Sunday, April 20, 2014

The beginning

 I have an itch to start at the beginning, to somehow connect the dots from there to here. But, then again, I'm not sure where our journey to adopt began because I believe we lived before we were born. In heaven, we had relationships; we had desires, dreams, and perhaps, we made promises.

Our last day with our 12-year-old son, Josh, was on Easter Sunday, March 23, 2008.  We had a Japanese student staying with us, and my husband, Enos, decided to have us go outside to take pictures. If you look up 'josh' in the dictionary you'll find the definition, "to tease good-naturedly".  Can you guess from looking at the pictures, which one is Josh? 
 {The rest of us were just trying to keep our eyes open against the glare of the sun, but Josh was having fun.} 

Josh went to sleep that night and never woke up. He died from a seizure.  Maybe down the road I'll be able to describe that day for others; right now I'll just say that it oscillated between being horrifying to being holy. 

About seven months later, I was alone in the kitchen washing dishes when I heard, "I'm going to give you a baby girl." Instantly I replied, "I never asked for a baby girl!" I waited for his reply but I was left alone with my own frantic thoughts.  Why? What was he thinking? Nathan, our youngest, was almost eleven.  A baby, now, at my age?!  I couldn't sleep that night. I didn't tell Enos, not for months, nor did I write about it in my journal. Because I wasn't ready to have it validated, I didn't even pray about it for a long time.

Fostering to adopt had vaguely been in our family plan since Nate was in diapers. One day I had read in the paper about a Child of the Week, a boy, who needed a family. The spirit overcame me and tears flooded my eyes and I just knew. But, because the newspaper picture was of a boy (maybe 9 years old), I assumed that it would be a boy that would come into our home and become a part of our eternal family. But a baby girl! It took a long time for me to accept the gift Josh had offered me. On our foster-to-adopt forms in March of 2010, we put that we were willing to take one child up to the age of 10. The first call that came was for three sisters, ages 3, 2 and a baby. A baby girl.  Sometimes I wonder if Josh would have said more that night in October of 2008 if I had just kept my mouth shut, or if I had been gracious and humble, like Mary who said, "Behold, the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to thy word." Would he have told me that this beautiful baby girl had two sisters that I would also come to love as my own children? 

 At about halfway through our foster-to-adopt journey, after seeing more downs than ups, I heard Josh say, "Don't you trust me?"  I tried; I did, and when I felt to waver, I prayed that the Lord would give me something.  It always came. That is the thread that connects the dots between there and here in our journey to complete our family: the tender mercies. 

I'm staying up late this night before Easter to publish this post right now because I wanted to remind myself and others that you don't know what will happen tomorrow. Smile, hold a hand, say thank you and I'm sorry. Give a hug, play a game together, sing a song, pray together. And if something terrible happens, something as painful as waking up and finding that someone you love with all your heart is no longer with you. know that Because of Him, there is no such thing as the end.

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