The call that changed all our lives, forever; fundamentally, eternally.
(yeah, they are gooood with those referral pics, aren’t they?).
Jessica (not our usual caseworker) called us last March 14th (2008), a Friday, and I was just pottering along on a typical day. I had no expectations of a call, and Coffeedoc was in surgery. I had gone to adoration as usual, was home with the kids, drifting through the end of the school day/week.
And then the phone rang and I picked up to Jessica’s voice, “Michele, this is Jessica, Natalie is out of the office, but I have good news for you!” “Really?” I know my voice went up at least two octaves. And then she asked if Coffeedoc was available and I had to tell her no. Thus began the longest fifteen minutes of my life when I had to scramble to call into the OR and luckily enough, he was finishing up and so we all made the fumbly arrangements to conference call.
And then we all were finally online and on the phone, at the same time. And she sent the pictures. And we saw our son’s face for the first time.
And I cried. I was stunned. He didn’t look anything like I had expected. But I don’t know what I expected either. He was perfect. He had those big huge eyes…… I said, “Do you see him?” It was silent for a moment and I asked again if he got the file. “That’s my son,” Coffeedoc said as his voice broke just a bit. Then we both said, “Wow!” Because really, what else is there to say? We were breathless. Graciously, Jessica went over the attached info and mumbled a bunch of jumbo about paperwork and so on that I ignored mostly, I just kept staring at my boy and reading over his info. Somehow we all hung up.
But everything had changed. Because that veil that separates us from our little mortal lives here and real time, God’s time, God’s plan….it had parted. And a little boy was revealed. Tariku. We accepted and sent back the paperwork immediately. And then spent the day, the weekend, in the giddy head rush of calling all our family and friends and stopping strangers in the street to tell them, “I have a new son, he’s beautiful! He’s a toddler in Ethiopia! Do you want to see his picture?” Ok…maybe not all the strangers in the street, but I’m sure a grocery clerk and the pharmacist learned a little more than they expected.
We didn’t have a blog back then so I didn’t post all this. But now, this weekend, I can’t help but find myself reliving those heady days. It’s a rush like no other. And everyone will say, of course it is, you just found out you have a kid! The stick turned pink (or blue, if you will). Well, yes.
But I think the absolute electricity of it comes from being able to see that veil being parted a bit – getting that glimpse beyond our little piece of today – to the big tapestry of our real lives, interconnected with others we can’t see and know. And with this, international adoption in particular, we see it in a way unlike any other.
I am connected to Guday, Tariku’s birthmom. I gaze at the few pictures I have of her and think of her often. We pray for her. I like to think that she prays for her son, and for us. She passed away and thus, now I am this sweet boy’s mom. But we moms of this boy, I feel we are connected. I don’t know her…but then again, maybe I do, a tiny bit, in the smile and laugh of her little boy, the dimple in his chin, the scrinch of his nose, his sweet affectionate nature.
And there are those who don’t feel that God has any hand in all this. That these connections are fabrications. That it is people manipulating systems for selfish or maybe not so selfish wants. And that’s another viewpoint, and has some truth in it. Or they will say that it is about a hardness in this world and a poor solution to the hard hurts and wrongs around the globe. And those things are true but another conversation. And that is ok.
But you know, of course you do, that I really really do think that God has a hand and His plan in all this. I think that God works through the hardnesses and the wrongs in this world to a greaeter plan, to bring good beyond our ken. I’ve seen it too many times to not have that hammered home. There are too many ways these adoptions prove out God’s great mercy and love and plan; shown to me again and again as I am given the ultimate gift of these kids. That’s just not random acts or human process in my book. And if it’s just my own selfish drive to manipulate it and push and make it happen….well it wouldn’t work…and certainly not nearly so well. I’d muck it all up (in fact, I do a fair job of that anyhow on an ongoing basis).
Ack, I’m getting off track. Meandering again. But I think, I believe, that the reason it gives me chills and makes my eyes prick and often overflow with tears when I read of another family getting their referral is because, yes, I am just thrilled for them. It’s too because I know that breathless stop in time and the rushing thrill of that news, those pictures.
But also it is because it’s that brief touch, that flash, that glimpse of the world beyond: the world beyond the veil that seperates this hectic chaotic broken beautiful life we build here, and the eternal unspeakable beauty in the truer world, unfettered by the boundaries of this mortal life.
Dismiss this if you want. But those electric frissons are not just twitching neurons or jumpy nerves. I think they are our truest selves recognizing, even for a glimpse, a breathless half moment, what is real.
His name is Gabriel Tariku. He is my son.