I had my forty-first birthday a few weeks ago and received the usual assortment of cards and gifts. My parents sent me money, which is always a treat. I stash it and don’t allow myself to touch it for any reason, except for my own pleasure. I’m already debating – put it towards our new kitchen or continue to save for my coveted Kindle? My husband bought me a new digital scale, which did not get him put in the doghouse! I actually have been wanting a replacement for awhile for our capricious dial-type scale that was a wedding present nineteen years ago. There were other gifts, too, but this year, I received something very special from my friend, Sara.
She gave me a couple of gift bags full of treats and at the very bottom of one I found this sparkly, pink pen. At first I thought maybe it was a nod to my writing aspirations, or perhaps it was just because she’s been shopping with me enough times to know that I naturally gravitate toward anything that sparkles! But Sara explained to me that I was to save that pen and use it to sign our adoption papers.
I nearly cried.
After years of being led, and some trying months of attempting to resist, nearly a year ago my husband and I agreed to step out in faith. We would pursue adding to our family through adoption. Specifically, we would pursue adopting a little girl. Since we already have four boys, that last part was a bit of no-brainer! I long-ago found contentment in mothering my little men and accepted that God thought our house needed an over-abundance of testosterone (evidenced by football in the house, rocks in my washing machine, and a plethora of body function noises). But,a small, wistful, part of me continued to dream about things pink and frilly!
For a variety of reasons, we eventually decided to pursue adoption through our state. We watched God open doors that should have remained shut. We began to meet people, seemingly everywhere, who had already traveled the road we were contemplating. We got into classes that were supposedly full already.
We began to prepare our boys for the possible changes in our house. To our relief, they were receptive. We did some bedroom shifting. For the first time in my life, I had a reason to buy soft pink paint! Soon, I had transformed a bedroom previously painted in homage to the Dallas Cowboys and Greenbay Packers, into a beautiful room, fit for a princess. We bought a safe for our firearms and did some required repairs to the house. I began to read about reaching the wounded child and how to successfully integrate an adopted child into one’s family.
In December we finished both our training and our home study - definitely one of the more arduous challenges in our married life, thus far. After weeks of waiting, while I imagined up every possible scenario whereby the state would refuse to issue us a license, we received both our foster care and adoption licenses. We were so relieved – everything was coming together!
We began to wait. Everyone asked us, “Have you received a call yet?” and we’d shake our heads. Not this week. As January rolled into February, I found myself wondering if we had misheard God. Maybe He had been telling us to adopt a cat and we misunderstood “cat” for “child.” Perhaps He was up in Heaven shaking His head even now at our foolishness. Or maybe all this had just been a test of our obedience, like when Abraham was called to sacrifice Isaac. Maybe God never intended for us to actually add to our family, but just wanted to see if we would be willing.
I would pass by the now-pink bedroom and sigh, wondering if there would ever be an occupant.
Then my birthday came in March. And I received the gift of hope from my friend. Her gift said, “I know you can’t see it right now, but I believe!” I felt God whispering to me to hold tight, to believe that we had been led, and to be patient and let Him work.
A picture formed in my mind that day – my husband, me, and our boys… with a little girl in a courtroom. My hand is poised over a piece of paper as I prepare to commit myself to a lifetime of mothering another child.
And in my hand is a sparkly, pink pen.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.