This is something Bob wrote for an evening service where he had been asked to speak. It gives an idea of how he felt about our adoption journey. Hopefully he will add more later.
A chat with God
I approached the door tentatively, one can never predict how these conversations will end up. However, I couldn't just stand there.
(knock, knock, knock)
"Please come in," said a pleasant voice on the other side.
With a sigh, I opened the door and went in. "Uh, hi," I said, closing the door behind me. "It's me, Bob."
The figure studied me carefully. "Do I know you?" He inquired with a smile.
"Yeah, I know, it's been a while," I said sheepishly. "Look, I need your help..."
"Oh, now I recognize you," said He, cutting me off.
"OK, I deserved that," I responded with a wry smile. "But, I do need to talk with a Wonderful Counselor."
"Of Course" He said with a reassuring smile. "Please, be comfortable." He indicated a reclining chair that had not been there moments before. So inviting was it that I did not marvel at it's being there, I just reclined and felt instantly at ease.
"So, what's on your mind?"
Well...you know, I've always wondered about that. You know what's on my mind, why do I have to tell you? Wouldn't it just be easier to give me the counsel straight away?"
"You are a Man, for whom reality lies in what you experience, not what you imagine."
"Humor me. Tell me about the problem."
I settled back in my chair. "It's this same problem I've had for almost two years now, this adoption thing. Lorraine was looking up something for a friend on the Internet one day and clicked the wrong thing. A Russian adoption page came up with pictures of available children. Now, look where we are."
"Yes, things are moving right along."
"I know. That's the problem, or, rather, my problems. Basically, they boil down to two things, the money and me.
"Well, about your first problem..."
"I know it's worked out well so far. We've discussed this before many times. When the adoption first came up, I told Lorraine we couldn't afford it, thinking that would make the other reason academic. You know how expensive adoption is. I don't have tens of thousands of dollars just lying around. I told Lorraine how much we could spend. She didn't look very happy about it. Even she said there was no way we could afford to do it for that.
"Yes, she talked to me about it for some time. You must have felt relieved."
"Sure I was. I did have my doubts about me, but really the money answered the whole question."
"What about 'Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth'? What do all these other adopting families do?"
"Well, some of the don't have any kids already, so they have more money. Many take out second mortgages, put their lives in hock, to do it. I was really looking forward to getting a new computer."
"This kid may indeed cost you these things, these treasures. But try to remember, 'that which you do for the least of these my brethren...' Do you believe that or not?"
"But I have my own kids to think of. What about their future? College?"
"I could mention about 'Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, but..."
"But it doesn't matter. In the middle of arguing with you, Lorraine burst into the room. "Sorry to interrupt, but I just had to tell you. Remember that lawyer that Buff told us to write to? Well, she wrote back with a breakdown of all the costs for us, if we use her agency and that Russian pastor, and guess what? We can do it!! It comes in just under what you told me!"
"You don't say. But her price doesn't include the home study. That's a few thousand..."
"Well, remember when Buff minuend our adoption to that group at the Labor Day Campout?"
"Yeah, he was talking about Father Sergey and the Russian mission work. I remember wishing he hadn't said anything about the adoption."
"Be Glad he did, because a lady in that crowd is a social worker who heard the story and wants to help. You'll never guess what she told me." As she whispered to me the lady's offer, I was amazed.
"Yeah, isn't it cool? Thanks again, Lord," Lorraine said as she left.
I turned and sighed at the Wonderful Counselor. "That was a setup. You did it on purpose."
"I certainly didn't do it by accident. She seemed very excited."
"Of course she was. From the start, she knew this was what we needed to do."
"I'm not so sure about me. I know Lorraine thinks I can do it, but I don' t know. I have two small children already, and they really drive me crazy sometimes. I just don't think I can handle another one."
"I'm sorry, language limitation. When I said, 'And you,' I didn't mean you singular, I meant you plural."
"Like I said, I know Lorraine can do it. She is wonderful with small children, has much more patience than I do, but..."
"This is not a matter of Lorraine or you, but Lorraine and you. While it's true she spends more hours of the day with the kids than you, she needs you as much as you need her. Her relationship with me is indeed strong, thus her ability to be home with them and not go mad. But she needs you help. However difficult parenting can be, it is much easier than mothering or fathering alone."
"True enough. I've known some single parents, and it doesn't look like fun. I guess the two of us could do all right."
"Another language problem. You have no noun form to indicate more than two."
"More than two? Don't tell me Lorraine's mother is moving in!"
