We’ve Named Her

We’ve named her.

Months ago as I began to picture my daughter I wondered many things about her. What does she look like? What does her laugh sound like? How much hair does she have? How many teeth does she have? How old is she?  Is she being loved right now? Is she being ignored? When is she arriving? How long will it be until she loves us? How long until she finds her security in us? How long will she have that incredible South African accent? What will her name be? I still don’t know many of the answers to those questions. But I do know one.

 I know her name.

 I suppose this is an incredible thing for parents to determine anytime a child is entering a family. It is just as special for us. Months ago I began jotting down names for our daughter. And son, because who am I to know what will happen? In moments of solitude I would rattle off my new ideas to my husband, to see if any of them stuck. Months ago, one did. I was elated. As is often in our lives, we agree easily on matters of heart and life. We loved this name. We wouldn’t tell anyone, but we both liked it. It fit perfectly.

 Or at least I thought.

I began to in private refer to her with this name, and quite frankly it felt right immediately.  But my husband scolded me, “Stop using that name. Stop referring to her as that. We don’t know who she is, and if we call her that now, that will be her name. We won’t feel we have any other options.”

 I didn’t think this was an issue. For all the different ways I’ve imagined her, this name worked. But I’ve learned that my husbands wisdom, though not always appreciated is usually right on point. I would stop. At least out loud. And I would try to avoid in my head.

So I continued to add to the list of names to be considered, and rattle off the list from time to time.  Three nights ago my husband looked at me, out of the blue and said. “Her name is _______. I’ve decided. I was going to text you a few weeks ago, but I choose to hold off. But that’s her name.” The very name I was trying to ignore.

I was of course elated.

I have pictured her, the first time we meet.  Jumping into a summer pool with sweet abandoned. Or chomping down a bowl of cereal with milk dripping off her chin. Her first snow storm. Her first Christmas morning with us. Maybe snuggling into bed on a lazy Saturday morning. Having a crazily messy room. Leaving a trail of mud and toys through our home. Struggling with school work or relationships with friends. Learning the art of sharing. Even as a teen, or young adult. Finding her way, making her way, forging her way. The name fits. That’s who she is.

Her name just rolls of my tongue.

 It is so good to know something about my daughter. I know she is loved. I know she is waiting. I know her name. Don’t ask we’re not telling. It’s one of the very few things we know about our family, and we are savoring it as a fine ruby, or in my case a perfect cup of coffee.

But she has a name. She has a purpose. She has life full of love waiting.

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1,000 Hills

We have $10 in our adoption fund. One button = $10

A lady at work handed it to me. She had just hemmed someone’s pants and they paid her $10 cash for it. I stared down of the two 5 dollar bills in my hand. My skin was crawling. I could feel tension in my bones. I hated it.  I hate needing help.

Weeks earlier she had seen “A sparkle in my eye.” and figured out that we were adopting. She offered to help in any way she could, fundraising specifically. I started to cringe. I need to help. We need to help. In this case it really is going to take a village to bring our child home. But this women barely knows me. I felt as though taking her money I was signing up to meet her expectations.

I knew I would fail them miserably.

I tried to give it back but she wouldn’t take it. I stuffed it in my pocket, trying to stuff away the feelings of frustration and shame with it. I realized how difficult this process was going to be. Because it feels like we need about a billion more five dollar bills. If I was going to have to feel this way every time someone handed me help, it is going to be a very very long two years.

I don’t like asking.

I was just yelled at by a friend, “You’re allowed to ask me for help. I like helping. I want to do this. I’m offering to help!” I literally gritted my teeth and said through tight lips, “I don’t like asking for help.”

I don’t think that it’s a pride thing. I genuinely don’t want to burden people with stuff that I have going on in my life. I also realize that I have consistently invited people to share in this journey with us. Begging for their affection and support. I can admit that my logic makes no sense. It is just as ridiculous as a dog chasing his tail.

I guess this is one of those things that I’m going to learn. Learn to ask for help. Not only from friends and family, people who I know love us, but acquaintances, even those more distant – strangers. People who love adoption. People who understand that this isn’t about Arthur and I.

It is about bringing an orphan home.

My husband and I agreed. The fleece we would put out would be our fundraising.

We both felt that we have been called to do adopt. We believe that God would provide everything. Strength. Patience. Understanding. Wisdom. Endurance. The correct caseworker. The correct agency. The correct country. The correct child. And yes, even the correct amount of money. All with the correct timing.

A close friend has reminded me over and over again (and will continue to) that the Lord will guide us, strengthen us and give us all we need,  when we put our yes on the table. No strings, no stipulations, no excuses. Just trust.

So I’m going to trust.

I’m going to stop obsessing about the $10 we have and just trust. I’m going to stop staring at the almost empty glass, and instead just be happy that there is a glass. I’m going to trust. I’m going to know that people love us, even if they can’t come, or don’t respond. I’m not going to place my value in anything or anyone besides The One.

