So where were we?
I think I had told you WHY Hubs and the boy and I were a tightly-bonded family of three for eleven-and-a-half years. A two-foot-long blood clot will do that.
By the time the boy had turned two, I was happily adjusted to the fact that we would not be having any more children. Yes, I had wanted brothers and sisters for the boy — I had wanted a house full of kids! — but apparently God had other plans, and neither Hubs nor I felt like we were supposed to adopt a baby. The end. We were the Three Musketeers, and we were happy…
…even though I always felt like somebody was missing.
When the boy was about seven years old, I found an online picture gallery of children in the United States who were waiting to be adopted. And there, right smack in the middle of hundreds of kids, was a 9-year-old boy named Nick. Nick was in Utah… he had been abandoned by his mother… he was in foster care… he was waiting for a family to adopt him and claim him as their own. I thought his picture was adorable. I showed him to Hubs, and Hubs said, “But he’s nine. We won’t know what kind of problems he has; there have been nine years for negligent people to mess him up and hurt him, and can we fix that? I just feel like the boy should maintain his birth order in our family. He’s the oldest kid. If we ever were to adopt a child, I would still want the boy to be the oldest.”
I showed Nick’s picture to my friend, Katie, who had been working in the social work field for years and years. Katie has helped families adopt; Katie has helped families get home studies done; Katie has counseled kids like Nick before, numerous times over. She told me that she could definitely help us get started, if we wanted to pursue Nick. I didn’t even know if we did want to pursue him; I thought he was adorable, and my heart ached because he had no family to call his own. I showed his picture to Hubs again… and again… and Hubs’ heart was getting very soft towards Nick, so I emailed his social worker in Utah. I simply asked about Nick’s availability for adoption… what kinds of issues or struggles he might have had… and what we would need to do. Four long days later, she emailed me back and said that Hubs and I would need a home study done before she could even consider speaking to us.
And then Nick’s picture disappeared from the online gallery. I was shocked. He was gone. I like to think that a family who was already home-studied had scooped him up, forever and ever, and that he was happy.
And that ended all of my thoughts about adopting an older child.
We eventually began to build the house that we’re living in. We designed the floor plan, and Hubs told me that I could either have an extra bedroom upstairs, or I could have my laundry room upstairs. Without even hesitating, I yelled, “THE LAUNDRY ROOM!!” Because what mother enjoys running up and down the stairs with a full laundry basket, seventeen thousand times a week?
None of them. That’s how many.
At the last minute, I told Hubs, “You know? It makes more sense to have three bedrooms on the main floor and the laundry room downstairs. As much as I hate to give that up, let’s go with three bedrooms.”
Hubs said, “What will we use the third bedroom for?” Because honestly, all of our family lives right here in Small Town, USA; we never have overnight guests who aren’t the boy’s buddies. And when the boy’s buddies stay, they all throw sleeping bags on the family room floor in front of the Play Station. There ain’t a single one of those buddies who would say, “Gee, Boy, I sure wish you had a guest bedroom that I could sleep in tonight.”
I told Hubs that I had no idea what the extra room would become… maybe we could use it as a TV room upstairs, and that was that. Hubs rearranged plumbing pipes, and the laundry room went downstairs.
When our house was still in the framework stage… when just the stud walls and the sub-floor were up… my sister and Katie came over one night while I had the boy at his gymnastics class. They later informed me that they had prayed over the entire house, just asking Jesus to bless it and the family inside of it. And then they said, “And we had a Sharpie pen with us, so we wrote some scripture verses throughout your house on your studs and floors.”
I’m telling you… if you don’t have a Sister or a Katie in your life, you should get one. They’re precious people.
It was fun finding the Bible verses that they had written here and there and everywhere, because they were in obscure places. It was a treasure hunt to find them! They were written at the tops of studs… at the bottoms of studs… in the corners of rooms on the floor… on the ceilings… everywhere, in funny places.
On the floor of that third bedroom… the one that Sister and Katie both knew was going to be empty… they had written verses about having more children.
And then blam! The Sheetrock went up… the hardwood floors went down… and we eventually moved in. The Bible verses are still there, in Sharpie pen, but no one can see them any longer.
And then I began the lifelong process of hauling heavy laundry baskets up and down all of those stairs! The third bedroom became a TV room, complete with a sofa and a fifteen-inch television set.
Time passed along.
