Sunday, August 28, 2011

Shattered and Refined

One thing's for sure:
leave the house with children of more than 1 skin color
and
 invite interrogation.

Now, you may read that and think: 

"Oh, that's terrible."
or
"No... surely not."
or
"But, it's 2011, that doesn't happen."

Let me assure you, however: Yes. It does happen.
Try it with The Celebrity Baby and see for yourself.

Many Possibly all adoptive parents deal with this far, far more graciously than I do.
I have read lots of great blog posts about how to deal graciously.
 I certainly  try to be gracious  want to be gracious, really I do.

I want my answers to people's prying to
inspire!
educate!
illuminate!
challenge!
whatever!

...but mostly I find myself just really annoyed.

The staring is distracting.
The inappropriate questions are impossible.
The comments are stunning.
The intended compliments even, resonate like insults.

I am, after all, 150% attached to this daughter of mine.
She is my joy and my star and completely complete.

So it's staggeringly painful to watch strangers
 pick up the shattered pieces of her story
roll them around in their hands like shards of smashed pottery
wonder at the details
shake their heads slowly as they imagine her secret history
and without lifting their eyes to mine, keep their palm upturned awaiting another broken piece.


"Where's her mother?"they always ask.
"In heaven", I always answer.
"How'd she die?"
"Where's her father?"
"How long'd it take you to get her?"
"How'd you find her?"
"Did you have to actually go get her?"
"What made you want to foster?"
"Are you just caring for her?"
"So she's bought and paid for then?"


"It was a beautiful  but complicated thing, how God preserved her.", I normally respond
many different times, 
myriad ways,
stumbling as I try to protect her
shielding Her Story from voyeurism
while still being nice superficially patient.
I sense their dissatisfaction with this kind of dismissal 
and I feel squirmy.

I was told in pre-adoptive education courses to answer lots of ways, including
"Why do you ask?"
and I may be getting to that point here, soon.


Look, I know why they want to know.
We are totally different skin colors, the daughter on my hip and I.
We are a walking contrast.
I get it.
I know.
And I'd want to know the story, too.
Here's the Thing, though.
I want to talk about the Restored Beauty, not the Broken Pieces.
I want to highlight the 
Lovely, Unreproducible Masterpiece 
the Lord created using ALL the broken pieces, 
mine and hers both
to build this family.
I want to hear how amazed people are that she looks like me, somehow.
How connected we seem.
How content she looks.
How RIGHT it all is.
Not how incongruant.
I want them to see the Amazing Mosaic...not the splintered fragments.
I want them to know that The Potter (Isaiah 64:8)
melted
molded
united
and 
recreated
a clay jar (2 Corinthians 4:7) in the Refiner's Fire (Zechariah 13:9).

And He gets the credit.
And He surprised no one more than me.
And He isn't done, yet.
And He is the whole point, anyhow of raising any of these kids at all.
And plus, the boys get really tired of always being stopped in public, listening to questions from strangers about "how they like their new sister".
And I'm not awesome.
And she's not "lucky".
And her mother loved her intensely.
And I get the ridiculous gift of raising her, undeservedly.
And a hundred other things.


....and I am still looking for a way to say all of those things in the grocery store aisle with 3 boys, a 15-lb bag of dog food, an open box of cookies, $300 worth of food and a poopy diapered infant who wants out of the cart immediately if not sooner. 

*I should point out, before I lose all friends I've ever had,
 that I DON'T mind talking at LENGTH and ANYTIME I am possibly able to, 
with ANYONE who is either
A): sincerely interested in adoption 
or B): actually a part of our lives and loves our family.

The conversations I am referring to are mostly with people at Publix and Walmart
and mostly by the people who also give a low whistle and say accusatorially: 
"Welllllll, you've sure got YOUR hands full."

I am, 
clearly, 
still figuring out grace.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Summertime...and The Living Was Easy

I've been hushed.
No writing by me for 26 days.
Maybe a record.
Partially because there are things I have been keeping busy with which are better kept a little quiet ~

{my African attorney's visit to the States and our group's rowdy reunion with her}
{helping 2 dear friends, each chasing referrals for orphaned children they want to bring home}
{a little thing called SCHOOL which began a week ago}

~ and partically because I've been aware of the need to invest
deliberately in my own nest~

but in the midst, somehow
 summertime melted clean away.


It was a still, sweet summer.
Intentional. Contented. Unhurried. 


But summer 2011 is almost ended now.
It's 8:36PM right now and all blackness beyond those glass doors over there
where only a month ago I would have still seen orange and purple coloring the sky.

The school year is in swing.
Routine. Schedule. Demands.


Co-op, swimming, soccer, friends, birthdays, calandars and serious bedtimes...
the shift is welcome but a little jarring to someone who enjoys being
 (shall we say...)
a bit non-conformist.
And fashionably late, by nature.

I'm catching the wings of the last firefly of summer,
leaving these pictures of Summer 2011 here
 to capture the tone of our months after Rissa came home...
and the dreamy, relaxed days
of our first summer as a
family
of
6.