For as long as I can remember, I have always loved this month. The way the air would change and become cooler, the nights that came earlier as we ate soups and wore sweaters, the beautiful leaves on the trees, the thought of the holidays just around the corner... there are many lovely things about this autumn month.
One year ago today, something else happened which gave me and so many others a whole new and even more wonderful reason to love October. That something came in the form of two small blonde-haired, blue-eyed, beautiful children. Our Faith and Jason.
I once heard a quote that said "waiting is a wonderful thing." Is it? Some might say no. But, through these past six years and everything that has happened in God's perfect providence, I would have to say it is. Of course, the actual waiting itself is sometimes misery, incredibly hard and heart-breaking. But oh, when the desire of the heart is finally granted, then, THEN all the waiting is worth it and makes that moment so much more sweet.
The wait was, indeed, long. Years of waiting, wanting, hoping, praying, trusting in the Lord through many moments and days of sorrow for these people I loved, especially Jessica with her desires of a nurturing heart. But I think the waiting began again in earnest the day when they became certified to be foster parents. There was so much hard work and preparation put into such a short time to reach that point, and then... it came down to one phone call. It would only take one phone call to make them parents for the first time, someone telling them a child needed a home.
How well I remember the day the phone call came. I was at home, spending a quiet afternoon, when there was a knock on my door. When I opened it, Jessica was standing there, out of breath from running down the block, with tears in her eyes. She must have seen the questioning look on my face, for the first words out of her mouth were "We're getting a little boy. They called." And then, oh, the rejoicing. We hugged, we cried, we jumped up and down, we hugged and cried some more. In that moment of pure joy I don't think either of us thought for a second that in a mere short month we would all be saying goodbye to that same little boy. Christopher came, he was loved and cared for immensely, and then he went.
It is still hard, in some ways, to think of the day he left, even though it has been softened by seeing how it fits so perfectly into God's providential plan. I thought my heart would literally break as I watched Jessica pack up the final belongings of this little boy she had come to love so much, as she gave up her short, sweet time of motherhood waited and prayed for so long. But even then, she trusted. By His grace, she was able to say "God is good", even though I know her heart did break again and again in the days and nights that followed without a child in their home. There is certainly everlasting strength in the Lord for those who trust in Him. (Isaiah 26:3-4)
Thus, the waiting began again. It was even harder this time for Luke and Jessica. They had tasted what it was like to be parents, to care for a child and love a child. They knew beyond a doubt, because they had experienced it, that they wanted a child in their home, to raise and love to the glory of God. We had all seen them as parents, admired them as parents, rejoiced with them as parents, and we, their family, all knew too, more strongly then ever-- they needed a child. So we all waited some more. Prayed some more. Hoped some more.
And then came October.
I'll never forget the first time I saw them, that afternoon one year ago. After a whirlwind week in which Jessica (Luke just so happened to be out of town for business that week) had accomplished more than anyone would think humanly possible once she found out about the opportunity to take these two children into their home, I went to her house on a Friday morning to help her buckle two car seats into the back of her car. And then I watched her drive away, on the way to pick up her children. What a swirl of emotions I felt, and my heart, thoughts, and prayers were not able to leave her or those as-of-yet-unknown children for one moment that day. Later that afternoon, I was more than thrilled and excited to get a phone call from Jessica; she needed something... I think maybe it was baby wipes. I don't really remember, but I was practically out the door before she finished asking me. I was going to meet my niece and nephew!
As I walked down the hallway to what had been designated the kids' rooms, I was shocked at how nervous I was. But in that moment when I stepped into Faith's yellow bedroom where she sat playing on the floor and she looked up at me with a smile on her face, my nervousness disappeared and was replaced by joy and a longing to hug this little girl. I didn't, not then. She didn't know me yet, and I didn't want to scare her. Then, in the next moment, a small tow-headed boy ran out from the room next door, his face alight and eager at the new discoveries he was making in this different place, his new home.
In the year that has followed that wonderful day, much has happened. Faith and Jason have grown and changed so much in so many amazing ways. Of course, there have been LOTS of hugs since then, and kisses, and playtime, and laughter and cuddles and memories of all sort. It has been nothing but a joy to be "Auntie Talia" to my Faithie and Mister Jason who I love as much as my own children. My heart smiles and rejoices each time I see them with Emma and Annabelle, enjoying sweet childhood together and growing together as cousins and friends. Watching them love on the rest of their wonderful family, seeing how Faith and Jason have become such a part of everyone that you could never think there was a time when they weren't here; knowing that their love and knowledge of their God is growing each day under faithful parents... it is all a blessing beyond measure.
It hardly needs to be said how much I admire, respect, and praise God for Luke and Jessica and who they are as parents. Because the past year, while wonderful in many ways, has also not been easy, especially for Jessica. Social workers, biological visits, court dates, record-keeping of all sorts, stress and worry, not to mention simply getting used to being a mom to not one, but two active children who had never truly been parented before!! Wow. But she is amazing, her husband is amazing, the other people who have supported and encouraged her are amazing, and God is amazing. His grace was always sufficient, and the truth of "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil. 4:13) was shown again and again in these circumstances. I have learned much, SO much, from her.
And so, one year later-- another year of waiting and praying, hoping for the day when these two children could be theirs and all of ours forever-- October is here once more. This time, it brings with it certainty. A new and different kind of rejoicing. The end of one long and often difficult journey, as well as the beginning of a beautiful new one, as Luke and Jessica stand in court with THEIR children.
On October 24th, mere days from now, Faith and Jason's adoption will be final. My eyes fill with tears as I write that, tears of joy and happiness. And my heart is too full in these last days before this long-awaited event to even express the joy, the emotions, the thoughts which have been filling me up. This simple little post does no justice to any of the experience. I can only say how much love I have for these dear ones of mine, my sister and her family... how much gladness and thankfulness. And I can only close with this: PRAISE GOD. For His everlasting grace, for His perfect plan which caused all this to happen. He is good, indeed.
October! What a sweet, sweet month it shall always and forever be to my heart.
"Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass... Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him..." (from Psalm 37)