I feel like crud, but I’m of a mind to post something because I had a Skype conversation with my youngest sis. As you may (or may not) know, she’s in Ethiopia. Today, she met the bio family of her two sons, and on Monday she and her husband will meet their new daughters. If you’re interested, you can find her here. She may not be able to post until she returns, but the story she has to tell is one of miracles both big and small, and I know you’ll be blessed by it.
Anyway, on to the Skype conversation. I was checking my email messages yesterday and got a video call from her. As soon as I answered, I knew something was wrong. She looked terrible (sorry, Sar). Her eyes were puffy and she was trying not to cry as she told me she was having a mini crisis. I thought for sure it was something to do with the adoption, but it wasn’t. My brother-in-law was MIA. He’d gone out to get something to eat because (poor) Sara was incredibly sick and could do nothing but sleep, and three hours later, he hadn’t returned. Sara woke at 11:30 at night and he wasn’t there, so she’d dragged her sick self out of bed and made her way down to the hotel’s lobby. Either she was too sick to make herself understood, or the people there just didn’t understand that her husband was MISSING.
So, there she was, on my computer screen, just eighteen inches in front of me, but an entire world away, and her husband was missing and she was sick and the phone in her hotel wasn’t working and she started to cry……
and I decided then and there that if her hubby didn’t show up soon, I was going to take my sick behind to the airport and find a way to Ethiopia.
It didn’t come down to that, of course. Her husband was alive and well, enjoying Ethiopian cuisine and culture, thinking Sara was sound asleep.
But that feeling I had, that feeling that I would do what it took to get to my sister and help her in any way I could reminded me of how deep my love is for her and for all my family. There is a bond with us that goes beyond biology and genetics. It harkens back to late night chats, laughter, tears, communal joy and sorrow. It’s built on shared experiences and cemented by mutual respect and deep affection.
I know I’ve talked about it too much of late, and maybe I’m getting boring, but love seems to be what I am coming back to again and again.
I was thinking of this verse from 1 John: This is love: Not that we loved God, but that He loved us and gave His son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Regardless of your personal beliefs, I think you’ll agree this is a compelling idea: that love would be given before love was ever received. That it could be poured on so decisively, so sacrificially before the person being loved was willing or able or even aware enough to return the affection and that it would continue to be poured out no matter how many times it was rejected.
Every time I read that verse I think of parents waiting for a child to be born or traveling to a far off country to meet a child or opening their home and their hearts to foster children. And I think: So, this is love. To give of the heart without any expectation of returns. To offer everything to someone who may not ever be able to return what is given.
This is love.
Not bonding or attachment or transitioning or getting to know, but simply offering acceptance, affection, a place to call home without demanding anything in return.
This is love, and it seems so easy, but it so very, very difficult, because we are not God. We are human, and we want desperately to have our feelings reciprocated, but they won’t always be.
It’s hard, but then I look at photos like this: .
and I wonder if it’s only hard because we’ve never had to live the pure and simple meaning of the word sacrifice. We’ve never had to give up everything to love someone. Maybe if we had, we wouldn’t think giving love and not having it returned was such a difficult thing. Maybe we’d just be happy to have our children in our homes, our hearts, our arms, and maybe more forever families really would last forever.
It’s something to think about, anyway.