We’ve had a rough couple of weeks. Nothing major in the big scheme of things, but just lots of little things that are adding up and wearing us out. It was nice tonight, just hanging out with my favorite guy in the garage while he changed the oil.
None of it is adoption-related. We’re in a bit of a lull with that right now, but have been collecting some documents and writing some letters. We did prayerfully decide to bump up our age range to 18 months. It’s hard to think about a child our daughter’s age being plunked into a whole new world with new people, a new language, etc. She’s so attached to us, so aware of the world around her, and has so much language already. But it was weighing on my heart, so I asked my husband to pray about it. He did for a few days and said we should go for it. I’m probably the one who would be more inclined to desire an infant, anyway, and do feel sad about the likelihood of us never having a little baby again.
Then I was reading Kristin Swick Wong’s book, Carried Safely Home, which was one of the required books for our home study, and she mentioned that when they adopted their second son, she really wanted an infant, and they got referred to a baby who was about to celebrate his first birthday. They wanted to do something to observe his birthday, even though they didn’t have him home yet, so they were planning a little party, but she was having a hard time getting in the mood to celebrate. She said some things on pages 111-113 that brought me such peace about the decision:
“It strikes me that this boy not being home for his first birthday is only one small part of a broader tragedy. He was conceived and born in such a place that his birth mother felt the need to leave him. He will probably never know her, his father, or his whole story. We will participate in mending what is broken, but will not be able to restore those painful beginnings or fill in the missing pieces of his life. Our losing the first year is only one manifestation of a little life begun with loss. I am sad for this baby.
Still, driving home in the balloon-filled car, it strikes me that we are following in the footsteps of Jesus. My instinct is to move away from pain. But Jesus does not turn from our tragedies; he joins us in them, entering willingly into our messy lives. To walk with us, he left perfection and was born into the world, naked and cold. He spent years living and walking and talking with people shattered by grief and shame. He did not remove himself from earthly afflictions but chose to feel thirst, exhaustion, homelessness. He welcomed those who came to him for comfort and help, even when others thought he should send them away. He cried at the death of his friend. His heart went out to a widow whose only son had died. He decided to love and spend his life with a group of men he knew would betray, deny, and abandon him…
What if I gave up my goals for a picture-perfect family with cooing baby in arms? What if I believed that I do not need to erase all the hurts? What if I entered this child’s life, with Jesus, looked for how to apply his ointment to the wounds, then watched for him to create beauty from the ashes? How freeing this could be.
We are following in the footsteps of the Man of Sorrows. I feel released from the anxiety about this child’s beginnings, and I am willing to lose his infancy. I am sad for him but am more willing to live with that sadness, heartened to think that by choosing to enter this child’s broken life we are choosing to follow Jesus. Home with balloons, I am able to celebrate the first birthday of a dear little boy. My dear little boy.”