last night, we had a field trip to the home of a Three Angels staff member's home where we had dessert and so much belly laughter that I forgot for a while where I was, it felt so much like a dinner party with old friends. The other couple we are here with, in-country, themselves in our own identical situation in the process of adoption of their son, are from Louisiana and the storytelling we hear from Joe, the prospective adoptive dad are truly a gift straight from heaven above. They are both a really lovely couple, sincere and relatable with two blonde little girls at home in Lousiana, and their presence and knack for entertaining tales after 20 years in college student ministry of things like Cajuns, dysfunction and practical jokes gone awry has us in fits of uncontrollable laughter till midnight some nights. What kind of good God brings us to a foreign country with extremely stressful circumstances and sends this crazy funny guy to keep us rolling around ugly-laughing? A very good God indeed, who knows this has been the very best medicine, the very best reset button, the very kindest allotment of grace imaginable. It's very good, y'all.
Yesterday, we decided to shift in our seats a little, and the babies happily decided they liked us. I realize now, having heard what life was like in the few days preceding our arrival and seeing the layout with my own eyes, that our arrival may have been monumental for us - memorable, awaited, monumental, epic - but for the babies, we are another short-term ministry tour group, apparently another crew of white people stopping by for a couple days who like to get at the beautiful, sweet Haitian orphans while they do helpful projects for upkeep and philanthropy. The babies can't know our intentions are eternal, our hearts yearning to protect and ensure them, our eyes only for them for all their lives, not just a week or so. It makes so much sense, that white faces which appear at the nursery room door which are unfamiliar come and go with frequency, so don't get attached - they don't have time to know your backstory or a life's calling to make you a treasured part of their home. It makes sense. It does not make me bitter or angry that people visit; I know the orphanage staff does what they can to protect my baby girl and the babies and does not utilize them as tourism, I believe that and have seen it other places, so I know it's different here - but when people come and go easily, constantly from an institution even though it's the only safe home you've ever known? The confusion is completely, understandably valid.
So, yesterday when the babies decided they liked us, running up to squeeze their small heads between our knees while wrapping arms around our thighs, or digging around in my ponytailed hair or playing soccer and sitting on Andrew's lap while he crab-walked around the tile floors, it felt like Barbra Streisand belting out a Broadway-worthy tune and the Red Sea parting all at once. We won them over. We're in.
And then, there's My Child.
Her smile... y'all, it's like the ascent of an airplane through an overcast sky: clouds fall away like a dropped curtain and you realize the sun was always shining, just as brilliantly as always and here it is, after all. Paula's smile is like that. It's like Christmas morning, when handed to you in the most intoxicatingly inviting wrapping paper, the most perfect bow, the wrapping paper the color you imagine all gifts ought to be wrapped in, you find inside the gift you hadn't let yourself imagine you might actually be given. In the orphanage many times daily, she is like a fawn nestled in the forest, and you are so hopeful to approach you don't take time to wonder how long before she runs away, you just soak up every drop of her features, her sweetness with your eyes.
She played with us, high-fived us, blew silly kisses, pushed other babies away from us, while smiling a smile so bright it could rival Siesta Key's temperatures mid-day in August. When you see her one day, years from now, at home being silly and see that smile? You'll remember how I tried to share what a present it is and you'll say: "yep."
Please pray today, friends? We have a visit from a social worker. A very important, intimidating meeting where we will be observed. I do not know what she is looking for bonding-wise. I do not know her name. I do not speak her language. I do not know what she will ask the nannies. I do not know how long it will be. I do not know what she will think. I do not know if this may be her only visit to observe or not. She should arrive at 10. We shall see what the Lord will bring, friends.
I do not know any of this but I know she is ours like I know my eyes are green and what day my birthday is. I know God loves my daughter. I know He is King over all the Earth. And I am struggling to believe this observation visit of our "bonding" isn't threatening, but really, who am I kidding? It is. Nevertheless, God is calling us to get out of the boat. And walk to Christmas morning where my child is the gift.
We're getting out and we're going.
love, love, love