When Loren announced to the youth group that we were pursuing adoption, joy reverberated through the entire room like a train may as well had just exploded through the wall and launched itself straight through. In those precious moments, it settled into my vision that these are some of our biggest fans. These kids have been with us for years, some nearly five. They aren't kids anymore.
The sound of water swishes around and around, twirling our clothes and towels and laundry galore into a heaping tangled mess of dirty-to-clean sudsy water. I am in the corner of the laundromat, the sun is down and it is past 9 pm on a Tuesday. It's nearly 10. I woke up early this morning, 5:30. My eyes burn with exhaustion and my body shakes from lack of nutrients. We forget to eat on days like this but remember to guzzle caffeine like its a life source. As I loaded the square washing machines, dirtied up by someone else's daily life, the ground messied with garbage and soap spills and broken bits of God knows what, it hit me again: we are adopting.
I am in a laundromat, and we are adopting. Despite the fears, we are here, and we are in it.
Since the day we moved into our delightful apartment, we planned to move into something bigger and much more house-like when babies were coming. We nearly moved 3 times in the last three years, with great hopes of nearing that stage. We agreed: if there is one thing we need when we have spitting-up-pooping babies, its a washing machine. Ain't no one got time to go to the laundromat with a newborn and without sleep. We never moved from that apartment. We remain in the same small apartment that we have made our own, our home, where our hearts have entangled and intwined into one and we pray that the Spirit of God flows in and through by the way of peaceful presence. Our hearts and His Spirit may reside there, but a washing machine doesn't.
Against all odds, we are adopting.
I am in a laundromat, and we are adopting.
Do you even know the amount of fears that have surfaced leading up to hiring Susan [consultant] and stepping into this process in faith? The fears are few in number but great in weight: money, owning a home, money, nice THINGS. Always in America it seems to return to, things.
For months I would research and look at family profile books of those who have gone before me - you know, the books that birth moms look at and pick and choose their adoptive families. I would scour them and search for them and learn them and study them. Nearly every single adoptive family either owned a giant home or appeared to. Giant homes with yards and fancy cars and definitely multiple bedrooms, like at least 4, and most certainly they had washing machines. There was no way we could ever pursue adoption, living in this tiny apartment, with this small income, with no washing machine. No birth mom would ever subject their child to that.
But here we are. Sitting in a laundromat at 9:45 pm on a Tuesday after being up and going for 16 hours straight...pursuing adoption.
Our income? Insignificant.
Our way of living? Simple.
Our home? Small. Rented. Apartment dwelling.
Our community? Mind blowing and more amazing than I could have ever dreamed up.
Our hearts? Expanding daily by the grace of God and the power of His way. Willing to bend beneath His grace and be shaped and broken and shattered before His throne, for the love of Pete. Or Christ. Yes, for the love of Christ.
Tonight at youth group, the kids shouted and hooted and hollered and my heart was moved. These
kids students love so deeply; they love like Jesus. They love a child they do not know, but have high hopes for. Two of them brought us cash to purchase/sponsor puzzle pieces. (Go to the bottom of this post HERE and see what the puzzle is about!)
As I loaded the towels my heart was conflicted. The joy is increasing, my joyous highs are gaining height, but in the quiet and the silence and in the empty laundromat after 9:30 pm, my heart still grieves from loss. The lows are still devastatingly low. I am learning to dance the dance of grace, which sometimes means joy and sadness all wrapped into one; I am learning to live in honesty, whatever honesty may be, and acknowledging that He is there in the honesty. That He is very present in the joy and He is very present in the sorrow and that He is very present always. That joy and grief and sorrow and pain and Hope can all reside in one heart at one time; because of Him.
The fears still surface. Fears like, what if we don't get chosen? what if she chooses us but changes her mind? what if we lose another? what if our home study is not smooth? what if we don't get as many grants as we are hoping for? what if...? But just like any fears, I must do my very best to submit them, hand them over, and trust that He is writing this story for a purpose greater than me. Greater than us. Greater than we will ever know. Because it isn't our story, its His. We just have the honor to play a small part in it.
This journey is clearly led by Him, by God. He has taken our hearts and is leading us one step at a time, one day at a time, in faith, trusting Him. He has not proven Himself untrustworthy. Renting a home, living simply but honestly, a mostly fundraised income, using the laundromat...we are in this process of adoption. So day by day, we place our hearts in His hands, sometimes multiple times a day, and we say, "I trust you. You are here out in the unknown territory. And you are good."