On Friday morning we drove away from our church parking lot after saying good bye to our “honorary doodles” and the mackerdoodle asked me when we would see them again.
“We probably won’t meet them again in this life,” I answered, with tears in my throat and the mackerdoodle, corresponding tears reaching her words and eyes simultaneously said, “But I already miss them!”
For three days we were the guardians of two boys. They were almost three times as old as our oldest child. Neither of them spoke English fluently, nor did they speak each other’s native tongue because one was from the Philippines and one was from Nepal. Our house was not the biggest home in which they will stay on their year long tour, and I doubt we will be memorable to them, but I will remember these three days for a long time.
There was the apprehension that eleven year old people can bathe themselves, brush their own teeth and buckle their own seat belts. My life will not look as it does now forever. There was the preview of our potential next year, having to get them to their designated locations by eight a.m. each morning. I also came to the realization that if we are to be serious about going wherever the Lord leads us, I should probably start learning to like rice.
The biggest impact of hosting two boys from developing nations, however, was the sudden recognition that international adoption wouldn’t be as daunting a task as I had once thought and some new ideas of the challenges that such an undertaking would bring. In a lot of ways, once Jonathan and I recovered from the shock of having pre teens instead of children in our home, having them here felt very natural. We struggled to communicate, and failed some times, but succeeded more. We were genuinely proud to see them in their concert Wednesday night, and had so much fun taking them to the zoo on Thursday. All day Friday the house felt a little emptier.
It was natural, but I could see, over the three days, what challenges we would have faced had we been trying to bring these boys into our family permanently, instead of on an honorary basis. These are children raised without the benefit of a family connection. When finished with meals, they politely cleared their plates and asked to be excused, but it was to play outside, or go to their room. They were highly independent boys, for their age, concerned with clean laundry and daily showers, because they have been forced to care for those parts of their lives. Bringing a child with that experience into a functioning family unit would be a unique, but not impossible, challenge.
So while I am still sure I do not want to be pregnant another time, I’m not so sure that the Lord has finished giving us children. Maybe there is another child out there, somewhere, in a developing nation that the Lord has planned for us.