I’m sitting alone in the living room of an apartment somewhere in Eastern Europe.
How I got here I don’t know. Well, of course I know HOW I got here—I took plane ride after plane ride, tried to sleep, tried to eat, repeat. But I really don’t know how I got here. It’s been a long ride, this journey of adoption. And I know I write that as if I’m on the other side of it, as if it’s over already which it’s not. But in many ways, my journey has been as much about ending as it is beginning. My heart aches this morning for a sweet little orphan boy in a remote region of Russia. If I close my eyes I can still see Davis’ smile and feel his arms around me as he hugged my neck so, so tightly. I can feel my hands rub over his freshly shaved hair and see his sweet eyes twinkle while we sang and laughed and I snapped photos of him. He is alive in me. And so it is quite ironic and heartbreaking that I am in another country waiting anxiously to receive a referral for a different child that I hope to make my son. I am as eager as I am fearful. My heart is again open and laid bare, and again, able to be crushed. But FAITH.
Faith is a very strong and undeniable thing. The day before I got on all of those planes, I laid in bed with my only daughter and we talked about faith. How can you go even when you are afraid? Faith. How can you still love when you’re heart has been broken? Faith. How can you still risk when all seems lost? Faith. How can you continue on when it would be so much easier to stay put? Faith--faith the size of a mustard seed at times. But that’s all it takes. You don’t have to be sure or certain but you must have a teensy tiny amount of faith. Faith is what propels us forward and gives us courage. Faith is that glimmer of hope when everything else says, “Impossible!” Faith will revive you, grab you by the hand and get you on that plane.
I sit here on this sofa surrounded by unfamiliar sounds and smells, my stomach rumbling and my head racing, already longing for my own bed and my children back at home. Yet I know that this right here, right now, is the stuff of life. My discomfort and rumbling stomach are merely signs of my physical sacrifice. Adoption is a process of sacrifice. I am sacrificing my comfy life, my comfy normal, my comfy bank account for the good of another human being. And it’s nothing. Truly, when I think about what Christ did for me, for all of us, what I’m doing is nothing. But it’s something, right?! I have to believe that this fight I’m living is for something. Even the fight I lived for Davis is for something. Because God is with me here in this apartment, fighting along side with us. God is with Jude in his orphanage, preparing his heart to meet us. God is with Davis, sustaining him, with my children who miss us, my parents who are working so hard to take care of them for us, with you even as you read this. He is working in each of us.
I truly believe that there is so much Good Work being done all the time that we couldn’t possibly begin to understand the enormity of it all. Our lives are intertwined and overlapping and our stories each contain threads that are woven into this great, beautiful tapestry that we can’t humanly comprehend. Those things we claim to be ironic, coincidental, those times we say "what a small world!"...all part of the tapestry.
I just woke John up and explained the dos and don’t of taking a shower in the bathroom here. He’s yawning and unimpressed. Doesn’t he realize that I’ve spent the morning wrestling my anxieties and writing all these deep thoughts? Nope. He isn't interested. But he does say to me, “I hope Cindy’s alarm went off on time.” Cindy is a woman we met yesterday that was boarding a train at 6:00 this morning to go rescue two orphans. She is a woman with a story as long, as twisting, as full of disappointments and heartache as anyone, but her grit and her resolve impressed us both. She has an enviable relationship with God. And I imagine that He knew exactly what He was doing when our plane showed up two hours late and we shared a driver from the airport into the city. It was no accident that she shared her story of losing a little girl from Russia during the ban and how she came to the crossroads of adoption yet again. It most certainly wasn’t a mistake that we went to dinner together and walked her back to her apartment. Three strangers in a strange new city, yet last night, the world felt smaller, together. Cindy is a part of our story now. She was a gift to us, a gift of reassurance and hope and friendship. I pray that the Lord will bless her tomorrow as she heads to court for the parental rights of two special needs orphans who desperately need her. Lord, be with all of them.
Our DAP appointment is in an hour. We expect it to be short, just a few minutes, as we receive our referral for Jude, the very first step here towards making him our son. We expect our driver soon so I’m off to find clean socks and unpack my boots. The day awaits.