Monday, June 09, 2008

Surprise Encounters

We had a very busy week and one filled with surprise encounters which left us all feeling richer for them. I wonder sometimes if others see things the way I do, or if I am just weird and frivolously "too deep" for I often find deeper meanings in contacts with others, or am touched by the actions and words of others.

Early in the week, a woman from our church called and asked if she could take all our boys to the library for an event they were having there to kick off their summer reading program. This was out of the blue and a totally unexpected little gift of free time for me! Upon their return she and I were able to have an uninterrupted conversation for over an hour, and she shared with me how very much she enjoyed being with our boys and how surprised she was at how easy it was to be with them for they were very well behaved. Other than the compliments, we shared time talking about other subjects related to her life and it allowed me to get to know someone better whom I have always cared about and enjoyed being with myself. Yesterday at church I overheard her again complimenting our sons to others, and it gave me a little boost of mommy pride at a time when it was much needed. There have been moments lately when I have questioned our parenting and whether we are doing the right thing in being a little stricter and having expectations that are perhaps different that what others might have. I was so happy to have this subtle validation that we are on the right track after all.

A second unexpected and very joyful encounter this week came in the form of overnight visitors. On the spur of the moment, we ended up with a special woman and her daughter with us on Thursday night. It was the woman who lived and worked in Kyrgyzstan as a Missionary and provided us with photos of Kenny when he was young. We don't know one another well, having only met in person twice before for brief periods, but the comfort level between us surprised us both and I think had we all had more time we would have sat around the table and chatted for days on end! It was only as she was helping wash dishes (which always makes someone an appreciated guest! Hahaha!) and she was looking at the height chart we have penciled in on our pantry cupboard that we realized that the next day was the 1 year anniversary of Kenny's arrival home. What a total God thing that he would have her there to share that with us, that He arranged in a rather unorthodox way for her to have her own faith validated as she watched Kenny playing with his brothers, hugged by his parents, and tucked into bed as he wallowed in being in a family. This woman had printed up prayer cards with Kenny's photo on it back when he was a much younger boy...back when he was still Toktogul Mursaev...and handed them out to many others to place on their fridge to pray for him. Long before she ever imagined international adoptions from Kyrgyzstan becoming what they are today, she held hope that one day this little boy whom she loved would find a forever family. I am sure it never occurred to her that one day years in the future she would be breaking bread with this very family and seeing him in exactly the circumstances she had long hoped for. And again God proved that He can move mountains, that He is the ruler over all...and all of us sitting at the table for dinner that night were merely answering His directives.

It also was a remarkable moment to stand side by side watching as all of our kids were playing in the fort, her daughter definitely holding her own with the boys...and lining them up for a photo. Staring through the viewfinder at the beautiful faces contained therein, imagining our lives without them and their lives without us was a sincere moment of reflection for two moms who just love their kids...nothing more, nothing less. We have between the 4 children true survivors, great intellect, a compassion beyond the normal child's ability to express it. It was a gathering of 4 "old souls" in a sense, for each one is insightful beyond their years due in large part to their life experiences which have helped them grow into the little people they are today.

Another unexpected encounter came when we sold our popup trailer to some new friends as we upgraded to another used one that is bigger and can better accommodate us. Camping will be about the only vacations we can manage in the years to come, I am sure! The couple who purchased our old one are special people, and I have every expectation that our friendship will continue to grow. The female half of this couple has offered great encouragement to me over the past year as there is an understanding of some of what is going on inside my heart, and I am grateful for our connection with one another. It is funny, isn't it? How we meet people and sometimes it is just "a fit" for one reason or another, and we don't even understand why. The whole "Trailer Swap" happened quite suddenly and unexpectedly...and it fell into place perfectly within a few hours so it was quite surprising. We have what perfectly met our needs and now our friends do too!

The last surprise encounter we had took so many connections the middle of an aisle in Target. We were bumming around there this weekend while the boys looked for ways to spend Matthew's birthday giftcards, and we ran into a soon-to-be-mommy who is adopting from Kyrgyzstan and is waiting to travel, as so many others are right now with the slow down. I have liked this very woman from our first email conversation, and she and her mother whom I also instantly liked were there doing some final baby shopping. We stood there, as women are wont to do, yacking for a long time and I was struck by the sense of peace she has about this delay and we talked about God's timing in it all. What maturity she showed about everything!! I thought to myself "What a wonderful mom she will be.". Although of course disappointed in the delay, there was no blame or anger cast around, just acceptance that their time will come and a quite confidence that so impressed me...I guess her Faith was obvious and seeing it was refreshing to me.

As we were getting ready to part, the subject of this blog came up and her mom paid me one of the highest compliments I have ever been paid, explaining how much she has learned from reading it and how it was "worth it" to stay up until 1:00 AM to find the time to catch up on the posts! What a blessing it was to know that I have somehow helped extended family understand what this is all like, what it feels like, to help them anticipate the ways in which they could be supportive. I never gave much thought at all to future grandma's (or anyone else, really!) finding this blog interesting. But international adoption really is a different way to become a parent, it has it's own twists and turns, it's own celebratory milestones which others might not recognize as such, it's own set of concerns and emotions. If expressing those things here in writing helps not only my children understand all we have gone through but has helped others as well, then it is well worth my time to write it...even if for the life of me I can't understand why anything I have to say is all that interesting!!!

So a week of surprise encounters, a week of smiles and joy, a week of hugs and reflection. In addition to staying up late, sleeping in, playing all day...summer has really arrived!!

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