Friday, October 30, 2009

stolen moments

"mom....Mom....MOm....MOM!" the voice of my six year old grew louder and more demanding with each impatient utterance of my name. i had just stepped into the shower. connor sat with his lips pushed against the crack in the door and proceeded to unveil a muffled anecdote of injustice which had occurred with his older brother only moments before. he knew he had my undivided attention. i was trapped. i was going to hear all the dreadful details whether i wanted to or not.

why is it when we just step into the shower or just sit down with a coffee or just pick up the phone that we are needed so desperately? after parenting for almost 14 years...i know this is how it works. how it goes down. i could stand in the kitchen ready and waiting for The Beck and Call and there would be....nothing. but given the chance for a stolen moment, and a frantic summons is a sure thing. there are times right now where i could certainly do without this madness.

but as i stood in that non-relaxing shower, it occurred to me, i will someday miss this. i may someday glory in a silent shower or a hot cup of coffee, but there will come a day when i will, undoubtedly, wish someone was calling me mom. calling me loudly. calling me often. i know they will not always need me and, perhaps, not even always want me. that time feels quite distant, especially as we consider adding to the tail end of our family. that time seems impossibly far-flung this morning as i carefully avoid the stack of breakfast dishes, step around the dirty laundry, and contemplate the items on the grocery list.

earlier this week, after tucking all four children in for the night...i climbed into my bed with a book and a cup of earl grey. "ahhh..." was my only thought as i snuggled deep into the sheets. within minutes i felt a set of eyes staring at me.  sarah elizabeth. she stood quietly in my doorway.

"honey, what's wrong?" i asked.
"mom, are you sure you don't mind being alone tonight?" she replied.
i thought of my book and my cup of tea and my comfy sheets and my quiet...
"i feel bad that daddy is traveling and you have to be all alone. you must be so lonely. i am sad for you," she tenderly continued.
now any of you mothers of multiple children reading this are completely aware of what was passing through my mind at that moment: ", i'm good...not lonely tea...good book...quiet. alone. good. really."

you know how after a day of being available to everyone for everything...we are practically giddy with the thought of crawling into our alone time. however, this looked quite different from my child's perspective. after assuring her that mommy was not in anyway lonely, but really quite content, i persuaded her down the hall into her own room. five minutes later, i settled, once again, back into my own bed. my cup of tea was a little cooler, but my thoughts ran a little deeper. i couldn't help but consider the perspective behind her words. i was embarrassed with how for granted i take my life. lonely is not a word on which i regularly reflect. but lonely is a very real thing - especially to children.

our adoption continues to change me - my perspective - maybe even change my heart. i may delight in the stolen moments of alone-ness, but that is only because they are indeed a rarity. loneliness must look very different for xue zhu, our bella. this little girl ...millions of little girls have no one to come one to trap in the one to share in their injustices or listen to their stories. psalm 68:6 tells us how, "God sets the lonely in families."

i wait eagerly for the day when bella grace will push her lips to the crack in the door and complain about her older brother. i will know then that she is truly a mcnatt. if someday i can tuck her safely into her bed and happily retreat to my own room...if someday i am held captive in the shower by her complaint, i hope i will realize the great gift, the great blessing, even in this. as a mother, i never long for a grievance or a squabble or an outcry of injustice, but am sure i will have a moment of rejoicing when life has become that normal....someday.

"as father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing..." ~ psalm 68:6

Monday, October 12, 2009

a list of questions...

though we have been plenty busy filling out forms and providing information these past couple of months, we haven't really been able to get anything new on xue zhu. the last update we received was a post surgery report and 3 pictures from the first week in august. our agency explained that the orphanage director basically "shut down" all forms of communication regarding matched children in his orphanage. in late july there was some kind of major snafu with an american family adopting a child from this xue zhu's orphanage. something was botched. the government got involved. fingers were pointed. blame was cast. tempers flared. and because the director isn't obligated to provide information, he has chosen to halt all communication. believe it or not, he can do this. our agent spent 3 weeks in china during august...though he petitioned many times to visit with the children in this orphanage that were matched with families in his agency, he was never granted permission. he left china without ever seeing xue zhu.

i had considered trying to go this fall and see her, but was told that the same would most likely happen to me. i could get all the way to guanzhou city, china and would get no further than the orphanage gate. how can this be? we have a pre-approval document from the government of china. they told us our name "is upon her." how could they possibly deny us information? a visit? an update? a picture? a tiny glimpse?

 just this week we received an email from our agent saying, "we have found a line of communicaton inside the orphanage. our source tells us that xue zhu is doing quite well since the surgery." our agent suggested we should make a list of questions we might have and he would forward them to this new source.

a list of questions? really? no guidelines? no number? no word limit? no boundaries? just an open ended list? yes, i suppose i could come up with just a few...i want to know Everything and when i am through knowing Everything, i want to know More. i want to know about her health, and her spirits, and her care...but i also want to know the sound of her laugh, the shape of toes, the feel of her hair. i am greedy in my my knowing.
i am just a mother who wants to know her child. so i will ask..

is she happy?
is she held?
is she safe?
is she cared for?
is she comforted?

does she smile?
does she sing?
does she laugh?
does she cry?
does she call out?

is she crawling?

what did she wear today?

has anyone read her a book?
tucked her in?
played a game with her?
rocked her gently?
tickled her tummy?
laughed with her?
smiled at her?
soothed her?
sung to her?
stroked her hair?
praised her?
corrected her?
noticed her?

what fills her days?
her hours?
her minutes?

has she felt the warmth of the sun?
the cool of the breeze?
the drops of gentle rain?
has she ever sat in the grass?
been pushed on a swing?
strolled through a park?
twirled around?
stepped in a puddle?

is she warm enough?
is she full enough?
is she clean enough?
is she held enough?

does she like balls?
or books?
or dolls?
or trucks?
or animals?
or bubbles?

is there someone to call her by name?
whisper in her ear?
listen to her cry?
comfort her with touch?
wipe her face?
brush her hair?
wash her hands?

is she talking?
what does she say?
is there someone to listen?
is there someone to answer?

how soft is her skin?
her hair?
her voice?
her heart?

what does she wonder?

. . . just to mention a few.