Okay, maybe he’s just a sweet little boy who deserves a family for no reason other than that he was born. I wanted to share a little bit more about this handsome cub, since I forget that not everyone knows as much about him as we do. I think it is easier to pray for him and relate to our journey if you have a more tangible idea of who he is. You can sneak a peak of our little man here, but I can’t share his picture directly on our site. (Reese’s Rainbow chooses “internet” names for waiting children, since their given names are withheld to protect their privacy). But seriously, isn’t he amazing?
So, let’s get down to business: What do we know about Boo?
Well, we know he has Down Syndrome, obviously. We know his birthday, and this little man took his first breath in this extraordinary world two weeks before his brother, in June 2012. We also know he has an open oval window in his heart. What exactly that means, we don’t know. Heart conditions are very common in children with Down Syndrome, but the fact that he isn’t on any medications and/or hasn’t needed surgery for it yet is promising. Of course, until he has a full work-up here, we just won’t know the intricacies of his little body’s engine.
There is a possibility of some hearing loss. The reality is that his hearing loss could range from almost nothing to almost everything. Again, we won’t know until he’s home. Doctor reports indicate that he doesn’t react during hearing tests, but all Kojak children are stubborn. Notes from his caretakers mention responding to their voice, so that makes me think he hears something. Truthfully, this is probably our biggest medical unknown. Are we scared? No. Will we feel better when we have the complete picture and can build a road-map for the way ahead? Absolutely.
But really, our biggest unknown with Boo is whether or not he’s really ours. See, the thing is, his country (for completely understandable, ethical reasons) can’t officially match us until our dossier is complete and has been approved by the central government. In the meantime, another family could be working toward Boo, and we would have no idea. It’s not likely to be an American family, because there is only one other US adoption agency working in our country, and we have committed to him on the most prominent site where he is listed. But there could be a family growing him in their hearts in another country, feeling the same intense love for him that we do. And that’s hard. And scary. When we learned there was a possibility we could work for months getting everything together only to find out he had JUST been matched with another family, we thought maybe we should be cautious with our hearts. In the end, it will be a blessing for two boys. Because Boo will have a family of his own, and we will be able to adopt another child, who also desperately deserves to go “home.”
It would make sense, we thought, to not get attached to this little dude in the meantime. It would be safer, less emotional, and easier on everybody to keep our hearts guarded. We can fall in love with him once we are “officially” matched, right? But the Lord doesn’t give us a spirit of fear (2 Tim 1:7), and this snuggle puppy snuck right in. If I stop to think about all the things that could possibly happen, then yes, I start to worry. But right now, what’s the point in thinking about any of those things? I am being called to love him, and love him fully, recklessly, and completely. Is cautious love really worth it anyway? It’s possible I’m loving him extra hard for another mama, and in the end, that has to be okay. Make no mistake, it will be extremely painful, but still worth it.
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
We also know that Boo has lived in the orphanage his entire life. He went “home” from the hospital to his orphanage, and it’s the only family he has ever known. We feel lucky in that it seems like he is being taken good care of, and is loved, and is clearly well-fed. 🙂 But honestly, realizing we will be taking him away from the only home he has ever known breaks my heart a little. Okay, it breaks my heart a lot.
Can you imagine? You can only remember waking up in one room, with children all around you. One of your “mamas” comes to change you and feed you. You have a very predictable day, and a routine that makes you feel safe. Each day, you know what to expect. You don’t feel the loss of a family because you aren’t old enough to know that it’s supposed to be any other way. You just feel like you. This is who you are. This is all you need.
And then one day, two strangers come and take you. You can’t understand what they are saying. They separate you from your room, from your home, from the only people you have EVER known. From the only people you love. You can’t understand them, and nothing looks the same, smells the same, feels the same. You heart has been smashed into a million pieces. I hate that. I hate that I have to hurt him, even though I know he will heal. I hate that I will be the source of so much pain.
I think you dream about picking up your baby, and you think SOMEHOW they will just KNOW you are their mama. They will reach for you and (as an amazing soundtrack plays in the background) you will drink one another up, eyes locked, minds melding. Even though I know that’s likely not my reality, I can’t stop those daydreams. But the truth of situation is that I will be a stranger to him. A stranger who takes him away from people who have loved him since the day he was born. And I worry about how that will feel for all of us.
I said in an earlier post that we shouldn’t be afraid of hard, because hard almost always turns into something beautiful. But how do you explain that to a two-year-old? So start praying for his heart now, friends. Please. We will all hurt, and we will all cry, and we will all undoubtedly feel the ache in our bones from the pains of growing as a family.
We’re not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.
C.S. Lewis, Letters to An American Lady
In Redemption Group, we talked about how God’s picture of redemption always includes pain and trial. Say what?? I know, it doesn’t sound right and it doesn’t make sense to our flesh. We like it easy. But if Jesus had to suffer for our redemption, why do we expect it to be easy for us? Adversity reveals our deepest beliefs about God – it shows us what we are expecting from God and what we believe to be most true about Him.
I can’t help wanting to tell God what MY picture of redemption looks like in this case. I mean, it would be beautiful, it really would. But here’s the thing – it actually doesn’t hold a candle to HIS picture. We just have to be willing to do the work to get there. We can’t be afraid just because we don’t understand, just because it’s hard. And in His story, I will be the source of unbearable heartache for my child. I hate it, but I trust Him. I know the ending (no matter how many years it is in the making) will be more incredible because of it. So I just trust. And obey.
The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self–all your wishes and precautions–to Christ.
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Baby boy, I’m so sorry. I really, truly am. But we just love you too much to let you stay. I know you’ll be scared, and lonely, and confused, and hurt…and I can’t make any of that magically go away, although I would give anything if I could. But I promise I’ll be brave for both of us – I won’t let you go, and I won’t leave you, and I won’t give up on you. One day at a time, it will get better.
In our family we generally do a better job of explaining how we really feel through music, so this one’s for you Boo. Mama loves you.
***Update: I just recently learned from other mamas from our country that a good number of their babes were listed with hearing issues. No one has turned out to have significant hearing loss. Sometimes it has been multiple ear infections and ear tubes issues, but no actual hearing loss. Of course, this actually guarantees nothing, but I thought it was interesting. We will love this boy just the same, of course.