Friday, January 31, 2014

laboring

 There is something so bizarre and otherwise impossible to duplicate about adoption, I think. The process is so incredibly emotionally demanding, mentally challenging, physically difficult and yet spiritually is the richest and most life-giving thing I know that I, personally have ever walked through. There is an immediacy in the desperation for a supernatural intervention and such an expectancy in the heart for God to show up and DO something, such a knowledge that you are wholly dependant on God to step in and be Whom you have trusted Him to be, just waiting for Him to actually Be That Right this exact Moment. At home, I know that I can go a heartbreakingly long time without absolutely needing God to show up unmistakably clearly, times I get halfway through my day and think: "Oh, yeah - Jesus, hey there, yeah." Honestly here, folks. There is something about birthing a child which makes you marvel at the miracle of birth and in the same way there is something about adoption which makes you marvel at how long it takes to mirror that childbearing and you wonder at how God knits people together without blood and bones. It just takes much, much longer. There is something powerful about needing God to step in and create and I want you to hear me affirm that He still does create. He really does. I am waiting to see it myself, in my daughter, but as for me? God is creating in me and in Andrew today and it's this pain which will lead straight through, passing "GO!" and collecting $200 straight to something which He will call "good'. I am coming face-to-face with the 2 greatest fears at my core, those of being an agent of damage and also of losing my people, and it's rocking me to my core. For a person whose story is built out of rubble which includes abuse at the hands of babysitters as a child, being an agent of pain or damage and also of the risk of losing something or someone dearest to me, this risky business of adoption, of letting your heart get flayed while your hands hang free at your side, it brings me to the brink where a whisper could knock my knees out from beneath me.

 I just want you to know it: God is creating and we are still standing. I've never been so grateful for Andrew. Ever, y'all. He, true to form, some days has words which he can write into a journal instead of speaking but he has offered to me: "wanna read my feelings?" I find this sort of hysterically funny for some reason (me, with all the words, good grief, I am too much even for myself) and I laugh really loudly at him, because that's the sort of thing that's keeping us sane here, but it's about the sweetest thing I have ever been offered.

 Oh my stars, he's going to kick my tail for sharing that.

 You are all so good to write back to me. Some of you wrote that you are confident we must get oodles of emails and that you are sure we don't have time to pour over every single one. May I assure you that we do? We reach the top of this steep, crumbly hill almost panting for breath 3 times daily back at the guesthouse and all 6 adoptive parents (there is another couple here, now, as well) we reach for water bottles, a glass-bottled Haitian Coke or coffee with canned milk and cane sugar along with our phones and laptops and we gather at the wooden table with an uneven top to sit and nourish our hearts with emails from home. Sometimes one of us will read some words out loud, all of us sort of marinating in truth and freeing ourselves from things like doubt and guilt that swirl through our heads from that first moment of pushing away from our kids earlier. Your emails are each so exactly what I need to be reading. Please, please, do not stop. I would love to have time to write back to everyone of you, to tell you that I love you in a way you only possibly can if someone has ministered to you in the time of your greatest and most dire need. None of you needs to prove anything to me, or win me in any way - please just keep it coming, okay? Some of you have sent song lyrics which echo at the back of my thoughts in hard moments when I find myself just standing, feeling sort of lost, watching her play in the sandbox with her back intentionally curved away from me, her head down, her hand instinctively pulled up over her ear to shield herself from me further. Some of you have sent verses and pages of devotionals which send tears streaming down my face and shoot more much-needed steel into my heart like a round of CPR when the baby doll we brought for her is cradled into her arms and she is being a little mommy, pretending to feed the baby doll a bottle all while in the protective nest of her nanny's lap and I sit across the room on a blue-painted picnic table because that's as close as I can get before she will freeze, all the while feeling a sob in my throat for how badly I want her to be in my lap, resting her head against my collar, my hands absently and finally distracted because she is so content. Some of you are adopting little ones yourself and your grace to me, in letting me paint you a picture of our time here, has been so generous that I feel like I am part of a team sport, passed the ball for this one minute but surrounded by a team of people who I know is running serious interference. Some of you have reminded me that this is labor, that I can be aware I have competed another contraction and that we are one step closer, always that one. step. closer. I think of all the encouragement, all the people devoted to praying, all the love sent to us and I realize this is part of the gift of adoption and it is for me, y'all. You are my gift so many times a day. It's like, the nicest thing anyone's ever done for me, and the most vulnerable since I haven't got it in me to write more words a day than these in thie group email. Just know that from my heart, I could never thank you enough.


 Last night, we ate at a restaurant which was so much like a treehouse or EPCOT. There were 40-feet tall narrow trees wrapped in green vines with lanterns hanging and we dined seated on patio furniture like something straight out of the sweetest home furnishings catalog you've ever seen, while live jazz played all beneath a tin and thatched roof overhead. Unreal. All of this was behind a tall, unmarked gate, of course, hidden from bone-crushing poverty just around the bend and down the road. The juxtaposition of these things side-by-side defines a place like Haiti, I think, and it's so hard to wrap my head around. It was a precious reprieve and being super delicious didn't hurt, either. I sort of hoped I would lose a couple pounds here without trying. Dang it. 

 Today we march on. Head up, chest out, eyes soft, smile in place. Laboring continues. 

love, love, love,

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