Saturday, June 15, 2013
Ramblings during my 15 hour flight
**Don't know if any of this makes sense -- as I am trying to edit, I am falling asleep, so I will just go ahead and publish what I have. Those of you who read will forgive me if it is nonsense..**
I'm in the air right now, en route to China. It feels strange to be traveling alone, without John, this time. Being with him, talking about it on our flight, made our upcoming adoptions seem more real. Now, I am have to keep reminding myself that I am on an adoption trip, and that Christopher will be in my arms in a few short days.
I have been thinking about how quickly things change in life. Often the unexpected happens instantly, but even expected changes -- like this adoption -- happen in an heartbeat. One minute Christopher will be an orphan, the next he won't. Just like that. One moment I don't have a baby in my life, the next I do. I can forget sometimes, especially because this is my fifth child, how utterly life-changing it is to have a child, either by birth or by adoption. Really. This is a new person in our family. A new dimension to our family dynamic. It is huge.
I think I have to not think about it or I will be overwhelmed. Both by how scary that it, and how insanely beautiful.
What I do think about all the time is the reason I love adoption stories. I will read almost any book or blog or magazine story about adoption because the theme is something that I want to replay in my mind and meditate on. The theme is transformation. Adoption stories, especially when the child has come out of institutional care, demonstrate such dramatic transformation: physically, emotionally, and developmentally. It is just amazing what love -- along with good medicine and nutrition -- will do. Over and over again, I have read about and witnessed sad, malnourished, lonely, neglected children become beloved, energetic, robust, curious, joyous kids. It is so fun to watch.
And, the adoptive families, they transform too. These changes are more subtle, and sometimes go unnoticed by others, but parents and siblings of the newly adopted child are transformed too, in emotional and spiritual ways. How amazing it is to fall in love with a new daughter or son, brother or sister. One that might not look or act or speak like you, but in whom you see a soul similar to yours. It is impossible to look at any other human being in the same way again, because you realize that they very easily, perhaps in another time and place, could be your family. We are not so different, us humans. And we all have a tremendous capacity to heal and to love.
Adoptive families learn to trust. Trusting in life, or in God or however you see it, is necessary when you adopt because adoption is a leap of faith. Actually, so is giving birth or really anything we do in life, but we tend not to see it in ordinary, common-place, daily events. Yet, adoption takes us out of our comfort zones. Adoption makes loving family members and even perfect strangers ask you if you know what you're in for. You might hear a warning tale of two about adoptions-gone-wrong. But, those who adopt are so glad -- relieved -- they found the courage to ignore the fear and to trust.
I've said it many times: this is what makes me believe in God. Many believers adopt because of their faith. Instead, I was an agnostic who found God through adoption. Nicholas' whole adoption story was, for me, like witnessing one miracle after another. Yes, watching him slowly transform from a neglected, sad, underweight little boy into my brilliant, sensitive, funny son was amazing. But, this story has so many more layers to it. It was miraculous to experience my own wounds heal through this little boy. This guy, whose birthday happened to be the due date of a child I lost in utero, fulfilled the desperate longing I had for a second child in a way I hadn't learned not to expect.
And then there was the miracle of Peter -- my surprise birth child, the one whose conception and healthy birth was not supposed to happen (after 4 lost pregnancies). His story cannot be separated from Nicholas'. I was pregnant with him when we met Nicholas, found out he was healthy the week we got home from China, and the two boys are best friends now. My miracle boys.
Perhaps the most amazing part of Nicholas' story was meeting the missionaries who cared for Nicholas, Americans who picked up and moved to China to dedicate their entire lives (and still do) for caring for these kids. Who does that? I had never met anyone whose primary goals were anything but selfish, material and egotistical. Including my own. I thought all Christians were judgmental frauds, but I could see the love and sincerity in these people's faces, and in their words and caring actions towards their kids. At that moment, I wanted to learn more about this Jesus. It opened my heart to see if I could find something more beyond the stereotypes, and behind the veil of religion and The Church.
So, this is why I keep coming back for more. I am a transformation-junkie, a miracle-junkie. When I first read of Jesus telling us to care for the orphans, I thought it was all about saving the kids, but I didn't yet know how how all-encompassing God's love really is. There is always so much more going on than appears on the surface. That I was going to be saved through this process. Adoption has been the perfect example for me about how Christianity is not a set a rules we must follow in order to be "good" or to be 'saved." I'm not sure why God commands certain things and not others, but I know that when I obey them, miracles multiply in ways that bend my mind.
I can't wait to see what transformations God has in store for all of us through Christopher's adoption.