Thursday, August 18, 2011

Borrowing from a Friend

Below is a repost from a dear friend, Amy, who we met while traveling in DRC. She was waiting to bring home her son Nic (who bares and uncanny resemblance to our Manny) at the same time as us.  We spent many hours talking, laughing, and crying together.  Her writing is lovely and you should go visit her blog and read more at Loving Leah, Tommy, and Nicolas.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

The "What If" Moments

A few nights ago we had a perfect summer evening. Low humidity, warm enough outside to be comfortable in shorts but still cool enough that we weren't dripping sweat, a beautiful sunset, and Tommy riding his big wheel up and down our street like a mad man and having a good ol' time. I chased him back and forth, ensuring that he kept out of the parking lots that our sidewalk runs into, and that he stayed far back from the street. Inside, Jeff and Nic were rocking out, as is their custom.

When Tommy and I finally parked the trike and came in, we found the two of them dancing, Jeff holding Nic, both of them with one arm outstretched, hands clasped and spinning slowly in a circle. Since nothing beats a family dance party, Tommy and I joined in. Immediately Nicolas began to laugh like crazy, and Tommy joined in and the look of sheer delight and unadulterated joy on both their faces made my heart swell. Watching them love each other, love being in our family, and love living their lives was so beautiful.

As I danced with them, held them, squeezed them, smothered them with kisses, the joy of the moment was interrupted by small, sad thought: what if?

What if my precious boys still lived in their respective orphanages?

What if their countries hadn't been open to Americans adopting?

What if we hadn't been open to adopting internationally? Or adopting a child with a different color skin than ours?

What if the children I now cherish lived in an institution, had access to minimal medical care, were malnourished, drank dirty water, and constantly had to fight for their needs to be met...still?

What if they never experienced the daily love, hugs, kisses and affirmation that come with being part of a family?

Both of our kids have come such a long way, the reality of their past rarely creeps in. It's easier to forget the sad truth about the places that they came from- it's easier to forget that they suffered physical and emotional deprivations, and it's easier to forget the millions of children who continue to languish in institutions with no family dance parties in their future because the "what ifs" in their lives haven't worked out.

Because of governments unable or unwilling to devise systems for adoption, either domestic or international.

Because of harsh economic circumstances.

Because of people who are afraid to take a chance on someone else's child.

In those "what if" moments, when I remember both my children's pasts and the bleak future of so many others, I am so thankful that God orchestrated our lives such that we were open to adoption after Leah died, and that we were encouraged to pursue this path at the time that we did. I am also thankful that I have seen the dirty, dark, desperate places where some children are forced to live, even though at times it it a burden to know and to have seen. Hard things are a blessing when they change us to be more like Christ. The images of those children seared on our hearts motivate us to live differently, to love broadly, and to give generously. That is why I'm grateful for the interruption of our perfect moments with "what if?"

Because what if we didn't remember the suffering of others? What if we did not act on the behalf of millions of orphans worldwide? What if we chose to forget?

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