Monday, December 7, 2009
What will they see?
Sometime tomorrow, Mihret and Yoseph will see our faces for the first time. A precious family from our agency is in Addis right now to bring their little girl home, and they're delivering packages to Mihret and Yoseph for us. We were allowed to send each child whatever we could fit into a gallon sized ziplock bag. How inadequate this felt, for all of the love we wanted to communicate in that little bag! We packed a cute little shirt for each child (having one's own clothing is prized at the care center, though eventually it will become community property), along with some little toys, crayons, etc. But most importantly, we were able to make them each a small photo album filled with pictures of our home and family. I can't stop thinking about this, and wondering what they'll think of it. What will the nannies tell them? How will they even begin to understand what all of this means? They are still fresh from the arms of their mother; only having been in the orphanage for a few weeks. I can't think, without tears, of having the nannies point at my picture and tell them that I am their "Amaye/Mother" while they still must be greiving the only mother they've ever known. I don't know how long it's been since their father died, but what will they think when the nannies point at Jim's picture and tell them that he is their "Abaye/Daddy"? I wonder how confusing this must be to a little girl of three, and a little boy not even two. My heart is breaking for them. But I keep reminding myself that God knows all of this, and that He is Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals. He can heal all of the wounds that these little ones have suffered (just as He's healed many of mine). It's because of Him that Jim and I really will be Mama and Daddy to these two. It's because of Him that we have the capacity to love them, and that they will (over time) have the capacity to receive our love and to know us as their parents. It's a miracle, really.
And I can only believe that it's possible because of this: that somehow we are able to know the love of God as our Father. Although we are wounded and lost, He teaches us to love Him and trust Him. Sometimes, for some of us (me!), it's a long journey to reach that point. To really understand what it means to know God as a loving Father. To know that He desires us, loves us, and will never leave us. And honestly, Mihret and Yoseph are already teaching me all that I long for them to know about being loved by an adoptive parent. My understanding of God's love for me deepens every time I look at their pictures and love them.
Here again, this Advent season is made so much richer for me as I wait for our children. I read this today (from Martin Luther):
"Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given" (Isa. 9:6). This is for us the hardest point, not so much to believe that He is the son of the virgin and God himself, as to believe that this Son of God is ours. That is where we wilt, but He who does feel it has become another man. Truly it is marvelous in our eyes that God should place a little child in the lap of a virgin and that all our blessedness would lie in Him. And this Child belongs to all mankind. God feeds the whole world through a Babe nursing at Mary's breast. This must be our daily exercise: to be transformed into Christ, being nourished by this food. Then will the heart be suffused with all joy and will be strong and confident against every assualt."
So today my prayer is that someday Mihret and Yoseph will embrace these truths. That even next Christmas, they will find some new meaning in the birth of a Savior. That He is theirs. And that somehow He might even use our imperfect love for them as an illustration of His perfect love for them. And now I sigh. And long for Him and for them.
Having said all of that, may I just make a confession? I am longing for them to love the little shirts and socks and toys in those ziplock bags. Boo has been wrapping up little presents for Mihret and putting them under our Christmas tree. As I said, our love is imperfect. But we are longing to shower them with it!