Since announcing that we are raising funds yet again to return to adopt (yet again) from Eastern Europe, I’ve heard through the grapevine a lot of reasons some have decided that we can’t handle doing it again. I’ve also heard it directly and I find myself mouth hanging open with no words coming out because if you haven’t been a part of the best chapter, I find it shocking that you are already trying to draft an ending to the next, especially when the ending is so bleak. Only in the world of orphans do people believe family is optional. No one suggests your biological children will be better off in an orphanage if you have a lot on your plate.
In fact, since Rosie came home we’ve found a village different than the one we expected. It’s been encouraging and sometimes confusing because the few close friends I’ve poured my aching heart out to are the ones who are our biggest supporters, and the ones I have not heard from seem to be the biggest detractors. I’ve been busy, and I am certain they have, too, but I would never presume to decide what they can handle when I have not witnessed them handling anything in a whole year. A lot can change in a year.
In a year we’ve watched a skeletal infant orphan transform into a spunky, bright eyed, chubby cheeked toddler. We’ve watched hair that broke off into your hand when you touched it, textured like a brillo pad, transform into a long, wavy mane, a crown on our princesses head. We’ve watched sunken, scared eyes start to see joy and love. We’ve watched a child that flinched when we moved our arms reach for us to hold her in them. We’ve watched an orphan accept us as her safe place and we’ve watched our other kids accept her without question and we’ve watched us all fall more in love with each other through this shared journey. We’ve watched the story of rescue play out in our home, but maybe Rosie is the rescuer. Maybe we are the ones rescued in the last year. Indeed, a lot can change in a year. While Rosie’s transformation has been incredible to witness, ours has been pretty intense, too. We’ve been transformed from people who care about appearances and comfort and logic to people who look at the table and see space where a forgotten child could sit. Ironically, it turns out knowing we’ve filled every gap and left everything we have on that table is way more comfortable to us than anything that makes good sense to the world. We’ve sacrificed comfort of earthly definition for a different kind of comfort that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
Our home is messier. Our scheduled tighter. And I drive a lot to Richmond. We had a health scare for her and a disrupted adoptive placement, too. We’ve still shown up for the school stuff and the heart stuff and the work stuff and the home school stuff and we looked around and said “let’s give this craziness to one more.” If you aren’t here to see it, you probably wouldn’t understand, but if you aren’t here to see it…. then you probably shouldn’t judge, either.
I am proud of us. I am proud of the sacrifices we’ve made, but most days it feels the opposite of sacrificial. Our hearts are so, so full. Our door is open, too. You’re welcome to come see for yourself: We are doing it. We can totally handle it because God is with us. We invite anyone else to be with us, too, but at the end of the day it’s Him that matters in the equation the most. If He says to “go and do” then we shall, in fact go… and do. Caring for orphans isn’t optional for when everything in your life is right. It just may be what makes your life right.
“And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them” 1 nephi 3:7
““Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” James 1:27