Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Why is there a three-year-old waiting for us in Vietnam?

We are operating under the belief that Vietnam was chosen for us. I've always been interested in adoption. After the birth of our second son, I even wrote for information from various adoption agencies. But it wasn't until three babies later tha we seriously began pursuing adoption. I was done being pregnant, but we were not done having children.

We were drawn to Asia, but most Asian countries limit the sizes of adopting families, and we already had too many children, according to their limits. Vietnam, though, had slightly higher family size limits that did not exclude us. But Vietnam had also been closed to international adoption for two years. Since our youngest was just a baby, we decided that we had time to wait and see if anything might change.

At this point, I prayed. If we had any hope of pursuing adoption along this path, there were some significant hurdles that God would have to help us over. The list was daunting:
(1) Vietnam and the US had to sign a Memo of Understanding (the agreement that would allow international adoption to resume).
(2) Our parents had to be supportive. (It had been difficult when we began homeschooling not to have our parents' full support.)
(3) If we added another family member, we would need a bigger vehicle. (The minivan was maxed out, but so was the budget.)
(4) We needed to pay off some debt and find a way to afford the costs of international adoption.

Over the next nine months, each of the items on my list was resolved. (1) The M.O.U. between the US and Vietnam was signed in summer 2005. (2) Our parents were not just supportive, but eager and excited. Items (3) and (4) on the prayer list were also answered, but not in a way I would have chosen.

My mother-in-law, who had been battling ovarian cancer for nearly seven years, learned that the cancer had spread and there was nothing more to be done. While settling her affairs at the end of her life, she bought us a new van. The inheritance she left us is enough to allow us to afford the adoption. She missed seeing a picture of her new grandson by just one month.

We were matched with our little boy in November, and we've been fortunate to received several reports on his development, with pictures, over the last few months. We completed all of the necessary paperwork. And now we wait. And wait.

This waiting is both easier and harder. We know that our son is waiting for us... and that we will eventually be able to bring him home. But the process seems to move so slowly, and there is so little left to do, apart from wait. Each passing day reminds us that we are one day closer to bringing him home... but it also reminds us that he is one day older. We are missing precious time that cannot be regained. We know that he is already part of our family, but until we can actually bring him home, he remains a stranger.

Perhaps the call will come tomorrow. Perhaps next week. Perhaps in five or six weeks. If it be now, 'tis not to come. If it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Ordinary Times


A parent's life is often buried in the ordinary. Fixing meals, doing laundry, picking up, buying groceries... the mundane... the repetitive... maintaining the status quo... fighting entropy (which is, of course, destined to win). Sometimes it seems as if the only break in the routine involves leakage--either a child's or a machine's.

(Note: The only leakage today was from the hypersensitive tear ducts of overtired children. Sleepovers are fine and glorious things, but there's a piper to pay the next day. The children stay up late and the parent gets the hangover.)

Why, I ask myself, am I doing this? Can there possibly be meaning or significance in the daily slog? I'm not unintelligent; I have a seminary degree. Surely I could be doing something else to serve the Lord.

But I am reminded that not every day is a feast day. In the liturgical calendar, ordinary time names those seasons around the edges of the highest holy days. And ordinary time does not mean dull or trivial; it means "counted," "measured," or "ordered time." And I like the idea that every chunk of time, every moment, is sacred. Those days that feel unnumbered and unnoticed, filled with innumerable repeated tasks, do, in fact, count. And they are counted, numbered, and ordered by God. He has called me to serve in these ordinary times.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

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