I couldn’t even handle it.
God’s grace + gifts bouncing around like a magical light all over my entire life. Ping-ponging from one aspect to the next. Bright, beaming goodness, overflowing my heart with gratitude.
We sat across the table from each other, dishes and mac-n-cheesy trays piling up on my left. Silent. Dumbfounded. This was our celebration dinner. And to my great shock, we were somehow at Souplantation instead of eating sushi. In my opinion, salad bars make the world go round. But, Jesse? I mean, this place doesn’t even have meat! I think his crazy stupor made the decision for him.
He’s shoveling honey buttered corn bread in like I haven’t fed him in days. I think we should maybe stop at Sprouts on the way home, but we both know that isn’t going to happen. My heart is racing. My leg is shaking. I sound like a maniacal witch laughing and tearing up at the same time. We look at each other and shake our heads and smirk in disbelief.
I think this might be what it actually feels like to find out you’re pregnant. I’ve never been pregnant. I don’t know.
Last October, when we finally decided to move forward with adoption, that sort of felt like my black + white sonogram post on Facebook. We were so excited!!! And willing + ready to do whatever we needed to do to make it happen, like yesterday. We had no idea what we were up against. Don’t get me wrong, we had done all the research. We read all the documents. We did our homework. But our hearts were so ready for hope + healing and something to go our way, we didn’t even consider how rocky it might be to get where we are today. And I think it’s better that way.
Fear of the unknown is the ugliest little fellow I’ve ever met. It’s what stops us from acting. And yes, knowledge is power. But only if you use it. And yes, we had consumed all that knowledge, heard the horror stories, experienced some of those vicariously through our friends’ misfortunes. But all the bad news in the world, all the fear, all the what-ifs, if you let them stop you from doing what you’re called to do, is life going to be as incredible as it could be?
Will all the hardships and letdowns be worth it to know God is not only cheesing it big time because we’re walking the path he has for us but he’s actually paving the whole freaking, scary way?!
Totally worth it.
I’m grateful for my early onset unrealistic expectations of what this process is.
I’m grateful I didn’t let the reality of it knock me down before we even got started.
I’m grateful for how Jesus has used my disappointments over the last 14 months (well, almost 4 years now, if you want to get really accurate) to draw me closer to him, to be more like him.
As we sit at that table and Jesse’s panicky (but grateful) eyes fill up with, “Holy *hit, this is really happening!” we say the same words over and over and over again. It’s hilarious to think how much disbelief exists, considering we’ve actively been pursuing this moment for so long.
All the paperwork, all the appointments, all the appointments we had to redo because of the country switch, the COUNTRY SWITCH!, all the times I’ve met our sweet notary all across the county, all the fingerprints and background checks, all the freaking tears, all the miscommunications, all the waiting for emails and real mail, all the trips to FedEx and all the copies made…
It is finished. Out of our hands. On its way to China. (Oh, China, please, please, pretty please, welcome us with open arms! We like warm hugs.)
And yesterday, I’ll never forget that day. Yes, because of the obvious. But also, and even more so because of the bright, beaming grace + beauty Jesus bounced all around my life, unrelated to, but magnifying the glory of all that was accomplished.
People I barely know, friends, clients, adoption workers, my parents…Pouring praise, excitement + encouragement on me. No dinky raindrops, but heavy orange Gatorade coolers dumped on my head. One interaction would be enough, in itself, as I’m ultra-aware of affirmation. It’s my love language. I’m a cheerleader for so many in my life. It’s my favorite uniform to wear. (Except, I’m totally not the cheerleader type. Let’s not get mixed up about that.) So, when it’s aimed at me, I acknowledge it easily and feel it something fierce.
You see, it’s not about Jesse and me and this sweet, dark-haired girl, it’s about all the people who pour into our lives.
It’s about the “How are you?”s (“No, really, I love you and HOW ARE YOU?”s) and the “Thank you”s and the “I can’t imagine what you’re enduring, I’m here for you”s. It’s about the random phone calls from friends, offering incredible invitations out of the blue. It’s about someone you barely know, offering empathy and going the extra mile in what might seem like a small interaction. It’s about clients who turn into friends and send text with ridiculous amounts of happy emojis. It’s about effort and intentionality. It’s about filling the dark, scary gaps in life with togetherness.
Thinking something kind about someone else, and, instead of holding it close, trapped inside where it’ll suffocate and die, it’s calling them up and telling them. Passing the baton of hope + light. Letting go of the inhibitions of being too emotional or guarded. And, instead, vulnerably, breathing life into truth and praise and acknowledgement. It’s glorious strength spreads like wildfire. A seemingly meaningless sentence has exponential potential. It changes lives.
And it’s changed mine.
I’ll always remember yesterday because we walked out of FedEx with our black + white sonogram photo. We laughed crazily and cried (well, just me, but that’s usually a given) over our red trays at Souplantation. But, it was also a day filled with beautiful, bouncing light of praise and encouragement from so many people who probably didn’t even realize their words were actually trumpet blasts of hope, magnifying, signifying what this is all about anyway.