Stories of Love, Experience, & Adoption
As I was lying on our family room couch, contemplating what the illness could be that my husband and I were suffering from (having just returned home from Africa) a quote my friend recently shared kept resurfacing in my mind.
“My friends, adoption is redemption. It’s costly, exhausting, expensive, and outrageous. Buying back lives costs so much. When God set out to redeem us, it killed him.” (Derek Loux).
It was strange how these words were now a comfort to me; my Father in heaven knew all too well the suffering that plagued us and I was quite certain this day (although I was less confident the night before!) that we were going to live past this temporary affliction. However, it also brought back to my weary mind another time, during our stay in Africa, when the words of that quote troubled me.
The Long Road Ahead
Sleep was not easy to come by during our 8-day trip halfway around the world, so it is only by the Grace of God we were able to function as human beings. That, compiled by the weight of our mission, the reality of the living conditions that surrounded us, and undeniable truth that there are more things wrong in this world than all our efforts combined could ever make right, led to me crying myself to sleep every… single… night. One particular night, after having been asleep for some time, I awoke with a start (this too was a common occurrence). And for no traceable reason, the first thing that entered my mind was that quote…and if I may be honest, I despised it. I knew that it was true, but why did it have to be so? I concede that no doubt I was taking on burdens that didn’t belong to me and ignoring my Comforter the Holy Spirit, but I had to feel the despair and I continued in my meaningless examination of things I couldn’t change.
My frustration turned toward the adoption process: Why do we have to make two trips? Why can’t we just take our boys home now? How…oh how was I ever going to be able to leave this place without them? It was all too awful. I wept bitterly. My throat ached trying to be silent, not wanting to involve my sleeping husband because truly, deep down I knew the pointlessness of my fit and I did not want to be consoled. I delved deeper into my self-pity replaying in my mind a scene from only hours earlier:
Amsaye was standing against the white iron railing in the courtyard of the orphanage and I was knelt down in front of him thoroughly enjoying our play in the blazing sunshine. The horn of our driver beeped from outside the tall black solid gates that met the courtyard signaling it was time for Dane and I to go. The smile fell from Amsaye’s face and our playing ceased. I leaned in close, pointing to myself and then to the gates, I said in Amharic “Mama, bye” and “Mama, tomorrow”. Amsaye shook his head in understanding and then suddenly his face lit up. He patted my chest and said “Mama” , patted himself and then mimed an airplane taking off into the sky with his wide smile spread from ear to ear. The nurse who had been nearby chimed in and confirmed what the choking in my throat and the stinging in my eyes already knew: he was asking to come home with us. I lost it. I held him. I whispered “I will come back soon and bring you home.”
Making Two Trips
As I lay there reminiscing, those last words would not leave me. Then it all became clear. And peaceful. And quiet. Those were the words of my Savior. The shock of this realization stopped my thinking in its tracks. I realized for the first time that even Jesus himself was not exempt from making two trips! How interesting. That like Him, I came to a foreign land pursuing my children. Like Him, I finalized the adoption of my children. But even so, like Him, I had to return home without them. And like a wave of peace lapping upon my heart I saw that it was not in vain, for like Him, I still had preparations to make for their homecoming. I started to weep again, but this time it was with hope. Despair would not win out. Jesus reassured me again He knew exactly what I was feeling, but more than that I felt a glimpse of His heart and in that moment I knew what He felt for me.
Returning to American Soil
Before we returned to American soil, we left our boys notes and photos behind to remember us by, our promise to come back for them and with hopes it would comfort them when the wait seemed long; it meant something deeply to us to be able to do that for them. The boys clung to the things we had given them and then ran to their beds and stow them away… to keep them safe, like they were the finest treasure they had ever known. Now back on my couch, I continued to weep, as a child longing for my Father’s return to bring me home.
I had never realized it before, but how indescribably precious that when He had to return home without us, He left us His words, tangibly written and His Holy Spirit to remember Him by. I know it so we would not forget His promise to come back for us and to comfort us when the wait seems long. I want nothing more than to cling to that now and stow it away in my heart where it is safe…for it is the finest treasure I have ever been given here on earth.