Miracle!?

Our new little one is getting used to being rocked to sleep.  He (along with most children who are cared for in an institution or group home) was put in his crib with toys and he would play himself to sleep.  His group home was awesome, but now he has a mom and a dad.

He laid his head on my chest.  It is his new favorite spot – listening to my heart beat.  But tonight as he snuggled in close, he raised a hand up to rub my face.  As he rubbed back and forth, he said four words over and over and over again.

“This is my mom.  This is my mom.  This is my mom…”

Lord Jesus have mercy.

Unimaginable.

A two year old claiming me as his own, thankful for my arms, and reminding himself that he no longer is alone.

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Of all the waiting children who are hoping for a family – God led us to him.  A baby who desperately was ready for a family.  Miraculous really.  But, I wonder where is the miracle for all of the other babies (and not so little babies) who wait for a mother of their own?

I know the children who wait.  You can’t possibly get paint on your elbows alongside the beautiful children who live in an orphanage and not fall in love.  They have asked me – “Do you have friends who want another little boy?  Why would I not get chosen?  Would you take me home?”  Some of the kids go as far as to call me “White Momma.”  I can’t tell you how often I walk away from that place crying out for a miracle for the sweet ones I leave behind in the classrooms.  They were created in the image of God – to love and be loved – yet they live in one of the deepest forms of poverty.

“We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.”  Mother Teresa

Some of our friends and family have joked with us about our expanding family.  Five is pressing the “acceptable” limits just a bit.  My own supportive Mom recently asked when we would start the paperwork for #6. “Oh, honey,” she said “as long as you work at an orphanage, how could you ever be done?”

I am not the only one.  I have read story after story of adoptive parents who come to adopt their child and are forever haunted by the orphans left behind.  An amazing, raw post just written by a friend of mine could have been my own words of wonder and lament.  Where are the miracles for the ones left behind?

Over the past week one of my favorite things to hear come out of our new son’s mouth is “Bao bao,” which means, “Hold me.”  I drop everything at that request.  He made a game of it today throwing his arms open wide and laughing every time I would make a dramatic run for him.  Sweet boy.

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His miracle came.  Our miracle came.  God provided every dollar we needed for this adoption.  The approvals were met.  Paperwork was completed and my sanity is still in place.  We have squeezed another soul into a small apartment, and now there is life to be lived.  I catch myself reliving this adoption story.  Marveling at the miracle.  Soaking in the perfectness of my new one.  My heart sighs and is filled with the joy of it.

And my heart cries out and breaks over the injustice of it.

Why do so many still wait, and yet this baby is being held?

Lord have mercy.

 

 

 

Encounter with a birthmother

A simple encounter at the bus stop that rocked my soul.

I was waiting with three of our kiddos.  Par for the course, they were playing and oblivious to all that was going around them.  Picture a lot of laughter, noise and a bit of running around my legs.  I was enjoying watching them play when I grew self-conscious that we were being watched.

Nothing new about that.

When out and about we are constantly watched.  We hear comments like, “Four kids?  Really?” and “Are they all yours?” and “They don’t all look like you.  Two look like you and two look Chinese.”  Usually I take it in a stride. I understand that for a population where one child is not just the norm but the policy, we are bound to draw out comments and stares.

But I had never heard this one.

A middle-aged couple was standing off to my left and I heard the woman comment to the man, “She could be our child.”

A wave of shock rolled over me and before I could think twice, I was starring into the woman’s eyes.   I am positive she assumed I couldn’t speak Mandarin and wouldn’t understand the comment she made.  To be honest, I wish I hadn’t understood her, looked up or reacted.  When our eyes met – both mothers who understand grief and pain that should not exist in the world – the understanding in our eyes was full and real.  She stepped around behind the bus stop and hid herself from me.  I asked the children to stop playing so as not to make her pain more intense.

There is no possible way this woman was connected to our Little Monkey.  Her birth place is hundreds of miles away.  We were simply a symbol to this woman.  Grief over what could have been?  Wonder over what is?  Hope that her child is in a family playing with siblings?  A memory that had been hidden and now was pulled forward?

The encounter brought forward some emotions that I can forget in the daily routine and joy of life.  My joy is someone else’s loss.  Just because there are so many unanswered questions surrounding the early years of our adopted children doesn’t make them not exist.  There are real people living lives with the memories of children who belonged in their arms.

Weekly, I see the reality of lonely hurting children who live their lives in an institution, and I want to question the people who chose not to care for them.  Daily I am blessed by the love of two children who did not grow in my womb and sometimes I lose sight of the painful reality that the people who could not care for the ones I love now may still be out there wondering about them — wondering what their lives are like.

But it goes even deeper.

In relation to the majority of the world, I am a rich privileged woman.  I have access to resources, health care, community support, and I have a voice.  It stinks that the majority of women…mothers…in the world don’t have all of that…which at times result in some painful realities.  It is injustice.  When my children are playing around my legs and filling my life with laughter, I want to rage against a world where poverty is real and an injustice.

The woman at the bus stop – she brought my privilege up close and personal.

Those of us who are rich and privileged (dare I say that would be everyone reading this blog) we can do one of two things.  Do something with our resources and ease the suffering of the orphans of the world and speak out against the injustice that creates orphans to begin with….or we can pretend.

Pretend.

I have looked into the eyes of orphans living in an institution.  I have looked into the eyes of a suffering mother who can not parent her child.

I no longer can pretend.