Monday, November 26, 2012

It is not enough

We drive across this beautiful dusty town, into a serene neighborhood with pretty houses behind tall walls. Our driver rings the bell and we walk through the gate and there, on the lush green lawn, sit a couple dozen precious, adorable toddling orphans.

One of them will soon be mine, but she doesn't know that yet.

I scan their faces, looking for her. There she is. We slowly walk across the grass and sit by her, cautiously. She gradually lets us come closer, touch fingertips, hold hands. She plays with my necklace, which is why I wore it. Then she lets me take her in my arms. 

But only for a moment. Her nanny leaves the yard, and the sobs begin, and they do not end.

We move upstairs to the little room she shares with beautiful twin girls. It's very small and I try and engage her and she is having none of it. Her suspicions are too high. Probably she's been suspecting something for weeks now. Her heart knows something big is happening, she has no idea what, but she's terrified of it. She cries and claws for her nanny, pushes us away, holds her arms across her little chest, shakes her head adamantly. We finally leave because I can't bear to torment her anymore.

It was not a Kodak moment.

I was not surprised, really. The reports from the agency had told me that she is extremely attached to her nanny. This is good. The fact that she has chosen one person and not every person means that she will probably be able to transfer those feelings of attachment over to me, to us. It's best that she's not "shopping for a new mommy" as a friend put it. It's good. Great. Yea.

But today? Today it stunk.

All I could think of was how hard this is going to be for her, when we come back to bring her home. All I can think about is the grief she is going to experience, the confusion, the pain.

To her, her nanny is mommy. She will believe - she suspects - that I am there to tear her away from the only 'mother' she has ever known.

And the truth is, I am going to do that.
Because she is not mommy. 

I have been paid to care for other people's children in multiple capacities since I was eleven years old. Some of them I have even loved. But it is a love that runs only about an inch deep. When the job or the school year ends, there is a sadness that lasts briefly, and there are fond memories, but that is all. The void is quickly filled by the new small faces replacing the ones that just left. It is a poor substitute for the love of a mother, whose heart would never fully mend if she were to lose her child.

I know this. Her nanny, a mother herself, she knows this.

But Bethie does not know this. Bethie doesn't know that it's not enough.

It's not enough for her, or for any of the babies sitting in the sunshine on the lawn, or for the thousands of children who roam the streets of this city, or the millions of orphans in Africa and America and everywhere else.

It's not enough that my soon-to-be daughter believes that a woman who is paid to care for her and a several other babies is mommy. It's not enough that inch-deep love is all she has ever known. She deserves more.

All children deserve more.

But convincing her of this will not be easy. Teaching her heart to exchange that inch-deep love for the unmeasurable, unending, my-heart-would-never-mend-if-I-lost-you love - the love that surely her first mother would have had for her, had she lived - will be long, and hard, and brutal.

And honestly, when I saw the easily given, gummy smiles of the infants in the next room, I realized what we had given up by adopting an older child.

Yet as sad and scared and intimidated as I am, I'm humbled that God has chosen me - me - to teach this child what it means to be loved by a mother.

Aaron Ivey says,

The call of orphan care is not a call to simply "save the orphan". The call of orphan care is to share in the suffering of the orphan. It's to intentionally position yourself, your family, your community, to suffer alongside the orphan. To say, 'Your suffering, is now my suffering. Your story, is now my story. I willingly position myself to suffer alongside you.'

I hear the call, baby girl. Your suffering is now my suffering. Your story is now my story.



Because the love you know right now? It is not enough.











51 comments:

  1. oh beautiful Missy. And I know you know this - but Livvie screamed the first day, another friend of mine - her little one screamed every day. And now her gorgeous whole faced grin lights up her Mommy's FB page. A real joy. It will come.

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  2. Sweetness. And yes.

    We will pray her heart to you, friend.

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  3. Oh Missy. This is one of the THE most beautiful things I've ever read in my life, and I'm not exaggerating. I learned from this, felt my heart tear in two from this, was inspired by this, grateful for this ... wishing I were not 50 and able to do this. I get it, Mis. I get it.

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  4. Rest peacefully, Missy. God is working in sweet Bethie, too!!!

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  5. Ooooooh the tears. Lots of tears over here. It IS good that she is fearful of you. Praying for both your hearts.

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  6. You KNOW she's the one He chose for you so He will complete that...so sorry for the pain today brought you, but there will be great joy to come.

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  7. CHILLS. Praying for you as you rest (I hope.)

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  8. PRAYing for y'all, Missy. Sweet Bethie WILL get it - praying that it happens miraculously quickly. God bless.

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  9. We had to leave our son in Uganda for six months. When my husband came back for him, we prayed it would be a beautiful "Daddy! You came back for me!" moment.

    We're still waiting for that moment almost a year later. Our child was FURIOUS. Twice we had ripped him away from everything familiar. Once we had him ripped out of our arms, literally. He didn't know who he could trust but he was sure it wasn't us.

    Love and trust comes slowly and softly. The months ahead hold great sorrow and grief and heartache for all of you, especially Bethie. But the day will come when you see a small victory (just a few days ago my son started letting me kiss him goodnight and didn't violently shake his head no when I told him I love him).

    I'm praying for all of you, especially your Mama heart and Bethie's little heart.

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  11. Oh I pray for you. She'll see, and things that take time are sweeter. (But you know that. It's been a long road.)

    I guess the adoption wasn't finalized, so we can't see her?

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  12. Sobbing- for you, for your sweet baby girl, for this journey that seems endless. But also at the power of the Lord's grace. So humbling and incredible!

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  13. I cannot thank you enough for this post. Really. I found that our soon-to-be son is in foster care in his country and not the institution we assumed. I immediately felt guilty, knowing that we will take him from the only family he has known to make him ours. I needed to be reminded of inch-deep love vs the kind I have, and will grow, for him.

