Monday, May 04, 2015

Adoption Journey: Part 3

[Click here to read "Adoption Journey: Part 1"]
[Click here to read "Adoption Journey: Part 2"]

We finally scheduled [read: hounded CPS relentlessly until they caved] a personal visit to meet Asa. We only had a two-day break between two consecutive weeks of ministry travel, and we needed to get our hands on that little guy! The girls were at "Grammy Camp" at my mom's, and Landen was away working at summer camp, so Luke went with us.

On a bright and steamy morning in July, we drove to the social services office in Smith County. And we waited.

Eventually we were led to an out-dated little room ... stale with musty smells and muffled noise. The room was equipped with a small play table, a crate of old toys, a sunken sofa, a creaky glider, and a camera mounted in the corner. With holes in the upholstery and a sticky film on the floor, to me it felt like a neglected thrift shop.

Soon the case worker walked in with a child who had been woken from a nap, taken from his car seat, and dropped-of by his foster mom. We wanted to pounce, but needed to be patient.

He began to cry. I looked at him and gulped back tiny hot tears.

Philip took him and held him close, but the stranger-baby who seemed supernaturally familiar continued to cry.

I watched helplessly (while shutting down emotionally ... ever-so-slightly ... it's what I do).

We tried all the tricks in our six-kid book. Nothing would soothe his frantic cries.

Ultimately he gave up and fell asleep ... his face sweaty and swollen from emotional exertion.

At one point, he opened his eyes and looked up at me. It was disturbing to me that he was neither soothed nor scared by my holding him. He just lay there still, slowly blinking those gorgeous big brown eyes at me ... ... still interjecting mini-gasps for every other breath.

We gently took turns holding that warm, wonderfully squashy baby boy. We rocked and took pictures and whispered words of hope.

Our two hour visit seemed both brief and eternal - over an hour of emotional strain mingled with many faint rays of hope and glimpses of bright possibilities. 

I remember a few details...
His shirt smelled like fresh laundry. His big brown eyes had a sad glaze that didn't quite match the cheerful photos that had filled my mind to that point. He seemed healthy and strong. I remember Luke being quietly helpful. And Philip was amazing - confident and nurturing and strong.

The social worker came in and announced that our time was up. We packed up the baby and his gear, and soon the foster mom walked in. We introduced ourselves, thanked her for her kind efforts and care, awkwardly kissed Asa goodbye, and handed him back over.

I will always remember the shirt Luke wore that day. I read it a hundred times while I bounced and paced and shushed that sweet baby boy - feeling so completely inadequate.

"Protect this house, I will."

I know I can be SUPER cheesy ... but God made me this way, and He knows how to speak straight to my dairy-laden soul. And so I believe - that in that moment of weakness - He gently reminded me of His promise ...

"Protect this house, I will."

The car ride home was pensive and silent ... except for the Casting Crowns cd in the background.

Lift your hands, lift your eyes.
In the storm is where you'll find Me.
And where you are, I'll hold your heart.
I'll hold your heart!
Come to Me, find your rest
In the arms of the God who won't let go ...

The next day Philip and I drove back along the same stretch of highway to take a flight out of Dallas. As we passed the Tyler exit, I thought about how close we were to Asa - and still so far away.
My emotional dam found fault, and gave way.
Tears steadily streamed down my face onto my shirt for more than an hour.

The gravity of this beautiful mess.
It was almost too much.

God had mercifully ordained that we spend the next few days at the Celebrate Recovery National Summit. A marvelous place where brokenness is encouraged, recovery is celebrated and messes miraculously morph into messages.

Surrounded by soul-level companions, [and exactly zero children, ahem] we were able to process all that God was doing. We worshiped and learned. We looked at Asa's photos often, and phoned our kids at night. We dreamed big dreams, believed the best, thanked God for being in charge, and prayed for grace to trust Him more.

* to be continued

[Click here to read previous posts on Adoption]