Saturday, July 28, 2012

Should We Leave Well Enough Alone?

Several years ago I heard a statistic that has haunted me.  I was visiting my mother in Florida and we were enjoying a carefree day swimming, jet skiing and listening to her awesome Bose sound system blare through the house.  "If one family from every organized religious group in America would adopt one child from foster would eliminate all children in foster care".  ELIMINATE ALL CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE?!?!

I paused, all be it for a moment, from my menial sunbathing.  Sometimes, a moment is all God needs.  I resolved quick as lightening to "do my part".  I briefly questioned if the statistic was true.  It didn't matter.  I had already decided.

I decided - in that instance - that we would adopt one child from a foreign country and one child from foster care.  We were ALREADY in the process of adopting from China.  Convenient.  Half way there.

3 years now Eli has been home from Henan China.  And that statistic still plays in my head.

Nowadays, B and I regularly toss the "we should leave well enough alone" line back and forth at the appropriate times.  When people ask, and they frequently do, "Do you plan to adopt again"?  We answer, "We already have 5 kids".  5 kids IS a lot.  We are reasonable people.

(I'd like to throw it in here - for good measure that adoptive families NEVER ask "if we are going to adopt again".  It's usually people who HAVEN'T adopted that enjoy posing this question to our already large family.  Makes you wonder...)

I sometimes think, sure we could be "less selfish" and muster the income for "one more".  But money doesn't provide for more emotional energy...or any kind of energy for that matter (the sane part of my brain yells to me).  If I were honest, some days I have the very thought that if we have to only PRAY for one more human being we're going to fall over the deep end.  We are tapped out so it appears.  I can't deny this fact.

I resort to saying "We're closed" and vow to save every dime so that when Elizabeth, Hosanna, Benjamin, Victoria and Eli decide to adopt (and I'm convinced they will) -- like King David funded Solomon's rebuilding of the temple -- we will be prepared to help our tribe bring the lonely into their families.  

I get relentless with my friends.  "You should adopt" "When are YOU going to adopt" "I'm SURE God wants you to adopt".  I'm very popular.  They've stopped having me over.

Yet, the stirring in my own heart is strong. Occasionally, I have the SUPER INSANE thought like we could even adopt a TEENAGER (of all things)!  I mean, if not us, who?  WHO IS GOING TO ADOPT THESE CHILDREN?  Yes, I'm yelling that.

How do you know when God is calling you to do something?  I hate to be very non-spiritual here, but my litmus test is simple.  When something moves from a "good thing we COULD do" to something we feel personality "RESPONSIBLE to do" -- well then, we say it's a calling.

So where am I going with all this?  No where...everywhere.  We have been learning to trust God's timing more and more -- and TODAY isn't it.  There are many reasons we feel tapped out.  But that doesn't mean TOMORROW won't be the right time.  And if it comes down to simply lending our maturity and resources to the next generation to adopt, we are happy with that too.  We are open hearted, and praying.

We should probably leave well enough alone.  But anyone who knows us, knows we have no intention of doing that.  Leaving well enough alone isn't even in us.

What about you?  What is it you should probably leave well enough alone, but in your heart, you know you have no intentions of doing so?  

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Got'cha Day - Our Third Go Around

Today was our third anniversary of Eli's "Gotcha Day"!

Three, busy years since we came home with a very scared, speechless, frail little boy.

Admittedly back then, I looked longingly at my friends adopted children, all of whom had been home at least three years and wished for their level of normalcy.

My expectations for Eli and the RamFam  in July of 2009 were conjured up in the mist of jet lag and culture shock (mine first, then his).  

Simply put, REST and COMMUNICATION topped my wish list.  You can read about that here.

Eli has learned quite a bit more than a "few English words."  He starts Kindergarten in the The Classical Academy...with the rest of his peers.  He will need the special concession of a spot close to the teacher and larger font, but that's it.  He knows his letters, all their sounds and is very much looking forward to reading!  He's learned to ride his bike, write, and this summer  - has enjoyed swimming like a fish.  He's been on a cruise to Mexico and was the third in our family to summit the Great Sand Dunes of Colorado.  He greatly enjoyed a recent trip to MiMi's house where he swam in the ocean, played with his cousins and rode his first roller coaster.  He's become quite a popular "friend" to neighborhood kids -- and anyways, who wouldn't want to play with such an easy going, sweet guy?  

During our first days alone together, I felt the Holy Spirit impress on me that Eli's "transition" would be slow, yet uneventful.  I didn't always trust that this would be the case, but low and behold it has been accurate and we are thankful for it.  

Probably the most significant sign that our son is doing well is that he has stopped asking us, "Are you coming back?"  This was the first English phrase Eli learned.  In the first year and 1/2 he would ask that question at least 45 times a day.  Today, I'm thankful to say, I don't remember the last time he asked ANY of us if we were coming back.  We indeed do - come back.

Three years, and Eli has now been a "Ramsdell" for longer than he was an orphan.  A significant milestone -- for him and his family.  We are thankful and still expecting great things!