Monday, 31 July 2017
Grieving in community
My last post was written in the midst of coming to terms with the end of our adoption. It was loss and pain and grief. The dying dream was personal. It felt like something was being torn out of my heart, taken from me. Much of writing it was like wrenching my hand open because I desperately still wanted to grasp it, hold it close just a little longer. And I did. I couldn’t publish it for a week.
In between writing it and publishing it, though, the feeling changed a bit. I healed a little. I accepted more.
It was because during that week, through my own tears of grief, I looked up and saw the other families. The ones in the same boat as us, who were seeing their dreams of a Rwandan adoption fading even as they grasped at the last sliver of light coming through the closing door.
These were the same families that were my competition during the paper chase. The same ones I raced to the start, calling in a favor with a notary public or paying for expedited shipping just so I could grab a spot in line in front of them. (Of course, we all learned later that our spot in line didn’t matter much.)
Once our paperwork was there, I thought in a benign way that it was nice to have others to walk this road, only nothing was happening. We talked about waiting. We all longed for news. We all just happened to be families with our entire lives on paper waiting in the same office on the other side of the world.
But last week, in the midst of a common grief, they were my family.
My pain was their pain. Their sorrow was mine. When one mom said she cried at Costco at the bag of Rwandan coffee, I blinked back tears too. When another just alluded to a difficult weekend, my heart pulled toward her. Even those families with Rwandan kids at home pulled in, drew close. We were in it together, carrying the pain and shock as one.
My prayers of the week before, the desperate pleadings asking for mercy, hoping for the miracle, turned outward. Now, I wanted them to get the miracle. I prayed desperate prayers for their paperwork to have made it to the orphanage, to be one of the families matched with a child. I hoped and pleaded for their dream to come true even as mine was dying.
And it was beautiful. As I prayed for them, I found my own heart began to heal. I was reminded, again, that Jesus makes all things beautiful. That he can take our sorrow, sow in love and use our prayers for others to heal our own wounds.
I think Rwanda will always be part of me. She’ll always be the dream I had to surrender, the piece of our adoption journey that means trust and hope and not this time and then later, see what I had for you?
I’ll always wonder about the Rwandan baby girl I dreamed of so many times, and one day I’ll shake my head in amazement at the other child, our youngest, who will be home instead. And I’ll give thanks. One day, it will all be grace and hope and the whole picture, taken together, will be thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
For you, too. For all of us, my dear Rwandan mamas. Love and peace and hope and grace to you all, and now I’m praying for a little light to illuminate the next step on your journeys. You’ll always be part of me, too.