When my son first came here, I wanted so badly to bond and connect with him in a deep way. If you know anything about adopting older children from hard backgrounds, you can safely assume that none of that happened.
Every once in a while, something would trigger a memory in him, and he'd start to open up. Actually, the stories would just pour out of him on those random occasions, and I had to make myself emotionally available to him to take it in and listen intently. Those moments came while we played a game of ping-pong out on the back porch, while we drove to church, or while we cooked a meal together in the kitchen. Any other time I wanted to know about his life, the boy stayed silent. His stories had to come out in his time, when he was ready to talk about it. It didn't matter how busy I might be, if I didn't take advantage and listen, I'd lose out on those memories forever.
By the time I got up yesterday, I'd already mentally planned my day. Help Juan work on a few scholarship applications, get groceries, do laundry, clean house, etc. I got Juan up fairly early and told him he needed to shower and eat breakfast before we sat down to work on his applications together. He wanted to know why I got him up so early, and I told him because I had stuff to do later in the day, so we needed to work on his stuff in the morning. So, he plopped down on my bed with my computer while I worked at my desk on other things. He said he'd shower and eat later. Since I had other stuff to do outside the house, he figured we'd better get to work right away.
A week earlier, he'd already written a pretty compelling essay for one scholarship about all of the challenges he's had to overcome in his life and how those challenges helped shape the goals he now has for the future. He'd already broken the ice and started to tell his story, and I was so proud of him. This next application had a similar theme to what they wanted in the essay, so I figured he wouldn't have a hard time just rewriting the same stuff, tweaking it a bit for the scholarship's intended purpose.
Boy, was I wrong. Rather than start typing, he started talking. He "talked out" his story before writing it, this time with so much more detail and emotion than I've ever gotten out of my son. Ever. I think we connected more deeply in those next few hours than we ever have since he's been here. To hear him verbalize his side of our story and hear him tell how God brought it full circle, even now to reconnecting him with his dear sister--it was absolutely priceless. It broke my heart to hear the anguish he felt when he had to let his sister go, and I don't know that he could have done that if he didn't have her back in his life now.
Forget that he still wasn't showered or dressed for the day or that it was just weird having him sit on my bed with the computer while I sat on my chair. Forget that I had stuff to do and felt like time would slip away from me. It was a moment I knew I needed to drop all responsibility and just listen. Take it in. Let him talk his heart out. Those moments of his life that I completely missed, moments that shaped who is he today, and now he filled me in on a few more holes.
When I made a commitment to reprioritize life and learn to say no more so I could say yes to the right things, this was one of those YESES that God was preparing me for. God doesn't want me to live life running from here to there so much that I miss out on those small moments because I don't have time for them. And you know what? I still got groceries later, did the laundry, and caught up on the bills. I did everything but clean house, and that can wait another day. A clean house isn't nearly as valuable as the time I got to spend connecting with my son.
And isn't it like God to add a little icing to the cake? Just as he started to talk about making that anguishing decision to let go of his sister, guess who popped up on the screen to say hi! That same sweet girl that God recently put back in his life.
A miracle indeed. In His time.
- I am a wife, daughter, mother, bilingual teacher, poet, author, women's Bible study teacher, world traveler, orphan advocate, and an adoptive mother. Our adoption journey has been filled with a lot of hurt and loss, along with even more hope, grace, and healing. Through it we have experienced more of God than we ever bargained for and have watched Him miraculously redeem our story when we surrendered all the broken pieces to Him.