Kindred Spirits

I spotted some people we knew. Not really knew, but had enjoyed a few superficial conversations with. Subjects came up easily – and laughter flowed without hesitation.

She said – “Well, we can’t have kids, so we’re adopting.” I thought “Whoa that was bold, for people she barely knows.” A bunch of almost strangers sat around the hot tub with our feet soaking. The only things we had in common were our spiritual foundations for life and oh yea, we were youth pastors wives. So actually we had quiet a bit in common.

A year later after her jacuzzi announment, (2014) she and her husband sat under an umbrella with an infant. Their dream had come true. Her name was Madi. She was pink, wearing an oversized pink hat, with a pink onesi, sucking in her little pink fist.

And I didn’t go over.

I’m pretty sure I was supposed to. I’m pretty sure I was supposed to goo and gush, to ask questions, to congratulate. But instead I just said something lame – like “Oh it’s this your daughter?” They answered that they just solidified the adoption, as in a few days ago. I responded with an observation on how convenient it was that the adoption occurred on their way to this conference. Then I walked away.

Ignorant idiot.

I see now how stupid it was. How stupid I was. It’s embarrassing. I don’t love babies. I gush over a puppies and chipmunks, but a baby? Ehh. It’s just not natural for me. And because of the guilt that follows my insincere excitement I typically avoid them all together.

Then there was the real reason. I ran from any opportunity to talk about adoption even though I craved information. I didn’t want to come across a gossip, although I did want to know every detail. Specifically the ones that dealt with the pain of the process. Save the fluff, I wanted to hear the gore. I shunned every opportunity to feel convicted about that fact that we weren’t adopting. I wasn’t being obedient to this calling – and I didn’t want to be reminded of it.

So I casually avoided them all weekend and dodged eye contact.

But this year, this year I couldn’t wait to find her. Her eyes spoke what she later confirmed – we had to get together to talk. Because we had a lot to say. We wanted to revel in the joy of the worlds best kept secret. Adoption.

So now, because I’m changed, I can’t wait. Now, because I’m changed I want to hear all about that little infant and who she’s growing up to be. Now, because my opinion on adoption has changed, I can’t wait to hear all the moments of joy, the details of ache, the choice of perseverance, and the faithfulness of the Lord along the way.

I can’t wait.

Because no one understands my frustration and feels my joy like an adoptive mom. There is no better wisdom then that which comes from a momma who walked these steps before me.

I’m not afraid anymore. I’m uber happy, because hearing her daughter’s story is almost like I’m hearing ours. She’s well loved, crazily adored, and very much prayed for even though we’ve never held her.

We are kindred spirits even if it’s only because we adore a child we’ve never borne.

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Kisses Not Nips

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It’s kind of funny how life happens. You have no idea why things are out of your control and then suddenly you wake up in the rabbit hole and wonder how you got there.

When Jonsey died (I promise eventually I’ll stop talking about it. Never mind. No. I won’t.) I was irrevocably heartbroken. People may look at it as though we simply lost our dog. But for us it was, and is, an scarred imprint on us. It was life changing for our marriage, our home, and our everyday lives.

Months later, after trying to line my heart up with my head rather unsuccessfully, we meet Jadis. She was a silver, blue eyed husky, with an open white faced mask. I had seen her over and over again in my dreams; then there she was. I couldn’t deny her her rightful place in our family because my feelings were a jumbled mess in my throat.

It’s a crazy phenomenon how life happens. We’ve had Jadis just over three weeks. She has desecrated almost every room in the house. She refuses to understand that shoes are shoes, not chew toys, especially when they are on my feet. When I ask for kisses, I want licks, not teeth. I have to have my eye on her every minute of the day. It’s a bit draining to say the least.

She’s not a bad dog. In fact she’s pretty awesome. But I say all these things to emphasize just how much she doesn’t know. She doesn’t know we don’t want her to poop in the bedroom, or eat the warped drywall, or pull us into the road, or get her eye scratched out by the cat. She doesn’t know that there will always be fresh water for her, plenty of food and snuggles to the tenth degree! She doesn’t speak my language  I have to tell her over and over and over again.

I need to have patience over and over and over again.

She as no idea how to live with humans, how to be part of a family. She has no idea what her role is. I see the confusion behind her eyes as she stumbles through the day. It’s almost as cute her awkward inability to coordinate all four legs at the same time.

She is just like this little girl we have coming. She’ll have no idea. She’ll be so fearful. She’ll be confused for a while. She won’t speak our language. Nothing will be familiar. Suddenly her entire survival will depend on two white strangers. She won’t know what’s better. What’s best. And this will need to be communicated to her in every way possible, over and over and over again.

I realized while I’m wiping up the 32nd puddle of pee that day, that Jadis came home just in time. Like the red morning sky sailors fear, or the forshadow in your favorite flick – Jadis is my prep. Of course having her will be nothing like having a baby. It’s going to be ten times harder and ten times better. But she’s getting me ready in her own way.

I’m going to have to figure this out. How to be happy with not always being awesome. Jadis is helping me do that.  How to have patience over and over and over again. Jadis is helping me do that.

This is going to be a big lesson.

We’re getting ready for that little girl together. I’m trying to learn how to be an awesome mom and wife; and let go of everything else.

Maybe, I can grab a few kisses instead of nips along the way…

I’ve been Gooed

When I was a kid we put goo on trees.

It was this thick orange sticky goo that went around the trunk of each tree on our property. My dad said it protected the trees from the nests of caterpillars. Instead of allowing these disgusting creatures to build a tent of webs on the branches, these worms were caught; forever stuck and slowly suffocating in a transparent glob of slime. It was gross.

One of my friends got too close for her own good.

Maybe she was drawn by the gore of hundreds of insects caught in the sludge, or maybe she simply didn’t realize how close she was to the grime. But she got some goo on her leg. Suddenly she’d been slapped by a blob of jellied centipede legs, flightless wings, and bits of antennas.

She started screaming bloody murder. At first panic I just wanted to make sure she was alive. When I saw she was not only alive but standing, I knew it wasn’t life or death. Her screams told me otherwise. She wailed, hands pointing to her thigh – the portion of her leg left bare by her swimming suit – totally smothered in goo, and whatever insect was the first and last to attempt a crawl up a tree trunk.

It was a glop of amputated extremities and stilled life.

We eventually calmed her down, and some paper towels, good clean soap, and the touch of a mom took care of her frenzy. But as I thought about it, I understood how she felt. For hours after it had been wiped away she could still feel the glob on her leg. It had the deaths of thousands in it. She never really felt clean, even after all day in the pool and summer sun. Each season when the goo would be spaculed on tree trunks, and the webs would take over the empty branches she would remember the trauma all over again.

I am her. There is goo on my leg. And I stand frozen in disgust, but screaming in frustration. Someone help me. Get this goo off of me.
I can’t do it myself. I’ve tried. It won’t rub off.

I can not get this dossier out of my hands. It’s stuck here in the U.S.. Taunting me. I may need to just cut off my leg.

After celebrating our success, and my relinquishment of this responsibility, I’ve found out New York State is not acknowledging paperwork we’ve supplied. I’ve made over a dozen phones calls to no avail. I’ve found no one who knows what to say or is 100% clear on my situation. It looks like a day trip to New York is in my future – for a $3.00 notarization. Or a 12 week hold. Or a third option I have yet to discover.

I’ve been gooed. The dossier is stuck to me. I don’t see anyone in the yard running to my aid. I’m just screaming – stuck here with the the tentacles of paperwork threatening my life. Help.