Friday, December 27, 2013

a thrill of hope

Several of you wrote to me or texted me words of encouragement after my last post, and I am extremely grateful for your words. I think some of you were worried about my psyche. I didn't mean to worry you; I'm not depressed, stressed, anxious or worried...just a bit weary. I share a lot about the Hope that we have, but in an effort for 'balanced reporting' I felt the need to be open with you about the struggles we experience, as well. It's not all sugar plums and twinkle lights in the adoption journey.

That said, I have some news to report.

I don't know how to explain this, but somewhere along the road from my admission of being weary to now, the thrill of hope found its way back to me. Or I found my way back to it. I'm not really sure which direction it was, but it happened nonetheless.

It might have arrived yesterday. Not because it was Christmas, per say, but because some of the 'wrongs' that had been weighing on my heart were finally made right.

We didn't set cookies and milk out for Santa or follow his progress around the world on Christmas Eve. We didn't even fill stockings or put extra presents out overnight. We celebrated our somewhat minimalist Christmas by letting the boys open their two or three presents when they woke up. One of their presents included clothes. (Woohoo, kids, CLOTHES!)

It's not that we are inherently against any of the hoopla that surrounds Christmas or that we are so spiritual we didn't want to dilute the true meaning of Christmas or anything; it might just be because we just weren't feeling it this year. Or because we realized that a two-year-old and a one-year-old are just happy to be l-i-v-i-n and wouldn't even notice that we didn't do any of the extras.  

Or because I'm a bad mom.

However you want to say it, it just didn't happen this year. Brody was happy he got his (fake) gun, which he has been pretty adamant about getting since we first told him he could ask for something. But he was equally happy with his Big League Chew (yes, we willingly ushered him into the 'gateway' for harder stuff like grape-flavored Big League Chew).


 Brecken was just happy.


And we were happy to see them happy. 

Then we set out for MeMaw and PawPaw's cabin. Here's where I will tell you that the boys got spoiled (so please don't feel too bad for them that their parents are awful). We ate our hearts out, read the Christmas story, sang "Happy Birthday" to Jesus, then opened presents. The kids (ah-hem, adults) used their new Nerf bows to blast eachother, which is kind of a holiday tradition in our family.

As the end of the day drew near, naptimes had come and gone, leaving a couple of tired boys in their wake. We all packed up to go to my aunt's house to see my grandparents, who are staying with my aunt and uncle until my Granny gets more of her strength and energy back.

Here is one of the 'wrongs' that had been weighing on me: Granny, who is 87, was in the hospital over a week after falling in the church parking lot a few weeks ago. She battled through a partial shoulder replacement, pneumonia, and some complications after surgery and was finally able to leave the hospital on December 23. During her time in the hospital after surgery, she wasn't herself. She was lethargic and confused, bruised and vulnerable. She didn't even look like herself, perhaps because I saw her aging body more clearly than ever--perhaps because usually the love she exudes has always prohibited me from truly scrutinizing her every wrinkle. My grandpa had been even less like himself. He loved that woman, and when her broken body was lying in that hospital bed it was as if he was broken and lying there, too. (Oh, the LOVE of those two!)

So yesterday, when we all walked in the door and Grandpa yelped in excitement that we were there, I felt it. He vocalized it: a thrill of hope. Grandpa, along with his zest for his kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids, was back to being Grandpa. And Granny was back to being Granny. She was sitting, talking and watching the kids run around. She laughed. She smiled.

So there it was. Part of the thrill that had been missing before. The 'wrong' is now 'right.'

And when we went home and put the boys in bed, I did something else that had been weighing on my heart: I contacted Brody's birthmom. We had a lot of contact with her in the beginning, but somewhere after celebrating his first birthday with her at a Cracker Barrel in Kentucky to celebrate, we had lost contact. Maybe phone numbers had changed, maybe texts didn't go through.

Whatever happened, it just didn't seem right. So I contacted her, showed her a picture, and sent her this message:

Merry Christmas! We hope this message finds you and your family well. We have lost contact with you through the last several months, but we want you to continue to see how amazing Brody is and how thankful we are that you allowed us to be his Mom and Dad. We have created this profile for Brody in order to share pictures with you through the years (hopefully!). We tell him about you and that he is from Kentucky, and he usually says, "I want to go to K-tucky." :o) He doesn't understand everything we tell him, but he will soon. He is a handsome, friendly, talkative, and amazingly smart little boy who is growing up so fast we can't keep up. As you know, he will be 3 in March, and he is already taller than most 4- and 5-year-olds and wearing size 4 clothing! He is a great big brother to our youngest son...very sweet and caring. Again, we hope you are enjoying a very merry Christmas with your kiddos and family. We are so thankful for you and for the gift you have given us.

And she wrote back, with these words included in a longer message: "I am at a loss for words. This has truly made my day..."

And THAT was a thrill of hope, one more 'wrong' that is now 'right.'

Lastly, as we were resting our heads on our pillows, we saw confirmation of this: An international adoption gone right in so many ways. Our friends, the Huitts, brought their son (and the long-lost biological brother of their previously adopted daughters) home from Ukraine ON CHRISTMAS DAY after a difficult and daunting two-year-process! What seemed impossible was made possible, and considering all of the details and the timing, the only logical assumption we can make is that God clearly wanted the family together and home for Christmas.

And there it was again: The thrill of hope.

Isaiah 40:28 -- Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, [that] the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? [there is] no searching of his understanding.

Luke 1:37 -- For with God nothing shall be impossible.

Hebrews 11:1 -- Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.