Yes, friends, a big part of my current mania for emerging from the chaos is due to the number 41. But another big part of it happened this summer. Actually, it happened twenty years ago.
When my husband and I were just dating, we would sit up late at night at the Spires coffee shop on Lakewood Blvd. in Long Beach, California. It was open 24 hours and the staff just learned to bring a pot of coffee to our table when we arrived, generally after midnight. We would talk about anything and everything, but especially of our dreams. There were many dreams we found that we shared in common. These only cemented our feelings that we were meant to be together. Often, we would sit there until the sun came up.
One dream in particular never came to fruition--and it was a big one for me. Five years later, it still burned as brightly in my heart. Ten years passed. No change. By fifteen years after our talks at Spires, I began to feel despair creeping in. We had both talked about this as if it would happen, but here we were, no closer than we were back then, and worse yet; Andy didn't seem that interested in it anymore.
I was wrong, I've since discovered, but his lack of action was interpreted by me as a lack of interest.
I began to watch my dream--the dream I had thought was OUR dream--slowly slip away. It broke my heart. It was so important to me. It was so much a part of who I was at the core. It was so me. I had thought it was so us. I was wrong.
I've already written some about this, before the 31 Days Project began, so you can read more of the story here, but twenty years after we first discussed the possibility over coffee in the pre-dawn hours at Spires, we were finally going to pursue...adoption.
Since that family meeting on the deck at the end of August, mentioned in the more-of-the-story link above, my heart has been throbbing with the knowledge that my other kids are out there somewhere. I have been on the brink of tears frequently. Really frequently. Like several times a day, some days (like the last four days straight).
We don't know where are other kids are yet. We are leaning toward adopting internationally, perhaps out of the Philippines, as Andy and I both have connections to that land and we are quite comfortable with the culture--plus it is a relatively easy place to adopt from right now with an incredible surplus of orphans. We are thinking we want a sibling pair of older children, so the wait might not be as long as if we were looking for an infant. We are praying a lot. All the time. All of us.
Last night we went to our first adoption support group, where people at different stages of their adoption journey(s) can share openly. It was very encouraging to be surrounded with like-minded people. We came home even more inspired than ever.
We won't bring more children into our home when our lives are in this much chaos. We just can't. We must emerge from this chaos. We cannot live here any longer. The task must be accomplished--and soon--so we can officially start the process of finding our other kids and bringing them home.
Yes, I'm 41 and it is high time I grow up and start figuring out the best way to do this life. And yes, we have a bigger picture in our minds; we want to bring more kids into this crazy life of ours. Both things are highly motivating for us right now.
Sunday afternoon, I drifted off for a much-needed nap. There they were. My kids. All of them. I was standing in my (very clean) kitchen with my littlest one, a brown-skinned Filipino boy with a blue and white cotton button-down shirt and a shining, bright face. He reached up and grasped my hand and my heart flooded with joy at his touch. I was so happy to have a son again that was young enough to want to hold Mama's hand. As I looked down at his trusting face, the three older kids burst into the kitchen laughing about something together. My blond son and daughter and my dark haired daughter were sharing a joke and moved together as a single unit, a tangle of arms and legs and toothy smiles, coming toward me in an apparent search for snacks. I looked up at them, then down at my youngest son and thought to myself, "Look! Look at my beautiful family!"
And then I woke up.
And I smiled.