I forgot to mention that we spent $28 on Sunday. My parents treated us to a day at one of North Carolina's Aquariums. For an additional $28 we could upgrade those tickets to a one year "family" pass that will gain us free entry into many zoos and aquariums across the country. Good deal we thought, as if we visited just one zoo with our current family size, we would spend at least $28. But then, I found out that a "family" is defined as two adults and two kids. What?!?!?! Since when have we defined a "family" by those terms?! Mind you, our family is currently made up of two adults and two children. We are very much a family. But why the limitation?!
Then, I read Rich's post over at No More Counting The Cost and thought that he was right on the money! My perspective on family size has drastically changed as a result of this adoption. I used to think I wanted a "large" family, which meant 5 or 6 kids. Then I had a couple and changed my mind. Not because I don't like them or anything like that. I am so in love with my kids that words can't describe it. It's just that I realized what a full-time job it is to have kids and how expensive they can be. During our adoption of our two Ethiopian kids, which started as adopting one Ethiopian kid, my perspective changed. There is such need. And we have so much room in our family for these kids. I somehow just know that there are more kids out there who in the future are going to find themselves as orphans and I believe that God has already chosen them for our family. Once you allow yourself to believe such a thing, your house feels somehow empty, as it is lacking those additional voices and footsteps on the stairs. I remember how incredibly empty my house felt on September 30, 2005 as I got into bed. I had just seen a picture of my Ethiopian babies for the first time and immediately knew that they were mine. I was committed to them. And as I snuggled into my blankets that night, there was a pervasive emptiness that literally filled the air in our house as though it were pregnant with the barrenness I have struggled with for an entire year now.
One of my favorite songs, written by Steve Taylor who recently adopted an HIV+ Ugandan girl, says "Float her basket over the sea, here on a barren shore, we'll be waiting for..." I understand exactly what the song is saying, as my heart has labored under that barrenness for many months now. Here in America, the "promised land" of the world, I wait with my wonderful husband, beautiful children, financial stability. I have it all. Yet I have never felt so barren. This barrenness will not subside until my Ethiopian babies are tucked into their beds here in America. What an amazing adventure! Three cheers for children coming home soon, for large and small families, for the courts reopening, for this barrenness that has changed my heart in ways I can't even describe.