This morning I woke up to a text from my friend Lee Ann... "Guess who just fell asleep in her new sling..." The sling she speaks of is the one I made for her new baby girl, and the "who" she speaks of is that girl who she and her husband just met today for the first time. They have loved her since before they knew her name.
Their first two daughters came the "easy way" (haha), but Tarik was born in a 3rd world country and spent her first 11 months of life in an orphanage far away from the family who will care for her for the rest of her life. This week, Lee Ann and Reed flew to Ethiopia having no idea what to expect. They had stories from other adoptive parents, they had books and lists and their imaginations, but their hearts were baffled. I saw them just before they headed to the airport, and they looked like those parents you see in the movies being rushed to the er during labor. It's amazing how similar it is, no matter how a child comes into your life there is an intoxicating cocktail of fear, anticipation, relief and expectation that washes over you right before the moment finally arrives.
Something hit me hard that Reed said in their blog post, describing their first meeting with their daughter.
"...They put us in a room with a few couches and brought her in. It was amazing. We kind of had to slowly let her warm up to us, which was strange to do with a child who has already been a part of our family. It was hard not to grab her and overwhelm her with our love and affection. Instead, we had to do simple little things like let her fiddle with the buttons on Lee Ann’s shirt. But there was no doubt that our love for her, whether we could fully communicate it or not, was already overpowering."
Even reading it again brings tears to my eyes. It made me think of how God loves us the way we need to be loved... slowly making us aware of the incomprehensible feelings of compassion, protection, adoration that he has for us. It made me think of Aaron, and how important it is that God takes his time with him, slowly showing him that he is the God of truth and grace... not overpowering him and scaring him away. It's how God is with all of us. Babbling, throwing up, playing with the buttons on his shirt, totally unaware of the life that he has waiting for us, or even of the life of famine that he is saving us from.
This is adoption. It is the most tangible example we have for grace... pure, unselfish love, undeserved by anything we could do or say. Our abilities are insignificant compared to the abilities and resources of the one who has chosen to lavish his love on us... even if we are only aware of it in tiny bits.