Surreal. Just plain surreal. I just boarded an airplane. That’s not the surreal part. My destination? Ukraine. Herein enters surreal.
There are currently two little faces waiting on the other side of the world for their Mama to walk through the doors of their orphanage for the first time. To step foot into their world. To be on their turf.
Two weeks ago we shared the surprise with Max and Kate via our weekly Skype call. During that call and the two following it, we witnessed what I would call a bit of a resurrection of joy. Particularly with Kate who has been waiting for many months longer than Max for her parents to come break her out of that place. While she’s always been happy to see us and full of smiles, these last 3 conversations have been marked by hope. Plain and simple, knowing that their Mama is making the trip out to visit them has renewed in each of them hope.
I know I’ve mentioned it before, but this idea of Adam and I being their hope truly boggles my mind. So much of their existence, what they’re living for right now, is wrapped up in me and in Adam. That feels so very wrong. BUT when you’ve not had anything to hope for, when your dreams of having a family are going on 10 years old, it makes sense.
These two children who don’t know what it is to have a mom and a dad have faith that Adam and I can fulfill the role of parents to them. Do they know how much their mom still has to learn about being just that, a mom? Do they understand that I’m not perfect, nor will I ever be? Do they have any clue just how often I fail and will continue to fail even once they’re home? Maybe they do, maybe they don’t, but they still have faith that Adam and I will fill a gaping hole in their lives. And you better believe we will do our very best.
If I could shout from the rooftops just one thing, it would be that this is so not about me or Adam. This is not about what we can offer them. It’s not about the “better” life we can give them. This, for us, is about obeying the call of the Lord on our lives. And that’s it. We are choosing to let the Lord be the Author of our story and daily that brings with it challenges. I’ve done a lot of stepping out of my box thus far and I am well aware this is only the beginning.
Anyway, I have digressed.
I had no idea when we set out making these arrangements for me to go visit the kids just how much emotion would be involved. In the weeks leading up to the trip, I felt so at peace, so excited to just get there. My expectations were so wrong. I thought surely I would be somewhat fearful, nervous, anxious. Quite the opposite was my reality however. I have had more peace that I ever could have imagined. Definitely an answer to my prayers, no doubt.
And then I boarded the plane and the reality of what I am doing is sinking in. I’m a mixed bag of emotion right now. I am equally thrilled and torn apart.
In order to see our soon-to-be kids I had to say goodbye to the two children I’ve known since birth. Which causes to rise up in me deep sadness because if it’s that hard to walk away for a week from two children I’ve mothered since birth I just cannot wrap my mind around the fact that the mothers of our two soon-to-be children walked away forever. Now, I don’t know the circumstances surrounding them being orphaned and it quite possibly was not by choice of the mother so this is by no means targeted toward the mothers that birthed them. It’s more just a wrestling in my heart with the “what if’s.” What if I had to walk away from Charlee or Andee and didn’t know them now? Didn’t know the little people with great personalities that they are growing into. Thoughts of Abraham offering up his son Isaac to the Lord flood my mind and I question myself, “Do I have the faith of Abraham? “ Faith that was counted to him as righteousness. Some days I could wholeheartedly say yes in response to that question. Today, however, I’m reminded that I’m still a work in progress.
I hate the idea that my family is on the ground below me in Arizona. I hate the fact that I missed out on taking Charlee to school. Kissing her goodbye as she bounds through the gate to her friends on the playground. I hate that I won’t hear about her day today. I won’t get to make them lunch. For a week I won’t be folding little socks, wiping little mouths and fingers, picking up the overabundance of acorns from the floor of my minivan, helping with phonograms or tucking them in at night.
For right now I have to sacrifice those things in order to see my other kids. But really, is that even a sacrifice? At first I thought, no not really. Nothing like what Abraham must have been feeling. But now I feel the Lord saying, “Yes,” On many levels this is a sacrifice. Because my heart is in two places. My heart is with my family in Arizona and my heart is with Max and Kate who feel just as much like family even though it’s not yet official.
Torn. That’s where I am as I’m high in the air. And I have a feeling torn is where my heart’s going to reside for quite a bit longer until this is all said and done. And I’m okay with torn. Because it reminds me that this is right and that this is real.