Part One: Risk Taking
Sitting outside one afternoon, I talked with a friend while Gus climbed up on our fence, just about a foot off the ground. Thud. His bottom hit the ground.
A few tears, a hug and all was healed.
When I glanced over again, there he was up on the fence. Again. Why does he do that when he JUST got hurt? He’s just going to fall again, I thought.
But, I kept on watching him. Tiny feet stepping across the bar. He stretched his legs around corners.
I could see the risk was minimal, but for him, this was a difficult mountain peak and he was climbing without gear.
He didn’t fall again. This time, he called out to me, “Mama! I did it!” In his 3 year old brain, he made it to the summit.
Part Two: Hosting
The conversation I was having that afternoon was about hosting Big L again. Project 143 told us that we needed to decide if we were going to host her again, or if they should find her a different host family. I told my friend how I didn’t want to host. I didn’t want to open myself and my family up to more hurt. I didn’t want to get myself off the ground again and take the risk.
I had starting to feel peace in the uncertainty, not ready to make a decision about re-hosting or adoption. I wanted to begin the healing process, not rip the bandaid off again. But, we needed to decide.
I talked with those few people I know will offer me wisdom in the face of a huge decision. Questions like, “What does it mean if you don’t host her again?”; “How will you feel if… (insert any number of probable scenarios here)?” “If you don’t, do you think you might regret it?” And, support like, “You can do hard things.” and “I support you no matter what you decide.”
On that day, I hadn’t talked to Big L in over a week. She hadn’t been online and I hadn’t called her either. Our last few phone calls had been pretty forced. She would barely talk. But, I decided to try calling, before we made a decision about hosting.
Instead of listening to the phone ring and ring for a few minutes, I got a quick answer and a happy “Hi!” I was shocked and the only thing I could think to say was “I miss you.” “I miss you, too,” she replied, without hesitation. She asked me about our family and, as it was getting quite late here, I was the one who told her that I needed to go for a change.
I had been ready to give up, but that little conversation was the spark of hope. Maybe the girl we knew is still in there.
Aaron and I agreed after that: Saying “no” to hosting meant saying “no” to her forever. Saying “yes” to hosting meant one more chance.
I thought of all of the people who have been a constant presence and source of encouragement in my life, all of the people who have loved me when I made mistakes and given me second chances, all of the wonderful people who’ve had my back no matter what. The people who’ve showed up for me even when I haven’t deserved it or wanted it or had any inkling that I needed it. People like my own mom, my sisters, the friends who’ve loved me for years. The answer was clear. Give her another chance.
If there is one thing that I know about God, it’s that He loves us with a relentless love. A love that never gives up, a love that endures, a love that chases you and seeks to meet you wherever you’re at.
And if there’s one very most important thing that I believe is my responsibility as a follower of Jesus, it’s to be a reflection of that love. To do my very best to love people unconditionally. Even, especially, when it hurts. Here’s our chance to live that.
This isn’t about adoption. We’d still love to have her as a permanent part of our family, but even if this only gives us clarity on adoption and a few more weeks to pour love into her, that’s okay, too.
We can’t worry about the bigger picture right now. As Glennon Melton says, “just do the next right thing”. The next right thing is four more weeks.
Part Three: A Matching Grant!
We have about $3000 to raise in the next month to cover her hosting fees. A super generous friend offered us a $250 matching grant, but before I could even share this news here, I shared it on my personal Facebook page. As of right now, $320 has been donated, taking care of the matching grant! We still have over $2000 to go. Thank you to everyone who has donated and shared about our need.
Here is the link to donate. All donations are tax deductible.
…also know that Moose Prints will be returning soon and I’d love to squeeze some fall photo sessions in as well!