July 30, 2008|Comments (31)
I know what you are thinking: what on earth is that picture and this post doing in the “Family” section?? Please allow me to explain: whenever I see a basket filled with eggs or a stack of plates, I think that there must be a lot of people to cook for. And in this case, that’s exactly what it represents: the large family that God has planned for us to cook for and love on.
These are the children that spoke to our hearts upon seeing their picture. They first inspired us to think about adopting more than one child at a time. Of course, we have no idea where they are, what they are like, or who else saw them and thought, “What beautiful children with such lovely smiles and hopeful expressions! Wouldn’t it be great to meet them and possibly adopt them?” We all but gave up on the thought of adopting a sibling group of two or more. It was impossible. We couldn’t swing it financially. There was just no way.
Having given up, we faced our adoption home study interview question, “How many?” with great sadness. We explained that we were certainly open to raising two-four children and had, in fact, carried those four children on our hearts this entire time but after careful consideration we knew that we couldn’t afford to give them the life that we want for our children. Sibling groups were out for us. We simply couldn’t begin to provide for more than one. Our interviewer smiled knowingly. “Are you sure about that? You know that with three or more children comes a monthly stipend to help cover the cost of raising a large sibling group? Also, there is a stipend for special needs children.” We were stunned. We had no idea. None. And the amount? Well, it will cover the fuel, food, and clothing costs that had us worried. We had no problem with adopting a special needs child. Not at all. That wonderful interviewer asked again, “How many?”
“Four. Definitely.” Josh and I said in unison.
July 30, 2008|Comments (16)
Yesterday morning, I drove to a nearby grocery store to meet my friend, Michelle, to pick blueberries at a farm in our county belonging to a member of our church. Loaded down with buckets and bug spray, we made our way through the gate to a blueberry patch the length of one of those hideous stretch-Hummers and nearly as wide.
Gorgeous ripe blueberries hung from every branch, often in clusters of half a dozen or so. Some burst in my hands as I scrambled to pick them while resisting the urge to snack. Okay, I didn’t fully resist. I didn’t resist at all. Who could? And why on earth would they? The best part of berry picking is the feast to the senses and a terrific distraction from my jumbled thoughts about the adoption house inspection in just a few hours.
As I took in the sensory smorgasbord that surrounded us in the slow cooker that is southern Georgia, I couldn’t help but be amazed at my good fortune to be in that moment; in that place. With the soft sounds of the blueberries hitting the bottom of my bucket and gentle whisper of a high breeze in the trees above us, I felt overwhelmed by the simple abundance before me.
Leaning fences topped with long-rusted barb wire washed up memories of days on The Farm with my grandfather and flooded my heart with the peace that I craved. As I reached for blueberries to pluck them from the vine with already stained fingertips, I wondered about the children we would have and if they would one day see our farm as The Farm. Will it fill them with heartsease? Will they look back upon their life and feel blessed to have shared in the blueberry picking or instead view it as a senseless chore?
My berries neared the top of the bucket when Michelle rounded the end of the patch and appeared with rosy cheeks (from the heat and the fact that she was on the sunny side of the blueberry patch). All smiles, we made our way to her van and I snapped a few pictures while we discussed the adoption home study, the four children that were on our hearts, and how we had basically come to the conclusion that we couldn’t afford to adopt a large sibling group at this time. If only those wicked gas companies knew that they were the main reason that four beautiful children would not be adopted by a couple who wanted them upon seeing them. We decided to have lunch at my house and continued chatting while taking in the scenery. Georgia had some showing off to do.
As we passed trees laden with golden pears and backyard vineyards which promised sweet muscadine wine, I reflected on the pros and cons of adopting a sibling group. I’d priced trading in my car for the minivan and while we could handle that expense, we couldn’t handle the fuel costs of transporting the children to birthday parties, T ball practices, soccer games, swimming lessons, and ballet. We are also unwilling to deny our children those experiences. After all, hadn’t they been denied enough already? Michelle reminded me to let go and let God (something that you, my dear friends, have said before). I decided to take everyone’s advice.