There will be a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.
- Louis L'Amour
To many, this post will seem a bit odd given the glorious circumstances that have transpired over the past week to two weeks, but it's something that is always in the back of my mind so I'm going to selfishly take the liberty to share it.
Throughout the adoption process, one general topic has crept its way into my mind repeatedly, and perhaps will continue to do so for quite some time; what is this really like for Koby and Kwame, and so many others like them?
Despite our overwhelming joy relative to them becoming a part of our family, and their apparent joy at the love they are receiving and their new parents and siblings, what else is inside them as this progresses?
The picture above is more than symbolic to me as to the questions I have regarding this amazing ordeal.
Look closely at this picture and then think about this; what did this mean to a barely three-foot tall 3-year-old boy prior to boarding this plane?
This picture was taken in the rain in Accra, Ghana, as we carried the boys onto their first airplane, yet realistically, it could quite conceivably have been the last time either of them will ever be in their native country.
The boys were both excited and nervous, as were we, but I imagine there were significant differences in those two similarities. We were excited and nervous about getting them through the next 22 hours of flights and airports, about seeing our own biological children back in the States, about whether or not the boys would have trouble on the flight and how we'd deal with it, etc.
What were the boys nervous about? Were they aware that they would likely never again see their mother, their family, many of their friends from the orphanage, etc.? Did they really understand this wasn't just another week with the American family like the one in March? Do they now? Are they waiting for us to take them back but can't express that to us?
I'm sure I'll never really know the answer to these questions, and the true goal now is to continue to love them and raise them as our own with the hopes and expectations that most parents have; that they grow up to be terrific young men that then have families of their own, and that in some small way the family that they're now a part of touches both of them and encourages them to someday reach out to help others.
There are a lot of contradictions involved with adoption. For instance, it's quite common to hear how lucky the boys are to be in our family. While on the surface this makes sense, thinking about it further points out that there are real problems with that comment. There is really nothing lucky at all about the boys' situation, or that of other adopted orphans.
In fact, being born as a baby into a geographic area of the world where it is next to impossible to economically feed your child, where parents die of otherwise preventable diseases, or where war ravages areas leaving children parentless really isn't that lucky at all.
If they were really lucky, they'd be at home right now with their parents enjoying a dinner together and discussing each other's day.
In the end, it's really Michele and I that are lucky. We're lucky enough to be blessed with the resources to reach out to help someone else. We're lucky that we weren't born where the boys' and millions more like them, were born. We're lucky that, despite ongoing conflicts overseas, we don't live in an area where tribes from the next village come in the darkness of night and slaughter our parents. We're lucky we live where we can worship the Lord and not be punished by death for doing so. It's truly us that are lucky.
The boys are simply victims in an oftentimes cruel and unfair world that now hopefully have a greater opportunity at a better life than they would have otherwise.
As I mentioned, this might seem strange to many, or even hard to understand. I'll end in general summary.
Each of us has a responsibility to do more than we're doing now. We can't wait on the government, on the Presidential election, or on the wealthy. We need to turn from a "what can you do for me?" mentality, go right past the "what can I do for me?" mentality, and dive into the "what can I do for others?" mentality.
It doesn't take lots of money to run a 5K for a cause, to pass out food to those less fortunate, or to contribute clothing to the homeless, cold from a lack of shelter.
Perhaps we all need to look at life through the eyes of a 36.5" three-year-old. Then reach down and lift that person up so they too get the chance to see life from a better perspective. God Bless.