"No, no, no. Look around you. Aren't there others besides you who deal with these boys? How about church you're in now? "This is a great church. Lorraine and I both feel like we are a part of something alive and growing. And I sure couldn't ask for a better Youth Group. Of course, they are a product of their parents. We have had so many offers to keep the boys while we're gone or help in any way. The mission trip fundraiser has gone far better than I hoped.
"Yeah, can't forget Mamaw and Papaw. The boys love having them so close, just like I enjoyed having my grandmother nearby, " I sighed. "Looks like we'll have some good help around."
"Thank you. I am very proud of my children."
"The move from Alamogordo sure has worked out well all around."
"I just wish I could sell that house out there. I have some repairs to do on this house, but can't do much with two house payments. I have used it as a crutch before, but I really am worried about the money now. We still need to buy airline tickets, not to mention stay there for three or four weeks."
"Oh, that reminds me. Jim was here."
"Jim was here?"
"Yes, we had a long talk."
"I'll bet you did."
"Yes, we did. He talked about you. He and several church members wanted to help bring your child home. He wanted me to give you this."
God handed me an envelope. I opened it, staring at the contents for a long moment. I opened my mouth to say something, but no words came. "Good Lord "
"Yes?" I struggled with numerous emotions. Finally, I mumbled, "You did it to me again."
"You mean refuse to let you use the money as a crutch? Why is that? Why didn't you just tell Lorraine that you didn't want to adopt a child? You've had almost two years."
"I've tried. I never got very enthusiastic when she mentioned the adoption. Never sounded very disappointed when it looked like it would not work. When we finally received the invitation from Russia, she was elated. I almost cried."
"But why didn't you just say no?"
"Because I couldn't. I imagined this child facing me, asking why I wouldn't adopt him. It would have been so easy to just say, 'Sorry, I can't afford it.' But you kept taking that away, forcing me to tell the child, "Well, there's things I want to buy and I just don't have the patience to deal with you."
"But you have all these people willing to help you."
"Even with that, there is still the fact that I will be this child's biggest influence, outside of Lorraine."
"Well, you know me. I pray for patience and want it RIGHT NOW. The scriptures where you tell the little children to come to you has new meaning for me. Now I get this mental picture of you trying to preach to the crowd while a gaggle of little anklebiters runs amok around Your feet. With all that giggling and carrying-on, I'm surprised you didn't have to shout the Beatitudes at the top of your lungs. 'Blessed are the STOP THAT peacemakers, for they will be called PUT THAT DOWN sons of God.' Besides, every time I have a chance to think about it, try to come to terms with the chaos another child would cause, really feel your call for me to do this, I come home and the TV room is covered in cereal, or a brand new marks-a-lot original has appeared on the wall. What are you doing to me?"
"Are you through?"
"My point is that I don' t handle the kids I have as well as I should. I get too angry over small things, to impatient for small boys to behave like adults."
"You're right, you can't do it the way you are."
"See, I knew.."
"That is why you must change. 'The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.' Very pretty, Paul certainly had a flair."
"Exactly, but I am lacking in so many of these things..."
"And does a fruit spring directly from a freshly-planted seed? No, it is the result of nurturing, pruning, and growing. All of these require work, and above all time. A Master Gardener can create a beautiful landscape out of a few shrubs and seeds, but not without these ingredients. There is no shortcut. However, if he knows his joy, beautiful flowers and sweet fruit are the inevitable result. What does that Max Lucado book you like say?"
I opened up the introduction to Just Like Jesus. "The way my wife views a house is the way God views a life. God loves to decorate. God has to decorate. It is not enough for him to own you, he wants to change you. Where you and I might be satisfied with a recliner and refrigerator, he refuses to settle for any dwelling short of a palace. After all, this is his house. Remodeling of the heart is not always pleasant. We don't object when the Carpenter adds a few shelves, but he's been known to gut the entire west wing. He has such high aspirations for you. God envisions a complete restoration. He won't stop until he is finished."
"Yes, I like this part but..."
"Now, lets look at Paul again, he wrote a letter to the church at Rome..."
"The words ended up in chapter 8 years later. 'I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us.'" "Yes, but..."
"What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?' And another nearby, 'In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."
"OK, OK, I give. But it's not going to be easy. I was kind of hoping as the boys got older I could relax a little."
"What is it you tell the boys sometimes?"
"You mean, whining about it won't help, go do what you're told?"
He just smiled. I nodded and turned to the door. Now that I was finally quiet, I could hear the angel choir in the background.
"Pretty song," remarked The Counselor, with a reassuring arm across my shoulders. "Isaiah never thought of putting his words to music." Fear not I am with thee. O, be not dismayed. For I am thy God, I will still give thee aid. I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand."