Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Father who understands a mother's heart

If you’ve read the previous blog, you know that this weekend we had one great, big happy thing. But part and parcel with that came the one wee little sad thing. There’s no question we wouldn’t have gotten the one great, big happy thing if we hadn’t also learned the sad thing, so we definitely wouldn’t have traded it for anything. But I jump ahead, so let me retrace.

One of the best things about adopting an older child is that we’ve had the ability to send care packages, something you can’t really do as well with a baby, obviously, because it holds no meaning for them.

What is sometimes frustrating is that it’s all one-sided. You don’t ever get a response from China to know how Dang Yong reacted. So all you can do is wonder: Was he excited? A little nervous? Did he smile? Did he like the M&Ms? (Did they give him the M&Ms?) Did he ask questions about us? Did his caretaker let him have his items, or did she worry they would get dirty or ruined and keep them away?

Interspersed with all the joys of our upcoming adoption have been times when we begin to experience this weird sense of irreality. I mean, really, you could say that all we had is a medical report and a few older photos of some random little boy. It takes some faith to believe there really is a little boy who looks like the one in the picture (at least somewhat – they change so much in such a short time!), and that he is indeed sitting in this place called Nanyang City Social Welfare Institute on the other side of the world.

When you’re adopting, sometimes it feels like the Twilight Zone. We don’t get any e-mail updates on Dang Yong. The orphanage doesn’t send us regular monthly reports or anything. Obviously we can’t call the orphanage to say “hi” to him or hear what’s new. We literally know nothing more than you guys do. HOPE for Children, our agency, lets us know up front that we won’t hear anything unless something changes. No news is good news, that sort of thing. This is the reality of the situation for most adoptive parents at this stage in the game.

But sometimes God chooses to reach down through time and space and do some amazing, wonderful, above-all-we-could-ask-or-think thing, like drop some new photos of Dang Yong straight into my e-mail inbox with a note that says, “Hey, I think I saw your little boy last month!”

But on the tails of this huge exciting news comes the wee bitty sad thing where we learned that conditions over there aren’t…well…stellar. The only room in the orphanage which Bonnie was allowed into was the one you see in the picture. She described it as “basically an unheated garage, with few toys.” You’ll notice in the picture how all the kids are bundled in many layers, and you can see many of them have flushed faces. China is about as cold as it is here in Maine in the winter, to give you an idea. (Maybe they turn on the heat monitor at night?)

Bonnie also said that the kids were all sick with colds; her little girl, Zoe, had bronchitis and a 103 degree temp for three days. (She couldn’t go sightseeing, because little Zoe was so sick.) Bonnie’s opinion was that if had been a week later, Zoe would have had to go into the hospital for her illness.

You can imagine how disheartened I was to hear about the conditions. The mother’s heart in me just aches to think of my son in a cold room with just a few toys. It sounds like most of the kids are sick. Is he sick, too? Is it bad? Could he have bronchitis?

But then I have to slow down and realize that if God has brought our “brave, courageous” one this far, He can keep him just fine until we get there (and beyond!). If God can arrange to get me recent photos of my son – something some parents can only DREAM of – God can certainly keep him safe and healthy.

The mom in me wants to rush to fix things; to help our little one, to go get him and bring him home to warmth and safety now! But now is not the time. Now is the time for this child to head straight for the arms of her heavenly Father and drop it all in His lap for Him to deal with, because there’s nothing for her to do.

So, having pulled up those recent photos of my little boy one last time for the night, I can smile at that handsome little face. Then I can go ahead and let go, and shut down the laptop and lay my head down to rest. And I can actually sleep in perfect peace, because my mind is fixed on Him, the One who loves Dang Yong and holds him in greater safety than I ever could.

"Stay Strong"
Stay strong, you are not lost
Come on, fix your eyes ahead
There's a new dawn to light our day
You and I run for the prize that lies ahead
We've come too far to lose our way

Have you forgotten who you are?
Did you forget whose trip you're on?

Come on and stay strong
His grip is sure and His patience still endures
There'll be no letting go today - no way.

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