I went grocery shopping yesterday. It was one of those times when literally everything had been eaten in the entire house and we were going to starve unless I bought some groceries. I'm an awesome mom and wife, I know. Well, I made the mistake of going in without a list, which basically means I went up and down every aisle and just picked up whatever looked good, unintentionally spending twice as much money as I should have. I'm also a sentimental shopper, so as I roamed the many delights of Walmart I began looking for something special to surprise my husband. And wouldn't ya know, I found it- Grapico. For those who may not know about Grapico, its actually just a grape flavored soda that I personally think is terrible. But I got a whole pack of it because I remember T.J. telling me a very sweet story of his childhood memories involving...you guessed it... Grapico. When I finally found it my heart welled up inside my chest and a smile stretched across my face, because, buying grape soda for my husband is more than just grocery shopping. Its a way of saying "I am thinking about you," and "You are important to me."
I started school again yesterday. Two days ago though, I was still nursing my pathetic double pink-eyed daughter so she couldn't go to daycare, lest she infect all her sweet baby friends with her weeping eye infection. So I went to the church office that day to visit my husband and father-in-law. Now, Madelyn's Pops loves her so much, with a big huge love that just leaks out of his whole body. He LOVE LOVES LOVES her. She has no chance to grow up a normal child because she will be absolutely spoiled rotten her entire life. Madi's Pops LOVES her. He does all these cute things just for her. They go out and look at the moon together almost any time its dark outside. They talk to each other and laugh. On this particular afternoon two days ago, they listened to Norah Jones in his office and "danced." All of those things are little bitty parts of the way he says he loves her, but all of them say the same thing again- "I think about you," "You are important to me," "I want to make you feel special," "I want you."
I went to the Passion 2013 Conference at the beginning of the year with my college Sunday school class. It was really an impactful and fun experience for me. I walked away from it feeling a renewed desire to love the scriptures and prayer, and to value exactly what Christ did for me. The more I thought about exactly what that meant, the more adoption came to life for me. Save the cross, we were orphaned abandoned children without hope ourselves. I was dead and dying and completely helpless, but God as a father in his love for his children, came down and rescued me. Regardless of the price or sacrifice, he wanted me. And it was of course the big thing, the saving thing, of him dying on the cross in my place and being raised to life that is so powerful and transforming in our lives. The ultimate sacrifice of his life in exchange for mine. But I also think about the little things he did in everyday life that were neither supernatural or extravagant. When he took pity on people and gently loved those who were offensive. When he scooped up the least of these and had patience with us in our foolishness. His humility and genuine concern for other people in their lives always said, "I love you, you are important to me, you have so much value in my eyes."
As we sit in this weird limbo between our hearts' longing and embracing our son, I've stopped to think of all the pain that will come from this adoption. Of course it is going to be healing and fulfilling and worthwhile, but I think most restoration comes with pain as well. Jack will wonder why his birth parents left and his culture was ripped from him. Our family may struggle with side-glances and prejudices. I already cringe at the comments from unintentionally abrasive people about being too young, or possibly adopting an older "defective" child who is black. Adoption is a Christ-mimicing desire, but even Christ endured pain in completing our adoption. It somehow seems unnatural to people that someone could love another person as if they were their own child. But God looks at us through the blood of Christ and does just that- and people don't have a hard time accepting that in their lives. Its kindof a double standard don't you think? And as my eyes are opened to the countless children growing up in this country and around the world without parents to love them, I'm shocked at how often we (myself included) choose to look away and ignore the suffering and loneliness and hopelessness of God's children. I want Jack and my many future children, adopted or home-grown, to know that I will sacrifice for them, that they are important to me, and that I care about them. I want my parents to cradle them to sleep and look at the moon with them and dance with them. I want to be brave enough to open my heart to the need in this world and embrace my children, smiles and scars and hardships included, in the same way Christ embraces me. Because they are worth sacrifice and pain, and patience.
It thrills my heart to know that one day I will see face to face the son that has already been born into my heart and the fabric of my soul, and that I can love him in an extravagant, passionate way for his entire life. And we will build memories and a life that brings him comfort, and value, and worth. And I wish that he could only know right now the incredible love I have in store for him. God willing, he will be able to look back someday and know that all along, throughout it all, I have loved him. And I am thinking about him. And he is important to me.