by orphan girls who I will never meet or hold.

People don’t understand. Someone wrote to me recently that Jesus doesn’t want us to adopt as shown by our lack of a match and we are disobeying Him to continue in the process. That made me super mad! Who the heck do you think you are? And why would God give you special insight into our life and our calling as a family? And how did you come by information about His sovereign will? We live in a world that glorifies instant gratification. We have even spiritualized that “fast food culture” and tell each other if something’s not happening, it’s not God’s will. It must be a “closed door”, so He can open a window. What a bunch of cheesy Christian-ese baloney.

Of course I have questioned this calling (is calling synonymous with burden?!) and wondered if we heard wrong? How easy it would be to just ignore those promptings we first felt in 2011? And the knowledge of the global orphan crisis? And the mandates from God’s Word about the fatherless?… But it’s all true and I know what He asked us to do and I can’t call a cease and desist. I just can’t.

I serve a God who calls His people to hard things. He doesn’t value their happiness, He values their holiness. And do you know when we are made holy? When we can’t put down His Word because we want to know what He says… When we’re on our knees begging Him for more of Himself… When we don’t feel like we can handle it on our own… When we’re in the middle of HARD THINGS.

So last July 11 came and passed. This July 11 is passing as well, with no news, no match, no end in sight. But I continue to believe that God is in control and His plans for my family will not be thwarted. We will endure the hard work of waiting by His grace, and in His timing our wait will (finally) be over.

Summa

We haven’t officially hit that day of Summer Solstice, but can we all agree, it’s summer?

School is out, the temps have soared and I remember, yet again, that I just don’t like summer. You can keep your Pinterest-pinned summer bucket lists, and your pool memberships, and your tanned legs. I’ll even give up my iced coffee. I just want some moderate fall or spring weather. Please.

We live in the land of no central a/c which means that you get hot and stay hot during June, July and August. Body odor reigns supreme on stifling buses and metros as you go about your daily business (I try to keep my business inside during the daylight hours for this reason!). You just have to go ahead and remind yourself that you’re gonna sweat. And sweat. And sweat. It’s two (sometimes three) shower a day kinda weather.

I had this romantic notion that if we could find an accessible outdoor pool to spend some time enjoying, summer would feel better. I grew up in a club pool each summer– days spent chasing and swimming and snacking and falling into bed exhausted each night. I heard of one that was supposedly close by and we took off Tuesday to try and locate it. We should probably have gotten the hint when the GPS had no clue where we were trying to send it, but we pressed on. Off the highway, through some villages, over the bumpy faux roads, and past the groves of olive trees. And then we found it!

And the pool/water park is closed for renovations until further notice. Hmmmm. Why didn’t they renovate during the winter, you ask?

What a logical thought. (One I entertained myself even).

And then I remember that we live overseas. And it’s not always logical.

So, we inflated the balcony kiddie pool left over from last summer that has a gimpy side, and threw some popsicles at the kids, and called it a fun summer day.

What have you been up to this summer?

Feeling Shy

I think I dreamed about blogging last night. Well, that and drinking a ginormous sweet tea from McAllister’s Deli and eating an order of chips and salsa solo. I know, my dreams are pure glam y’all.

I write, it’s what I do. I scribble prayers and words to help me process, I string sentences to express my heart. I just have been doing that in journals and scrap papers and Word docs and haven’t made the time to do that here lately. And I kinda miss it.

The internet (Internet? Does it need a capital?) has certainly changed our lives. Blogging was such a comfort to me as a new mommy in 2008 when I started Momfessions and reached out into the depths of the Web to find comfort and camaraderie. Nowadays blogs have seemingly been replaced with the faster paced tempo of Facebook and Instagram and who knows what else (apparently not I.)

I don’t want to generate a six figure income here. I don’t really want to do reviews or link you to products or pretend I have it enough together to start a blog feature. I don’t even want to go to blogging conferences and pretend I know what’s going on. I just want to come back to my space, and I don’t know why I feel so shy about that.

I cleaned up some, but I am still working on clearing debris from the archives and tidying up the place, but by all means grab a latte or an entire bag of M&Ms and make yourself at home.

This is my blog. And I like to write here.

 

Dearest Lovebug

I wrote this post a year ago in April 2013. The words– and the heart behind them– are as true today as they were then. 

It is starting to drive us absolutely crazy that you aren’t here with us, baby girl! We had a few weeks recently of thinking we had found you, and our hearts quickly tumbled ahead of us with dreams and plans and excitement and joy and preparations… but alas, it wasn’t you. And so we came back to earth and we continue to wait.

Your brother (Stinkbug) and your sister (Ladybug) are tremendously anxious to meet you. Stinkbug points out the empty chair at our table and says that it’s where you’ll sit when you get here. He asks when you’re coming. Your sister prayed such sweet words at bedtime tonight, pleading with Jesus to bring you home quickly because she “doesn’t know what it’s like to have a sister and already has you in her heart”.

(Your smallest brother, Doodlebug, is two and a half and calls you “baby sister”, but has many other things to worry about right now like how to smear as much red mud on his jeans as possible before I make him come inside, and how to avoid big boy underwear at all costs. He’s kind of a handful. You’ll love him, I promise.)

