As I type, I’m sitting still in a sun puddle, watching my 12 year old take Abe’s blood pressure because we are at nearly 10,000 feet elevation on a ski vacation and his heart is faltering as it is, even without the elevation change putting undue stress on his valves.
And this is a monitoring work the whole family has taken on. There are oximeters on the coffee table and the nightstand and two blood pressure cuffs laying around. And always the meds.
We planned this trip months ago when he was doing so well; 31 family members in a slope side house in Breckenridge to celebrate my parent’s 50th anniversary. That was before. And so we adjust and it’s been so sweet.
This beautiful time of compassion and care? It’s not permanent and it’s been hard fought and hard won. More often, the language Abe’s siblings have spoken has been annoyance and frustration over this 6 year old boy who has come in and taken over, demanding the lion’s share of our time and energy with his exhaustive needs. And it has cost. There have been times when the siblings have mourned the before, how quiet and easy it was with just the 7 of us.
Times when they have regretted this journey and the wear and tear it’s put on their hearts. And those have been tricky moments of heart care and one on one dates and lots of time on my knees. But there have also been moments of knowing this is the work God has called us to. Knowing it even in their young hearts. Moments of such deep compassion and love it’s made me gasp.
There is always the good with the hard. Good and Hard are sister wives, after all. Good and Hard stick together like Q and U. They are besties.
So in the dark moments when this all seems like too much and I put the cart before the horse and try to imagine our future with its pending transplant and the separation of my loves it will surely involve, I try to picture the good. Try to picture Grant carrying Abe on his shoulders up the hiking trail a few days ago. Tess taking his blood pressure and then calling out the numbers with a, “Are those good?” Peter laying in bed with him while he falls asleep because we’re in a new place and that always sparks anxiety in our boy. Lulu opting to stay inside with him, even though skiing is one of her favorite things. She doesn’t want him to feel badly that he’s not out there, snowplowing to the lift.
You will surely ask yourself if adoption will be good for your kids; you’d be foolish not to. The answer is yes. It will hurt and it will cost, but it will be good for your kids. For all of you. It will teach them what Galileo learned centuries ago: that the earth does not revolve around the sun.
Because there is a whole generation we are raising who believe that our primary work is to schedule our lives around their activities, to shuttle them back and forth. And it is ok, no, it’s imperative, that we begin teaching them that we put others first and self last.
Adoption is a crash course in serving. Please don’t be afraid to enroll your family. They will be better for it; you all will. It will be hard and it will be good and you will be better for it.