First of all, I want to say how absolutely blown away we've been by all the support being poured out by friends, family, blogging buddies, and even people we have never met. All of the comments, phone calls, and emails have been such a huge blessing, truly a comfort to know that so much care, concern, and prayers are being sent our way. Thank you. I was just telling my mom last night on the phone how much harder this process would be without the support we're being given by the blogging community.
Yesterday morning I got up and sat on the couch, staring out at the ever-steady Portland rain, letting my mind go where it wanted, and it kept drifting towards the question, "Why?" This only made me frustrated and hopeless. I realized that there's a distinct possibility that we may never know the answer to that question, at least until we get to heaven. And I have to be okay with that. We've never been promised answers to all those "why" questions here on earth, so I decided to just stop asking. Instead, I've been asking myself what is to be learned through this, how can I change? What can God show me about what it means to be a child of God living in a fallen world, a world of grief and dashed hopes? I'm trying to put my faith, often mustard-seed-sized, into the hope of heaven and the love of God, despite this darkness.
One of the things I'm learning is that part of being human means living the simultaneous experience of grief and joy. This, I'm being taught through the example of certain people in my life who have experienced some of the deepest grief imaginable but who have chosen to go on, not denying the experience of grief but making it a part of their daily lives. I'm humbled by their example, how they've made friends with grief as a part of their life story, not being embittered or swallowed by it either, not allowing it to be the whole. One dear friend told me that she still curls up and cries almost daily over her particular loss but she has also chosen to let joy in as well. She lives with them both; both are her friends. I'm so thankful for her example.
There are so many other things I'm learning, too many things to write about here, but something practical is the restorative power of having a shower and putting on lipstick, both of which I finally did last night. I got rid of the pajamas, brushed my hair, made myself decent and met friends for dinner. These are some of the most compassionate, loyal, sensitive, loving friends we have, and I felt overwhelmed with gratitude for their steady presence in our lives last night as I sat across from them.
Finally, since getting the news two days ago, we've both been wrestling with whether we should have let ourselves get as attached to Baby Abe as we did, knowing that he wasn't legally ours. We've gone back and forth about this, having a hard time coming up with the answer. I'd been saying all along that I wasn't going to allow myself to feel attached to a child that had only been referred to us: that's why they call it a referral, not your own child. I've thought about it a million different ways, and I think I've come to the conclusion that, with the information and updates on his personality, along with those amazing pictures we were being sent, not getting attached would have been impossible for me. That mother-urge is particularly strong in me, an overwhelming force that swept away reason.
So now I'm heart-broken. What do I do with that? I'm still figuring that one out, but I was so encouraged by the words of a friend here in Portland, the mother of four (three of whom are from Ethiopia):
"I was thinking today about your desire to not get attached to a baby before you had them home, and although it makes this situation particularly painful, how right it is that you became attached to little Abenezer. You have ennobled him by your love! What a great gift to him and his Creator!"
And later last night, I discovered this song through another friend, and though the song is about a couple, I couldn't help crying rivers of tears, thinking about it from the perspective of children who are adopted:
Now my feet turn the corner back home
Sun turns the evening to rose
Stars turning high up above
You turn me into somebody loved.
By opening our hearts to Abenezer, we turned him into somebody loved. What a gift that is to give these children who are entrusted to us, what an example of how we've been loved by God. God's love ennobles us. So while we have hope that the tide may turn in this situation, I pray that, even if Abenezer does not get to become our own Rooney, someone along the way will tell him who he is: that he is somebody loved.
You can hear the song by clicking here.