We have had some highs and lows this past week, and it has been hard to remain on an even keel. Even though I have never been pregnant, there are moments when I feel I have a "high risk" pregnancy with our long hoped for adoption. We had what was overall some good news, but not what we at first had hoped for. It had us quite excited for a couple of days, and then let down...but not altogether with hopes crashed.
I was struck by the contrast of this all, and I hope this comes across as matter-of-fact and not whiny, because I don't intend it to be that. I have a close friend who is pregnant, due within a couple of weeks. I am thrilled for them, and I have been so fortunate that God has kept me free from jealousy and anger over infertility...quite the opposite as I feel so blessed by it in a million ways as my life has been enriched and fulfilled by adopting, I have learned far more about myself than I ever would have otherwise. But going through this time in our lives, longing for a couple of children and feeling at the mercy of a system I don't even have total understanding of is a challenge. It can be compared at times to that aforementioned "high risk" pregnancy, where we are on the edge of our seat at all times, hoping all turns out ok but with the knowledge that this will not be an easy road to travel. I thought about it this week when speaking with another dear friend of mine, and I was telling her that the hardest part is that you are walking around with this heavy feeling in your chest, with conflicted feelings and hopes held tightly and yet no one knows it, no one is even aware. If I were indeed pregnant, and ended up in the hospital because of complications, sympathy would be heartfelt and widespread...or at least I'd like to think so :-)... but with adoption, the risk you are walking with is invisible, the doubts and concerns are not easily shared as they are not obvious.
So here we are, months and months of wondering, worry, and wistfulness...and still uncertain what the future may hold. I am "pregnant" and yet no one else really sees it as such...and I know there is a risk I could lose the pregnancy. But still, we hold out hope...we receive letters, photos, comments translated, and we know that a couple of little someone's hearts are yearning just as much, if not more, than ours. And that, my friends, makes it much, much harder.
It is also awkward because as I relay news as we receive it, as I send emails asking for prayers for doors to be opened...it feels as if I am begging others to care. I am not good at this kind of thing, it is very uncomfortable for me, and yet I guess I recognize the powerlessness of the moment and that the only thing (and yes, I recognize the one thing WITH power) remaining is prayer.
But I admit to having brief flashes when I wish there really was someone who understood what this is like. I wish that my everyday friends could better see my invisible growing tummy...and right now my fearful heart. I wish that like others who are pregnant, others would celebrate with us, worry with us. Here I have 3 children, perhaps 5 if our dreams come true, and I have never even had a real baby shower. When Matthew came home I didn't really know that many people well in our new hometown, and a friend invited a couple of people over but it wasn't at all "real" shower.
And then there are those in your life who really, really do "get it" or at least make every effort to. Recently, I had emailed a drawing to a few close friends, once again begging for prayers. I came home one afternoon not too long afterwards, and had a small package left for me. I gingerly opened it up, and there in my hand was a framed portion of that drawing, quite appropriately it was a heart with the word "love" in it, and around the frame were the words "Family". That meant the world to me, it filled me up with the knowledge that someone noticed, someone knew how hard this is, someone offered up a little piece of hope to me.
We also have had the benefit of prayers from a special little girl, and that has touched me deeply. This little one is working overtime, and her concern and caring are the things that I think Heaven might just be made of.
Then there is my own son, Matthew. The other day I sat down with all the boys, talking quite sincerely about how our lives might change if what we are hoping for occurs. I openly discussed that our finances will be in short supply, that we will be stretched far thinner than we even are now...and I asked how they felt about that if it meant that they would have less, might have to take turns each year going to camp, that we would all have to accept the fact that we would have to work hard at being creative at gift giving, food shopping, etc. I asked them to be quite honest about how they would feel about this, if they would be angry, or mad or have regrets that we all did this...that I was not exaggerating about any of what this meant. I was never more humbled in my life when, without a moment's hesitation, Matthew quietly said "Mom, I have my $70 that you can have when they come home...we know that money isn't what's important, love is.", then Kenny and Josh both chimed in "We don't care at all...we have fun anyway!". It was a tender reminder of what is really important. It is not the trips to Disneyworld we wish we could offer our kids, it is not the latest video game system or iPod, it certainly isn't driving them to school in a fancier car or dressing them in the finest, latest most popular and oh-so-expensive fad clothing. The single most important thing in a child's life is love. Period. If they have enough of that, they don't really need the rest. Add a dose of laughter and you really have a winning combination.
As I typed this post, I received the most wonderful email...probably one that has already made the rounds as these things usually do, but it was the right thing at the right time for me, so I want to share it here with you:
Wishing to encourage her young son's progress on the piano, a mother took her boy to a Paderewski concert. After they were seated, the mother spotted an old friend in the audience and walked down the aisle to greet her.
Seizing the opportunity to explore the wonders of the concert hall, the little boy rose and eventually explored his way through a door marked "NO ADMITTANCE."
When the house lights dimmed and the concert was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered that the child was missing Suddenly, the curtains parted and spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway on stage.
In horror, the mother saw her little boy sitting at the keyboard, innocently picking out "Twinkle,Twinkle Little Star."
At that moment, the great piano master made his entrance, quickly moved to the piano, and whispered in the boy's ear, "Don't quit.""Keep playing."
Then, leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in a bass part. Soon his right arm reached around to the other side of the child, and he added a running obbligato.
Together, the old master and the young novice transformed what could have been a frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience.
The audience was so mesmerized that they couldn't recall what else the great master played. Only the classic, "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."
Perhaps that's the way it is with God. What we can accomplish on our own is hardly noteworthy.
We try our best, but the results aren't always graceful flowing music. However, with the hand of the Master, our life's work can truly be beautiful.
The next time you set out to accomplish great feats, listen carefully. You may hear the voice of the Master, whispering in your ear, "Don't quit." "Keep playing."
May you feel His arms around you and know that His hands are there, helping you turn your feeble attempts into true masterpieces.
Remember, God doesn't seem to call the equipped, rather, He equips the 'called.' Life is more accurately measured by the lives you touch than by the things you acquire.
May God bless you and be with you always!
And maybe what I need to do is follow that advice at moments when all feels lost, when the doubts about the future creep in..."Don't Quit." "Keep Playing." The idea that He doesn't call the equipped but rather equips those He calls is a good one to hang on to. I sure didn't feel equipped to handle Josh's issues, I didn't know if I could be the Mommy Kenny needed, and the idea of being the possible mother to 5 children from these backgrounds is at times enough to make me fall off my chair if I see only "Cindy" and her limited abilities. But I have to rest in the fact that He will equip me if it is His plan to bring them home, of that I am sure.
And then there is the line "Life is more accurately measured by the lives you touch than the things you acquire.". Truer words were never spoken, and there is a special person I want to dedicate that to who is walking this journey with us, hand in hand, and who is actively living this out on a daily basis. Without you, we wouldn't even be this far. Thanks for touching not only our lives, but 2 others as well. I promise I'll pass it on in the ways in which I can.