Sunday, January 6, 2008

Somebody Loved

I'm not sure how these things work, but I'm going to chalk it up to the mysterious workings of being bathed in prayer by so many people that I've been able to sleep and sleep and sleep the last two days. Yesterday, I must have slept eleven hours, part of those in the middle of the day. Thank you is not enough to all of you who have prayed that we would have peace. Despite the fitful, heart-racing hours spent awake, sleep has come so easily, a gift from God.

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.


Kristi said...

Hugs to you and Ted

Amy B. said...


I am amazed by you...not because you are a super woman...but because you are real. You are a woman that can acknowledge pain and joy...together. You are an amazing woman. I am so glad to call you my friend. I will call you in a bit.


Anonymous said...

Love this post. I agree, how can you regret loving someone. Even if it breaks your heart. What a blessing that you love Abenezer. No matter what happens.

Saw this on another blog:

We need one another when we would mourn and be comforted.
We need one another when we are in trouble and afraid.
We need one another when we are in despair, in temptation, and need to be recalled to our best selves again.
We need one another when we would accomplish some great purpose, and cannot do it alone.We need one another in the hour of success, when we look for someone to share our triumphs.
We need one another in the hour of our defeat, when with encouragement we might endure, and stand again.We need one another when we come to die, and would have gentle hands prepare us for the journey.
All our lives we are in need, and others are in need of us.

-George Odell

Looking forward to sharing your triumphs, but for now, we are there for you in your despair.

The Journey said...

Thank you for this post. While we wait for our referral we're continually humbled and brought back to reality by families like yours and your willingness to share both times of joy and pain. Our thoughts are with you.

Anonymous said...

I am Carey's sister from Drew Carey Show. My heart breaks for you, but I'm also praying for you with all of my heart. Blessings to you both, and know that people are praying for you and are supporting you during this difficult time.
Here's one of my favorite quotes, and I believe it is by Mother Teresa, although I'm not positive:
"I know God won't give me any more than I can handle. I just wish he didn't trust me so much."
During difficult times for me, the following Bible verse has always helped me:
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11. This verse can be applied to you two as a couple, but also to sweet little Abenezer. God has a plan for all three of you, and right now our prayers are that the plans involve you being together. The hard part is trusting God's plan.

Much love to you--Theresa, David, and Haley

Erica said...

Continued prayers - I'm amazed by your strength and grace during this struggle of the unknown and the heartbreak you are going through. God is in the difficult, God is in THIS storm. Praying for Gods perfect plan for all of you. I love Jer. 29:11 - its been a comfort for me many a time. (((HUGS)))

Samantha said...

That was just so eloquent and beautiful, Thank you.

LISA said...

Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Karen said...

What a beautiful perspective. From every tragedy comes life -- that's the gospel story. I am praying that you'll keep finding the peace in the midst of your grief, that by some miracle Abeneezer will be yours. And if not him, then another child who needs the amazing love you can give him/her. You're going to be a great mom!

mama becca said...

I have no words... I just agree. We all have a story to tell, of deep hurt and loss... and the Gospel comes in and doesn't erase our pain, but acknowledges it and Jesus says "I've been there too... it hurts. I'll hold it for you." Oh how I love that you know this great Story... and therefore you can love this child.
Continued prayers and tears for you tonight...

Carol said...

Lori and Ted -
We are all praying for you. Thank you for your blog and the wonderful way you express yourself. You are an awesome writer. You will be in the thoughts and prayers of many this week! Carol

Amy said...

Baby Abenezer is loved and that IS a beautiful thing! You guys continue to be in our prayers.... Praying you hear news from Ethiopia soon!

Jocelyn said...

I am so glad to hear your words today. I am thinking about you both and baby Abe constantly.

veggiemom said...

Continuing to think of you all...
Kerri and Ruby

Jana said...

Beautiful post.

Thank God only a mustard-seed portion is required, right?

Your friend said such a true and wonderful thing about enobling Abe by loving him. I don't think God will allow any of that love to be wasted. It's very valuable stuff, that love.

Still praying for the situation....

Anonymous said...

I know you don't know me. I heard about you and Baby Abe yesterday. I am so sorry this has happened and I am praying for you. I am praying for a big turn-around this week and am sure encouraged by your faith in the midst of this pain. You are so right that we do love the child as our own behind that picture. God bless you and I pray you can continue to sleep well. We are also in Portland. Thank you and I will keep checking in with you.

Anonymous said...

Wow Lori. I find your eloquence awe-inspiring. I don't think I've ever read a more beautiful, hopeful post. I've come back and reread this several times today. I've shared the words 'ennobled by love' a few times even. Thanks for teaching me such a rich concept. . .

A candle brightly shines for Abenezer in my church tonight.

Jeni said...

You are going through a lot right now. Resting in Him is the best way to deal with it and that's what you're doing! I love that you've cried out to Him and that you're holding on to Him. Thanks for being so honest. I am praying for you from the other side of the world.

K-Tuds said...

Hello Ted & Lori,
I am Renee's sister, she is with her fmaily in Ethiopia and heard the news she wanted me to sdend you a note..."Let them know on friday Belay was frustrated beyond belief running around in court all day, he missed our appt to visit the children at Kechene and I knew he had more important duties in court but I did not realize this type of thing was possible, I am so sorry and knowing Belay he will do everything in his power to try to get Abenezer to them. He loves all these children like his own and wants them all to have a family. Always, Renee"

emily said...

I was praying for you this morning and thought of Isaiah 40:30-31 "Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."

Praying that you would feel the strength that only He can bring!

Stacie said...

Beautifully said... that sweet babe is so loved. I am in awe of your strength during this difficult time - it is a true mom who thinks first of the child as you have done. My prayers are with you and I hope you get some news soon.

Chris and Lindsey Wheeler said...

I just read through your story and am blown away! I can't even begin to tell you how sorry I am that you are going through this. It is beyond painful....a grief that cannot be described. I am praying for you and your husband....and for precious, precious Abenezer! My hubby and I have gone through something similar with a beautiful little girl in Guatemala. I felt like I was reading my own words about Xiomara. Lord, why did you bring her in our lives? But, I know that she will ALWAYS be apart of our lives and our family. We will pray for her and talk about her if the Lord chooses not to bring her home with us. With all of that said, it definitely HURTS LIKE CRAZY!! There are days I just want to stay in bed. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability! I will keep praying.

Lindsey Wheeler

P.S. We are now pursuing another little girl named Eliana...she is AMAZING!

M and M said...

Ted and Lori,

We are praying for all of you. What a painful and confusing turn of events. You are being held and hugged from across the miles. Your hearts are warm and true. Trust where they lead you to go...