Because I know the One who owns 1,000 cattle on 1,000 hills, and He even owns the hills.

AMENDMENT

 This blog was tidied up last night. And it was all true up the minute. This morning someone gave us a donation. I don’t know who put the envelope in our box. I have no way of finding out. But I do know that it was from the Lord. It seems that when you trust Him, He pulls through.

 What a blessing. What perfect timing. Many buttons = many $$

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More then Enough

Just a few days ago,

I asked very close friends of mine if they were planning on attending our first adoption fundraiser. I bopped up to them very excited about the prospects and quite honestly knew their answer. They would be there, of course they would be there! I smiled looking forward to having a great time with them and having in mind the responsibilities I hoped to give them.

My happiness of the task was deadened by their hesitation to respond. Each of them blinked, took in a sharp breath. “Yes of course. If you want us to be there.” Responding with confidence but slightly disappointed and confused, I assured them I wanted their presence.

Several days later the rationale was made known.

They told us that although we have every bit of their love, support, and prayers, they could not give to us financially. They simply didn’t have the money. They would babysit, they would love and hug our little girl, and send prayers for all of us, but they simply couldn’t give. If we wanted them to be there for emotional support, for help with set up and tear down, and encouragement they would be more than happy to help. But if I had expectations of financial giving I would be disappointed.

I was grieved. Disappointed that I had led them to feel inadequate. Annoyed at myself that I had reminded them of one of the greatest stresses in so many people’s lives.  Money.  But the message I want them to hear loud and clear is this.

Anyone can give me a $20 bill.

Anyone can donate money to our cause. The $20, $50, or $100 they might have donated will not make or break this adoption.  But the lack of their prayers, support or affection could. The very relationship  itself is something I am depending on; much more so then any cash or blank check.

I explained this with as much sincerity as was possible. There are very few people in the world who are as close to our hearts as they are.  I want them with us on this journey. I don’t want to do it without them.

This fundraiser is not just about raising money to bring a child home.

It is about telling her story. It is about being part of the process; giving an orphan a family. I take joy in the fact  that people who have been touched by our lives may be touched by this.
It has changed our hearts. It is making us better people, bringing us closer together, and allowing us to leave a legacy.

Come and be part of this journey.

 Walk with us, wait with us, pray with us, and welcome her home with us. No one can give us the love of your friendship and the investment of your time but you.

If that is all you can give it is more than enough.

An Easter Announcement

It was Easter.

One of the few years we’ve traveled to my husband’s family for this holiday. But we had something to tell them. Now you have to know that this side of the family is where the little kids are. With a 12 year old, 9 year old and four more under 5, this Easter egg hunt is for realsies. My in-laws home was warm and comforting, decorated in pastel colors, and spring flowers. Shiny green grass poked through each kids’ basket, disheveled by eager fingers. Jelly beans went missing way before dinner was served and the typical bunny was missing his ears, and his tail, just like last year.

 As I sat at the table, organizing this monumental  feast onto a plate not sized for such lavishness, I felt my breath catch in my throat. It quickly subsisted as I remembered how well things went during the first announcement. This would be just as enjoyable I was sure. They would be happy to say the least.

 I was right.

My husband declared our announcement among the other family conversation. Some wonderfully endearing things happened. Even as he explained that we were hoping for a little girl, her age range and nationality, his brother left his food, walked around the table and hugged us. His sister followed. That’s a big deal; leaving an Easter meal to offer an awkward hug. Especially for a guy. Especially for his brother.

His parents had no expression of surprise, but only delight.

It was as if they knew we were doing this long before we did. They exclaimed words like “wonderful news” and “very excited.”  Moments later my mother in law explained how they had determined to set aside time to better lend support, encouragement, and practical help once our girl was home. So we had everything we needed. All over again.

The day went on and the news sank in.

It came up in conversation as easily as we spoke about the chill in the air and the promise of Spring. It was comfortable, natural. We answered basic questions as best we knew. My heart was warmed as my brother in law said “Well, go get her! I want to meet my niece.”

Oh little girl. You are loved so much already.

I had to smile when I was instructed to stay away from a family member who might have measles. As if I was physically pregnant, not just paperwork pregnant. This news was real to them. And that made it all the more real to us.

My favorite moment of the day came near the end.

I knelt down to talk to my 5 year old niece. She asked what adopted was. It was such an innocent and intimate question. I remember when life was simple like this. I told her plainly. “Across the ocean is a little girl who doesn’t have a family. Uncle Arthur and Aunt Liz want to be her family. So we are going to go get her and be her mommy and daddy.” Explaining she will have another little cousin to play with. To which her Momma chimed in, “We are going to love her lots.”

 Oh my goodness. Yes we are.