She sat on my lap through almost an entire church service just last week. She wiggled and talked too loudly.
She drew little pictures on scraps of paper and explained to me matter-of-factly that one of the smiling "heads with feet" was her and one was me.
She's a striking child with a sunshiny spirit and anyone would love to be her mother.
But not me.
She's somebody else's baby.
She is going home to an adoptive family very soon. And as I held her on my lap, I felt so lucky. I had flashbacks to my own adoptions and recalled just how I ached to hold my kids - even the "big ones". I scoured the internet for any church or individual who might have visited my boys' orphanages and posted a group picture somewhere online for me to pine over. I found youtube videos of my guys and even made cyber friends with a college girl who had been with one of my boys just the week before. Paydirt!
I hugged her a little tighter and thought "this one is from your Mama . . . to tide you over. Just until she gets here. I know she'd want me to give it. I have been in her shoes too many times to even wonder."
I worried before our move to this country that has given us such amazing children. I worried I would want to adopt every child I met who did not have a family.
But I'm finding a strange phenomenon to be taking hold of my heart. One I did not know existed for me.
I do love the children we work with. But they are not mine. I feel that in the most direct and no-nonsense parts of me.
They are somebody else's babies. Even those who are not yet matched to adoptive parents.
I remember asking someone, when I was still young and single
"how do you KNOW when a man you meet is the one you're going to marry?". And that person answered me
"you just KNOW".
That was an altogether unsatisfactory answer. I wanted some sign. Some marker. Some concrete, tangible "thing" to hang my hat on so I would know I wasn't making a huge, life-altering mistake before saying 'I do".
But my friend was right. . . .you JUST KNOW.
I find that same advice applies to adoption for us. Maybe it isn't like this for everyone. Maybe many of you out there have an algorithm that tells you if a child will or will not succeed in your home.
I'm just a goofy old romantic, I guess.
I saw my boys on the Special Homefinding List and my heart kind of skipped a beat. I felt surprised, like almost colliding with a stranger on the street when you are lost in thought.
Sometimes I looked up toward Heaven and said audibly "again, Lord? Really?"
But I knew it was a futile question. Because those were NOT somebody else's babies. They were MINE.
And when reading through a list of 30 or 40 beautiful orphans, waiting for Mommies and Daddies, having ONE jump from the page and shout "HERE I AM" is no small thing.
I now live in a world of orphans. I see them all the time. I know children in my everyday life who wait on that same Special Homefinding List that brought me my treasures. Wonderful kids. Sweet, deserving, beautiful kids.
But not MY kids.
Could it be that God brought us all the way to this country with so many orphans only to tell us that none of them are ours for more than a short time?
It could be. If it is so, I have peace there.
If not, and that lightening bolt of "oh my goodness . .. there's another one of MINE" happens, you bloggy friends will be the
first ones I tell after I give my husband CPR.
Until then, I relish the chance to love somebody else's babies. Investing in a child who needs to know how precious he is is never a waste of time, even for a moment.
And who knows? Maybe one day, I'll be on THIS side of the water and YOU will be stalking ME.
I promise not to call you crazy.
I won't laugh at your frenetic, disjointed questions or your 3am emails asking me if it is EVER going to happen.
It will. But until it does, pray and ask the Lord to send hugs to your babies from the arms of another Mama.
If she's like me, she won't mind.
She'll find it an honor and she'll know. . . it's just for a little while.