I also find myself wondering about you. Each morning I wake up wondering if this will be the day your picture pops up on my screen and my heart shouts YES! THAT’S HER! ???? As full and messy and joyful as my life is now with three kids, I feel your absence constantly.

I wanted you to be with us last week when we went on vacation and were swimming indoors and stayed in a hotel all smooshed into two beds (It soundsmore picturesque than it was, thank goodness it was only two nights!) And we ate donuts for dinner one night (I know, baby girl! We are crazy sometimes, you’d better get used to it!) and I wondered– would you have picked the jelly-filled donut like your sister? Would you like chocolate milk or white milk to wash that donut down? Or maybe you don’t like milk at all?

When we hunted for Easter eggs a couple weeks ago, I wanted to see you chasing after your brothers and laughing with glee when you spotted a colorful treasure hidden in the grass. I wanted to see you in an Easter dress, spinning and twirling like all princesses should. I wanted to have a picture of us all dressed up and ready for church. I wanted you with us.

At dinner each night I wish I was setting another plate. Another cup. Another fork. Instead one chair stands empty.

I don’t know where you are now, and that’s almost too much for my heart to bear. I need you here beside me. In my arms. In your sister’s room. In our bathtub. At our table. In your Daddy’s lap during family worship each evening.

We love you, Ladybug. We pray for you every day– that God would protect you and provide all your needs and that He would bring you home quickly.

Because your family is waiting.

Watercolors

Sometimes I wish life were a little neater– that the colors would all stay neatly inside the lines on this grand backdrop. But the life-giving water splashes the page almost continuously and the colors swirl before my eyes, achingly beautiful.Painted in Waterlogue

So hard have I fought against the soaked brush swooping down onto the page to spread the rainbow. I long for the order of the lines and the way they contain each color– purples in the flowers, greens of the earth, yellows from the sun… No mixing. No mess. No heartache.Painted in Waterlogue

The wet falls. The colors swirl immediately as the water breathes life into them. They dance across the water, intertwining. I cringe, anticipating the mess. Struggling against the inevitable. The purple seeps into the yellow and I fear that all is ruined.Painted in Waterlogue

The blue and green tug-o-war against each other– a competing horizon. I hold my breath. This can never be corrected.Painted in Waterlogue

The painter knows the beauty that comes from the mixing. He knows the colors are most beautiful when he masterfully moves them around in the dance of the sacred messy. He knows it looks like all is lost– all is beyond repair– for the briefest of moments. But he isn’t concerned. Painted in Waterlogue

He pauses.

In the pause I wonder. Does he really know what he’s doing?

He flourishes the water to the page once more and when the last bristle leaves the canvas my heart stops. The majesty! The perfection! The lines are blurred. The evidence of grappling between the colors remains, now blossoming into brilliant shades of grace in every corner.

And the masterpiece?

Worth everything.

 

 

 

(Paintings from Waterlogue app for iPhone/iPod.)

Today at the Park

The boys fell asleep during rest time today for the first time in weeks, and I rushed them awake at 4:30 knowing we were running out of sunlight and they needed to stretch their legs at the park.

I was slightly annoyed already. Husband is gone for the week, so I’m playing the single parent gig. And PMSing.

Doodlebug got out of bed at the mention of the park, pottied, and got shoes on like it was no big deal. (This is totally a big deal as parenting him lately has been total torture difficult.)

Stinkbug whined, complained, cried, and protested. He didn’t want the shirt I picked. He didn’t want to change out of his shorts. He didn’t want socks. He wanted his new shoes. He didn’t have to go potty right then. FOR. THE. LOVE.

I kept it together (for the most part), and warned him he was going to miss out on playtime. Then I ticked off the minutes he would sit out each time he complained or argued. Six minutes of time-out promised. More crying and complaining.

Finally. Out the door. To the park. I started a timer for Stink’s timeout and at first he watched the seconds tick down. Then he settled back on the bench. By the time the buzzer sounded, he crawled in my lap and announced he didn’t want to play. I tried to convince him to run, slide, chase, swing but he stuck to his guns. No playing today. Whatever, dude.

A few moments later an older lady was walking through the park and staring at Stinkbug. Like a little awkwardly. I worried that I knew her, but I could not for the life of me remember where I would know her from. When she was standing directly in front of me (still staring straight at Stink) she said, “I can’t stop looking at him. He looks just like my son did. My son had blond hair like this. He looked just like this.” She reached out and stroked Stinkbug’s hair and I swear she was somewhere else behind her clear eyes.

“He’s thirty eight now.” She shook her head as if to shake herself from the dream she was re-living. “The time passes so fast.” She said it more to herself than to me and gave Stinkbug one last pat before heading off into the fading daylight.

I felt my eyes filling with tears as I imagined my son as a thirty eight year old man with his own life, his own problems, his own family. I squeezed Stinkbug a little closer and breathed in little boy scent radiating off his sweet blond head.

The days can be hard (especially when my husband is out of town!), but I don’t ever want to wish this away. I don’t want to hold regrets in my heart when I see children playing on the playground near my house thirty years from now. I want to smile at the beautiful memories, laugh with fondness over the messiness of this find-your-shoes, i-need-to-go-potty, we-forgot-the-book-bag, can-i-have-a-snack season of life.

I’m thankful for a little perspective today. These kids? A gift without comparison. These days? Messy, but precious beyond description. These few years? Fleeting. Flying. Never waiting. Never slowing.