When the boy was about ten, I began feeling a big pull that we still had a child missing. I began to talk to Jesus about it, and I simply said, “I feel like you’re shouting NO at me on the adoption front, so if You mean for us to add a family member, then please bring that child to us. I don’t know where to find him, so I’ll just trust that You’ll drop him on us.”
More time passed.
The boy turned eleven, and I told Hubs, “Listen. What do you think about adopting an orphaned preschooler from Ecuador? Wouldn’t that be kind of cool to have a little preschooler running around the house again?”
Hubs was not feeling the pull to adopt an orphaned preschooler; he just wanted a new Cadillac.
My pull was enormous, and so…
…Hubs and I looked online with Compassion International, and we sponsored eight-year-old Anthony. Anthony lives in Ecuador, and he’s so cute, I could just pinch him. He needed a sponsor to send money every month, so that he could go to school and have health care available to him, as well as daily meals. Hubs and I signed on for the job. We showed Anthony’s picture to the boy, and the boy asked, “Oh! When will he come live with us?”
Yes. That was the problem. Anthony would NEVER live with us; he would continue to live with his family, who loves him very much, in Ecuador, and we would simply write letters to him and pay for him to not know as many hardships as he already knew. But my heart was with the boy — I wanted Anthony to move into our house, too; it was just never going to happen.
This was last November. November of 2011. We sponsored Anthony on November 21st, and we found out that his birthday had been on November 19th. He had turned eight two days earlier.
We still sponsor Anthony to this day, and I love, love, LOVE when we get a letter from him in the mail, written in his carefully-done, Spanish penmanship. Since my Spanish vocabulary is limited to the words TACO and BURRITO, we’re thankful that a translator rewrites his letters on another page of paper for us. Anthony wants to be a police officer when he grows up, and he has asked our family to pray that he could become a bit more obedient in school!
Now, through all of this, Sister and her husband HAD been called to adopt, because it was just too risky for her to have a third biological baby with that Factor V clotting disorder. In 2009, they had contacted an adoption agency. They had jumped through the hoops, stood on their heads, filled out mounds of paperwork, had strangers come into their home to see how they lived… again and again… and then they’d gone onto a waiting list for a newborn baby.
On November 23, 2011, after almost two full years of waiting and wondering if it would ever happen, Sister got a call. A seventeen-year-old girl on the other side of our state had selected them to take the baby girl that she was DELIVERING THAT VERY SECOND! Thanksgiving was the following day, and Sister was planning on hosting it at her house. She called in a panic… she threw a turkey at her mother-in-law, she threw a ham at our mom… she threw clothes into a bag… zipped it up in such a hurry that the clothes were still hanging out of it… she said, “I’m so sorry for missing Thanksgiving!” a dozen times… and she and her husband raced out of town for the long drive ahead of them.
They brought Little H home the following evening, on Thanksgiving Day. She weighed just over six pounds. She was the tiniest, cutest, most adorable thing ever. And what a special time of the year to get her… on Thanksgiving Day, when proper thanks was given for her arrival.
I won’t lie. I felt a pang of jealousy, and STILL! Still, I didn’t feel like I was supposed to rush into an adoption of any kind. The boy was so head-over-heels in love with Baby H, that he could barely take it. He held her all Thanksgiving night, when she was barely twenty-four hours old. He rocked her, he whispered in her ear, he rubbed her head, he gave her a bottle. He was smitten with his new cousin.
That night, just like every night since we could remember, I sat down on the edge of his bed, tucked him in, pulled up the covers, and listened to his prayers. At the end of his prayer that evening, the boy simply said, “And, Jesus, please bring me a baby sister, too. I would really love to have a baby sister. Amen.”
And do you know what I said? I told the boy, “Honey, we’re not getting a baby sister.”
He said, “But you and Dad could adopt one!”
I just shook my head and said, “We’re not supposed to adopt one right now, and Mom and Dad are getting old.”
Because, goodness! Hubs and I ARE old; we still remember Aerosmith when they weren’t senior citizens!
On Friday, the day after Thanksgiving last year, the boy prayed the exact same prayer at bedtime.
I told him, “Remember? We’re not getting a baby.”
On Saturday night of that Thanksgiving weekend, he prayed the prayer again.
I didn’t say anything.
On Sunday night, he did it again.
I just kissed his forehead and said, “Sweetheart, it’s just you and me and Daddy.”
But Jesus was listening to the boy, and He had other plans…