    I hate that adoption has to be loss before it can be amazing gain. In our cases, loss of country, loss of culture, loss of pretend "family", loss of sights and smells and sounds. I hate that our kids have to experience that loss, but I know that our God has an amazing plan for their lives...and I trust Him. Hugs to you and your sweet girl! Praying for all of you!

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  14. I remember these feelings...and it's hard, but God is there in so many ways for you on the journey. You have the strength, the love, and the faith for this. Praying for all of you. ((hug))

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  15. Prayers for wisdom to know the best ways to reach her and peace for your hearts and hers.

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  16. Praying, praying, praying. Much love to you and yours, friend.

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  17. Praying for all of you. That Bethie's heart will be moved and softened to you and that you and your family will be prepared for what may lay ahead.
    He does not lead us to anything that He will not lead us through.
    Blessings~

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  18. Praying for you from Idaho... I love that God hears and applies prayers prayed in Idaho to a sweet girl's heart in Africa.... and to her Mama's. Missy, she is SO beautiful. Her profile, her sweet hands, and her feminine layered shirts. This is Bethie, the one we have prayed for with you!!

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  19. I don't know what to say, except that I said a prayer, and that I need to thank you for writing this. We're in process to adopt again too, this time looking older, and I love how you wrote out the pain and the love and the struggle you're entering into. Peace and love and hope to you.

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  20. Beautifully written. I think it takes someone very, very special to adopt, and you and your husband are obviously very, very special! Prayers for all of you.

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  21. Praying for you, Bethie and the transition for your family!

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  22. Praise the Lord for the healing that will take place, the comfort, peace and that love you speak of that she will find. Praying for y'all.

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  23. This is both breathtakingly beautiful and ripping my heart into small pieces.

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  24. Beautifully said, Missy. I know you ache for her to see how much you love her and I'm going to be praying she attaches to you and your family very easily and quickly.

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  25. Beautiful and so so true. Praying xoxo

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  26. Man, Adoption is so hard! BUT, so worth it, and we know sweet Bethie needs a mommy not a nanny. Been there, praying and so excited for your family. Every bit of hardness is So, SO worth it!!

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  27. Don't ever stop with this. This is right where God wants you to be. To see the kind of love He has for us. He wants more for us just like you want more for your baby girl. I'm a foster mom and I see a lot of 'tearing' away. It's hard, but it's what He desires for us.

    You teach her that that kind of mothering is not enough for her and, eventually, that your kind of mothering is not enough for her. only Jesus.

    Safe travels. I prayed for your family tonight.

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  28. Missy, I'm friends with Marla Taviano, and she just posted your blog on my facebook just saying you were in Ethiopia meeting your little girl. It's incredible how your story is so similar to ours when we met our boys. They love their nannies. Out of all the children in their transition home ours were least interested in us. Crazy, though, how so many friends who have been through this have told me this is so normal and so good. I also think that what you're doing is representing God's love for us, so the enemy is all over it to discourage. Praying for you, and so thrilled for you!! thank you for sharing.

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  29. Real love always involves sacrifice . . . and I only wish it didn't have to cost our little daughters their first families, or the loss of the only world they know, or new mamas their torn heartstrings. I'll keep on praying for comfort and peace and bonding.
    Nancy

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  30. wow. well, that is real and raw and beautiful. i am sorry for the pain today. sometimes knowing joy is coming doesn't make the present hurt feel much better in the moment. praying for you and for her.

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  31. Lifting you up in prayer! Beautiful post.

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  32. Oh, praying for you and Bethie!

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  33. Your words - your love - both, so beautiful!

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  34. Praying for ALL of you, Missy. Crying with you, too. This was beautiful. A great representation of Christ's love...thank you.

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  35. Dear Missy, Walker and kids,

    This is sad but we know in the end God will bring the love and bonding.

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  36. Oh, Missy. I keep reading this and I just cry and cry and I really don't know what to say.

    Every week when we take communion, our pastor reminds us that in the breaking of bread, we are agreeing to share in the suffering of Christ. That in the wine, we agree to be poured out as He was. As I read your words and Aaron Ivey's words on suffering, I think about Eucharist, the Sacrament of the Altar, and how you've willingly laid down your life in pursuit of this dear one.

    My heart is ever with you. Thanks for speaking so real.

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  37. I am crying! So precious...praying for you and your beautiful girl. Thankful for a Father who heals hearts!

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  38. That was real and so beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your heart so openly. We, too, are adopting older; your refreshing, real perspective is so appreciated. Praying for you and your whole family.

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  39. Thank you for sharing your whole heart!! Praying for your family!!

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  40. One of your best. Love it love it love it.

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  41. My 26 month old wanted nothing to do with me when we met, but she delighted in my husband and my dad. It was so hard. It took her about a month to decide that she really liked me. My 5 year old was terrified the day we met him, but the next day he had decided we were ok and hasn't looked back. God will knit your hearts together in time. Thank you for your beautiful post.

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  42. I loved this and can empathize so much with your words and our three adoptions. Thank you!

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  43. Missy, THis has been such a long journey for you! I think of chatting with you at the adoption conference in Austin a couple (3?) years ago when you were just at the beginning of all this. And now finally you're here...on the brink. Hope the rest of your visit is good and that the last bit of your wait will be short.

    Many blessings,
    Mary, momma to many

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  44. Thank you so much for sharing this! I love reading your blog! Can I share your blog on facebook? I just wanted to check! We were just in Ethiopia for court on the 8th. Now waiting for that final step to bring our son home! Praying for your family!

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  45. Oh sweet, sweet baby girl. Mommy is coming to take you home.

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  46. Beautifully written. What a calling.

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