Before there was a picture, my heart held an image of you. I penned my name on the adoption application, and your life was written into my heart. “Whatever it takes”, took on new meaning. The forms, the hoop jumping, the check writing, the calls, the fingerprints, the background check, the study of our home, and the steady push toward a hundred unknowns. A list was given of what it would take to be your family, and we checked it off.
Soon, a picture of little you appeared, and oh how I knew. I’d do whatever it took to get to you.
Whatever the obstacles. Whatever the red tape. Whatever the wait. Whatever.
In China, “whatever it takes” was all new once again. My arms felt the weight of you with your sad eyes, raging fever, infection, no appetite, terrified sobbing, list of medical needs, bag of medical supplies, and wall around your heart. No idea what being your mommy would take, or IF I could do what it would take, I could only do whatever the moment, whatever the trip agenda, required.
Now home, we’ll trek forward with “whatever it takes”, minus the handy checklist.
I’ll simply take care of you. I’ll adjust my days, learn nursing techniques and juggle your appointments with your siblings’ schedules. I’ll creatively battle your veggie aversion and sneak probiotics into your sippy cup. Trusting new instinct, I’ll call the nurse when a low fever feels like something more.
I’ll research and fill my notebook with questions for the doctor, seek specialists, and humbly ask friends to babysit. I’ll check my watch in waiting rooms as I fill out more new patient paperwork, marking “unknown” under family history. I’ll drive to another state for an expert. I’ll add edema (swelling) and febrile (fever) to my widening dictionary of medical jargon. I’ll do pre-op, post-op and listen to discharge instructions. I’ll fill and refill those prescriptions.
I’ll wake another day and let you follow me from room to room because you feel safer with me in sight.
I’ll hold you a bit longer than my arm wants to. At the sound of your cry, I’ll stumble into your bedroom at 1AM. I’ll hold you during another church service because you panic at the sight of a childcare worker.
I’ll do a daily “lovie” wash so comfort awaits. I’ll smile at you and pull you into my lap when I’d rather have a moment to myself.
No doubt I’ll falter. Selfishness will win daily. I’ll raise my voice and grumble. Hopefully though, my heart will refocus and submit to the gift of being your mommy.
If it is what it takes, I’ll remodel my world again around naptime and strollers, tantrums and diapers, board books and fat Crayolas.
With every new hospital ID bracelet, every IV insertion, and every scan or x-ray, tears might roll and my knees might tremble, but your little hand can rest in mine. When that operating room door closes with your daddy and I on one side and you on the other, you’ll still not be alone. I’ll stay on my knees for you, surrendering you over and over, always hopeful. And when “over it” is how you feel, I’ll feel it too.
You’ll need me medically, academically, emotionally, spiritually, physically, and behaviorally. It’s too much for busy, fragile, small faith me. My head spins trying to plan. Likely though, God will keep requiring me to release my grip. I’ll want to take control and He’ll remind me that it’s not mine to take.
My passport has a China stamp now, but I’m still searching our adoption journey suitcase for an elusive next steps checklist. Probably for the best, because if I could glimpse ahead, fear would spill in, I’d take my eyes off today and retighten my grip. So, I’ll grasp only for whatever it takes to love you best on THIS day.
At every intersection, I’ve learned that the Lord will meet us on the path, holding a lamp that usually shines ahead just enough, handing out peace that surpasses understanding and providing immeasurably more than I knew to ask for. Whatever it has taken, He has provided.
So, girl, with a heavy dose of faith in a sovereign over all things God, again, I’ll fight for you. I’ll fight with you. I’ll hope. I’ll blow bubbles for a smile. I’ll sing “Jesus Loves Me” in your ear at doctors’ offices. I’ll find a band aid. I’ll press cookie cutters into Play-Doh.
I’ll submit to a stretching of my faith, my pride, the capacity of my heart, and the limits of my strength. It turns out that doing “whatever it takes” for you, means taking my life apart and rebuilding it, refined. Better.
I’ll advocate. I’ll be your voice. I’ll love you with all that I am. I’m all in. One day at a time.
Whatever it takes.