After my mom’s death I found a book of stamps in her wallet. The receipt was next to it showing she had purchased these stamps just a couple of weeks before the cancer diagnosis. As I placed one on yet another envelope I wondered what she was thinking when she bought them. Was she excited about visiting for Keegan’s first birthday? Maybe she was irritated that the line was too long, or overwhelmed with the number of errands she had to accomplish that day? The point being that I am sure she wasn’t thinking that in a few short months her daughter would use them to mail her death certificates. The day she bought those stamps was like any other of the thousands of days before it. In fact she had 55 years 10 months, and 4 days to live her life. Once it was over it was over. No take backs or second chances.
My parent’s deaths has made me acutely aware that my life will end one day. Days have a way of trickling into weeks, winding through creeks of months, and emptying into a sea of years. Someday God will call me home. I am no Biblical scholar, but when I leave this world, and stand before God He is not going to ask me how large of an inheritance I left for my children or how updated my kitchen was. I even have a feeling that we won’t spend that much time talking about my sins or shortcomings as a human. After all he sent his Son to be a sacrifice for my sin, and make me clean once more. Instead I think He’ll ask me what I did to serve others, and make a difference in the world. He’ll probably talk with me about the missed opportunities I had to serve others, or the excuses I made when I felt His calling me to do something. Excuses like ” I’ll do it later when….I have more money….more time….my children are older…I retire.”
I now realize that ” someday” will be my day, and my time on earth will be up. No matter how much money I had, how smart I was, or how much stuff I accumulated my life will forever after be measured by the memories of others. I better start figuring out what impact I want to make on this world. I am only one person, but God can accomplish much through one person. God is preparing each of us for a journey. For me, adoption has always been in my heart. It wasn’t until after twelve years of marriage, three biological children, and the death of my parents that I became financially, and emotionally stable enough to pursue an international adoption.
Before my parent’s death I would have been much too fearful of the unknowns to adopt; especially a child pushing six years old. I would not want to disrupt my life meeting the possible emotional needs of an adopted teen. I would have felt like it would put too large a financial burden on my other three children. I didn’t realize this at the time, but my highest priority was making as comfortable and easy a life for myself as possible. I was pursuing the great American dream, and serving others along the way as long as it didn’t require any real sacrifice on my part. Once my parents died I realized people and relationships are sooooooo much more important than “stuff”. We had talked about a third child , but decided against it. Not because we felt complete with two kids, but out of fear that it would mess up the nice little life we had going. Now I know there is nothing more that you can give your children than each other. We took a leap of faith, and was blessed with Ainsley.
Now we are taking another leap of faith to adopt Kai. I know that the journey to morph Kai from a Chinese orphan into a Chinese American with parents and siblings will be a huge challenge. But, now I know that God has made me strong! I also know there is a greater purpose here than our family gaining a fourth child, and Kai gaining a stable family environment. Through this little boy God has given me a heart for the Chinese people, and a sympathy for those who abandon their children that I never expected. I have no idea how, but I am sure at the very least we will continue to donate to the orphanage that raised our son the first 5.5 years. I already feel completely blessed and overwhelmed that God is asking me to participate in this amazing life journey of this little boy!
In the Bible God commands us specifically to care for orphans, and he has put that burden on our hearts. To be sure my husband and I are not super human altruistic beings. I am sure there will be those “What were we thinking?” moments. However, with much sacrifice comes much personal growth and blessings. This may be only one child, but like I said you’d be amazed at what God can do with a relatively simple act of kindness and love.