Sunday, February 19, 2012

Lessons from a Garden

From previous posts you can see we've been working on our new garden, our greenhouse and trying to enhance the orchard we already have.  In addition to the fruit and vegetables we hope to harvest, time in the garden is good for more.  Excercise, reconnecting with the earth and how it functions. The joys and frustrations that come from the planning, preparation, hard work, planting, watering, weeding, etc....

I've always loved that I have time to think in the garden. Currently it's a good distraction from the routine of daily life and homeschooling.  My thoughts took me to a comparison of gardening and my family.  You make plans for what it will be like and how it will produce. What conditions you need to provide for the optimal results, but the reality is much is out of your direct control.  Is the seed viable? Will weather enhance or damage the results? What soil additions need to be added to help, or fertilizers?  Okay so what does this have to do with anything other than a garden?

A little over a year ago we travelled to China again to bring home, then 6 year old Lauren.  She's very tiny for her age, only the size of a 3 year old.  Life hasn't been easy in the area of health.  She struggled to survive in the beginning and had lots of  hospitalizations to keep her here.  During the time we were adopting she was hospitalized twice with bladder and kidney issues.  We prayed daily as a family for God's touch to heal and this He has done, as she has been with us for over a year without a single health issue other than trying to put weight on her malnourished body.

I was struck with the journey of all of our children's arrival in our lives, but since her's is the most recent I have been thinking of this alot.  How a seed was planted in our minds and heart as Hannah and I watched a program about orphan's.  We'd seen several before, but this time it really struck a cord that maybe we needed to do something about it.  Then Hannah, who had always been fiercely possessive of Kevin's attention, came to me and said "I think I might be ready to share daddy with another girl".  We watered this seed with prayer for confirmation, clarity and direction. At every turn we recieved affirmation. So we proceeded. This meant there was another child somewhere in the world that was supposed to be in our family.  China stood out formost as the location, a girl younger than Hannah was all confirmed as we began our paperwork.  Then our process seemed to take a turn, we knew the child would be on the waiting list of special needs or older children, but the leads we began getting were for very sick kids with serious heart issues.  Kevin particularly struggled with one we kept feeling drawn to. The idea of adopting and loving a child we might not have for long really challenged his ability to proceed.  The Lord kept whispering "do you trust Me?".  When we came to the decision to let go and proceed in this direction, it was as our initial paperwork had been recieved and okayed by China and we were at a point of being able to commit.  We filed paperwork with regard to the young girl whose heart troubles had been a concern to us, only to recieve word back that another family had filed to adopt her.  We were overjoyed for her, but couldn't understand the drama of the process we'd experienced over the past few weeks.  At this point Kevin had returned to a blog of a woman who advocated for special needs children. He had come across the site in the process of seeking information about what we might be dealing with healthwise from the first little girl.  It was on this site that we first saw Lauren's picture.  Her health issues that were lifelong and could potentially continue throughout her life, were one's we might not have considered without having processed our ability to handle health problems from the original child we thought we were to adopt.
The strange thing was Lauren was not showing up on the very long list of waiting children provided by China, and our agency warned us not to expect much when they made inquiries from their Beijing office.  They were shocked to find that not only was she available, but she had been part of programs designed to focus on older kids who needed families, and yet her file had somehow fallen off the available list and so she was languishing in an adoption nowhere land. We prayed for clarity and kept getting confirmation that this was the one.  We filed and our paperwork was linked with Lauren as "our child".   So the watering, weeding and nurturing process of our family continued.

In January of 2011, Lauren joined us as her forever family.  The seed of adoption had produced for us a little flower who needs a lot of care and attention.  With all the struggles of her early life I have had to fight the feelings of having brought a weed into our midst, life is a challenge when adopting a hurt child.  Still, we saw with Amber's life the example of what nurture, care and prayer can produce and so I hold fast to the task of encouraging Lauren's ability to overcome the emotional hurts that cause her to strike out and sabotage the very relationships she desperately wants, but doesn't know how to respond to.  I used the example of the garden throughout this, because as I've been gardening I realize I put a lot of time and energy into the process with hopes and expectations of what my results might be, but understand that the outcome isn't assured.  It can be the same for us as parents. We pour in our best with all our love, hopes and desires, then have to trust God to complete the process and bring out the best results for us and our children.  He's been saying the same to me lately as He spoke to Kevin early on "do you trust Me?"  Since He is the original gardener, I'm going to listen to how to nurture this one to it's best potential for a productive, happy life.

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