In only seven days, they will be here. Anticipation rises. But so does peace. These children, strangers to us physically, will be home. It might be a temporary home, or it might turn into a forever home.
Either way, they will never be strangers again.
Recently, I was talking with Little Man about Sunshine’s arrival. Ever the schemer, he regaled me with his plans. We would do this, we would go there. And when he says thus-and-such, she will laugh. And then she will play with him and they will have so much fun. And then….
“When she comes back in the summer, Mama, can we take her swimming?”
The summer? We didn’t even start yet.
And we talked of Soccer Boy, and how sometimes things are different than what we thought, and I told him all about student visas and work visas and all the complicated things that are involved in bringing older teens to America. And he understood, and was overwhelmed. So I explained that a family is needed to sponsor all of these things.
And with a wave of a hand, he said, “Well, that part’s easy. We’re her family.”
Oh my child. My sweet, soft-hearted one.
I told him that other people might think what he said was ridiculous. Those are the very objections people bring to me. They don’t see her that way—to them, she’s a stranger. And why would you bring some stranger in to be with family at the holidays? Why would you give up your traditions and events to be with some stranger?
Little Man looked offended. “But she’s NOT a stranger, Mama. She is ours. When she comes, we will know her. She’s my Christmas sister. She’s our family.”
But we don’t KNOW her, buddy. That confuses people. They don’t see that kind of family all the time. And they don’t get why we want her here if she is not able to be adopted. What’s the point?
“The point is that everybody needs a mama. Everybody needs a family. Soccer Boy didn’t stay, but he’s still part of our family. And we love him. And we love her, too. Adoption isn’t the only way to be a family, you know, Mama.”
I know, my boy. I know.
And there was One to whom we were all once strangers, now made not just citizens, but members of the household. We don’t have official papers, but we know we are part of the family. Fully sons and daughters.
How can I not do the same when I am presented with one who was once a stranger? How can I not invite her in?
And she will be ours. Perhaps only physically with us for this season. Perhaps longer. But always ours.
There are no strangers here.