On this day exactly one year ago, Little Man and I sat in a food court eating Auntie Anne’s pretzels, and I broke the news.
This was our last year.
After four years of waiting for adoption or foster placements, I was finished. It must not be meant for us. It must not be what my life was supposed to look like. It must be a closed door.
I would give it one year. One more year of waiting. Then I was calling it.
We prayed together for wisdom, and he talked about being sad that he didn’t have a brother yet, but mostly he was interested in eating his pretzel. And if I’m being completely honest, I didn’t believe that a year was really going to make much of a difference. Everything would likely stay pretty much the same.
How wrong I was.
Not even two weeks later, I heard about New Horizons for Children, and I thought it sounded like a great idea. For someone else. Not for me. I was a single mom with limited resources, and little to offer.
But something in me leapt at this idea. I found myself pushing down these “crazy ideas.” And then I whispered to my friend about my thoughts…maybe she should host? Nope. She thought I should and tasked herself as my personal fundraiser. It was really all I was waiting for.
And thus began a grand adventure. Soccer Boy. Sunshine. Friends hosting and supporting. A new community rising to fill a cry in my heart I didn’t even know how to define.
This year has been among the hardest in my entire life.
So many things have been stripped away. So many things that I thought mattered. They don’t.
This year, I have made less money than I have in many years. But I have been richer than I ever thought possible.
This year, I watched as friends moved onto new things without me, and as the social life I had built slip away. But I have found a community of people who live with hearts a half a world away, just like me. And I have found those local to me with like-minded spirits, and I have begun to build again.
This year, I have seen my brokenness and my shortcomings loom large. But I have seen God’s grace loom even larger.
This year, I have felt pain in my soul so intense that I cannot bear to move. But in my desperation, I have been given access to the well of joy and love that refreshes and whispers truths for every teardrop.
This year, I thought, would be an end to so many things. And it was.
We are not the people we were a year ago.
We are changed.
Today, I took Little Man out again, just the two of us. And we sat in the food court again. And I asked him what he thought of this year. We had reached our deadline. What do we do from here? What did he think?
“I think…how long until the next hosting?” he said.
He never ceases to amazes me.
And we talked about the ways that he is different. He is kinder. More patient. He has died to himself over and over. And even in the midst of the intensity of this hosting, he wants to do it again.
Why? I asked. Why, when it is so hard, and we cry so many tears, and we make so many sacrifices?
“Because we love them. Because it’s kind. Because I like pillow fights in bedrooms and bike rides with a summer brother and making cookies with a Christmas sister and because…well, because our home is so much better when they are here. It’s full up.”
So is my heart, my boy. Full up.