I’ve been thinking a lot about time recently. The time we get to have with the ones we love, the time it takes to find them, and the time we wait for them to again be in our arms.
Three years ago, I counted time in pretty typical ways. “Christmas is coming” meant there were only weeks left until the traditions and exchanging of presents were upon us. Summer break always felt too short because school seemed to come too quickly. I counted money pretty typically, too. We numbered out payments until my loan was paid. We carefully counted out our pennies until we had saved enough for a new game console.
Since I started on this hosting journey, it’s all different. “Christmas is coming” means there are only weeks left until sweet Eastern European accents are upon us. Summer break always feels too short because it means letting go of a dear one we desperately want to hold on to. And counting money is different as well. Now, we number the payments we need for a chance to see heart children again. Now, we carefully count out the pennies so that we can get to travel to them.
More than anything, it is this journey that has made me long for heaven.
I think that heaven will be a place where I don’t have to officially be “mother” or “sister” or anything else to be family. I think it will be a place where I don’t have to be labeled “spouse” to be intimately connected. I think it will be a place where there is total and complete understanding of a coming together that this Earth has no space or language for.
It is a place where time apart never has to be counted. It’s a place where money doesn’t limit physical connection.
We are people made for relationships. And sometimes, I think this special “family” that I have here—the Wilkins, Sprite, Sunshine, Little Man, and me—I believe it is my little slice of heaven. Here in this broken world, it is an oasis of pure affection not limited by traditional definitions. Certainly, it is marred by distance and damaged people, by our own demons and the demands of society. I know that it is unusual to find a girl living 3000 miles away and discover that she owns a part of my very soul in hers. I know that it is a little weird to be a “frant” (that’s a friend-family-auntnotaunt-person-thingiemagig) to children I’m not biologically related to. And I know that it’s even stranger that I count a boy whom my friends are adopting in that clan of people I claim as my own.
But I know that it’s because our Earth-bound minds don’t have ways to articulate the bonds that the heart creates.
I wish there were words to express the way this family fits together. I wish there was a way to reveal the depth of affection my soul feels for each of them. I wish that there were ways to convey as much as I want to the love I feel for each of them. That’s what I long for the most: to be freed from the shackles of strictly defined relationships, and to burst through the limits of language to explain it all.
I wish that I never had to say goodbye.
But until that time, I regard the days we are all together on this Earth as the place where true joy lives.
It has been a full year since we were all together.
The Wilkins have been working to adopt Sprite for quite a long time. Every six months, they have brought him here, and we love and we laugh. And then we let go and we weep for such goodbyes.
Sunshine has been absent since last July. She chose to move out of her orphanage, which made her ineligible for hosting. She took a job to pay for her apartment, which meant she could not come here on her own for any length of time. The hole that she leaves in our little group is palpable. Her shadow falls at the strangest of times, and we feel the weight painfully.
It has been a long, aching year. We have counted out the days and carefully pulled together our pennies in the hopes that we would see one another again.
And now, I am so grateful to announce that in September, we get to have that slice of heaven again on this Earth. We are ALL heading to Sprite and Sunshine’s country!!!
The Wilkins got their referral for Sprite, and were invited to his country to proceed with their adoption.
Little Man and I will be flying with them.
Sunshine will meet us at the airport.
After a year of absence, I will get to touch her face, put my arms around her.
For eight days we will have the closest thing to heaven that can exist here on Earth. Eight glorious days. Eight days for all the pieces of my soul to commune together.
And I know it won’t be perfect. It will be touched, as all things are, by the broken. We will hurt with our words. We will be unable to express fully the depths of our love for one another. It will be shadowed by the inevitable goodbye. It will be life through a glass darkly. But it will be life together.
There is nothing more I could desire to have in this whole world.
At the end of the eight days, I will be flying home with Little Man and the Wilkins’ bio children so that they can return to school and all things earthly. Bryan and Stephanie will stay on with Sprite for a month.
And if that was all, I think I might die.
But I am so grateful that it is not all. I am thrilled to announce that I have been selected for the New Horizons for Children interview team. I will spend 10-12 more days in Sunshine’s country.
Within a few days of flying home, I will board a plane again and return. I will get to hold my girl again. I will get more cuddles with Sprite. I will get to eat and laugh and love with the Wilkins in country a little more.
But I will also be working with an organization I am most passionate about. I will get to pursue the hearts of other children there. I will get to meet dear ones who don’t yet know the love of a family. I will get to listen to the hearts of those longing for a connection. I will look into eyes that whisper hope for a thing that they don’t have the words to request, because it is not something they know how to speak.
I get to meet children who need some of you. I get to be that first tentative connection from their hearts to yours. Heaven again.
And so now, we ask you to count down these days with us. Measure out these long hours and these empty coffers and pray with us. Specifically:
- Pray for the Wilkins. Bryan and Stephanie will both be living overseas for almost a full month. This alone is quite an undertaking. But they have recently had some unexpected health and job hardships, so this adventure is requiring an even bigger leap of faith than they first thought. And this is just the first of three required trips over the next year or so.
- Pray for funds for the Wilkins. Both are taking leave from their jobs. They are renting an apartment and paying for living expenses and court costs, all without any funds coming in. If you would like to support them financially, please give here, or contact me for additional ways to fund them.
- Pray for Sprite. Pray that this time of transition from his country into ours goes smoothly. Pray that he has opportunities to share with his new family the things that are important to him in the place he is leaving.
- Pray for our bio children and their caretakers. Both the Wilkins children and my Little Man will be staying with grandparents during the days when the adults are overseas without them. That’s a long time to be without a mama’s hugs.
- Pray for Sunshine. She is currently on her own and working a job. Pray that she would get time off and be able to invest fully in the moments that we have together. Pray that the hours would miraculously stretch and that the words would pour out like the widow’s oil. I so long for her to be with me. Pray that there are rich opportunities for this.
- Pray for me. I will be in the air a lot during the month of September. I will be working long hours on the interview trip, sometimes late into the night. Pray for my health and my stamina.
- Pray for my finances. I will also be taking off almost an entire month of work, between going with the Wilkins and the interview trip. If you feel led to support me financially, you can do that here, or you can contact me directly.
- Pray for the children I will meet. Pray that I can advocate for them effectively, and that they will find families this Christmas that would breathe new life into their hearts.
Thank you all so much for the way you have supported us and this strange, winding journey we have been on to find one another. You, too, are part of what heaven will look like in my mind. Thanks for being glimpses of it here on Earth.