Orphan heart

Right now I have friends in Ghana who have taken the final steps to adopt their unspeakably beautiful five year old daughter. I have another set of friends who have just received the first pictures of their son in Ethiopia. I have still another dear friend who is fundraising her heart out to bring her son home from Russia. To top it all off I have even more friends who are searching their heart for what it means for their families to support or pursue adoption. Kel and I are are definitely in this last category, we have always talked about adoption as a big dream, someday sort of thing, but lately we have been fleshing it out with some deeper conversations.

It isn’t anything that will happen soon, my plate is currently full. If you ask me about more kids I will tell you this, almost verbatim: “My plate is full, my life has been crazy with people coming and going, being born and dying, I need to figure out how to live well with who I have and don’t have right now.” And I am sticking to it, unless God intervenes I don’t have any children on the horizon right now. I’m only 30, I have time.

Nevertheless my heart has been swelling and rejoicing for my friends who are walking the long road of adoption. When I see the faces of the children awaiting a family, my heart breaks and I’m ready to move three of them into bunk beds in the playroom tomorrow, or yesterday.

I have asked myself if I would be able to love adopted children as much as the two God gave us naturally, those I carried and nursed myself. My immediate answer is yes, because I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the love of people who aren’t my birth parents, those who adopted me later in life. I was an orphan at 29, which is not 3 or 5 but it has still left me with a parental hole, and God has placed aunts and friends in my life who love me dearly so I feel less adrift. Because I have received adoptive type love, I think I find it easier to give it, But if I’m honest with myself I find that this sort of love is easier to give than to receive.

For me I find it easier to give unconditional love than to believe that I am loved unconditionally, perhaps I’m not alone on that. I believe that I could love adopted children unconditionally, or at least as well as I love the two I conceived and carried. I love them pretty well and only threaten to bring them back to the hospital when their screaming sessions exceed two hours, which is pretty gracious if you ask me.

When I see the faces of these adopted children my heart brims and overflows in a matter of seconds. As if something in me is realizing that yes, deep undeserving and unconditional love is for real. That the Spirit of God is weaving his way into the hearts of those around me and through their hands and hearts Love is spanning the globe and filling up lives that stood in great need of the labors of love. I absolutely see these children as the sons and daughters of dear friends and I long for the day when their African children are just one of the kids running around our church, natural, comfortable and loved.

God calls us to care for all of his children, but my faith in this call must involve my commitment to giving receiving this love.

I keep imagining this picture of our family on the wall that includes the four of us and one or two african daughters. For now I will pray, support and search my heart. I want to let the spirit weave itself so deep in my fibers that I am his hands and feet, always. Bringing that love wherever and whenever I go. I want To learn to receive this love better, so it flows out of my imperfect heart beautifully, and changes a life or two.

  • http://expecting-from-ethiopia.blogspot.com Joely

    WELL written my sweet friend! I love you and your heart dearly and appreciate your love and support for our family. I cannot wait to show you all the pictures of our precious son soon!!! Love you!

    • http://leannepenny.wordpress.com leannepenny

      love you back, I can’t wait to hug him and I must admit I’ll probably cry on him a little.

      • http://www.addingaburden.blogspot.com Jill Burden

        Love this post!! There is not a doubt in my mind that when the time is right for your family, God will let you know. You are an enormous source of encouragement to me in our adoption. I am grieving the loss of some things during this process and I look to you as an example of how to walk through grief. You are an inspiration Leanne!

  • http://embracingimperfection.typepad.com Kika@embracingimperfection

    I happen to have “a thing” for brown babies 😉 I have also always, in the back of my mind and heart, dreamed of adopting a sibling group – African is usually what I think of but wouldn’t have to be that way. I know that logically this would be crazy and my husband is concerned about finances (we avoid debt but don’t see how we could pay adoption fees without it). I’ve stopped trying to convince and just wait, feeling that if there’s a right time we’ll know. For now, we offer support to my husband’s family in Africa and sponser two children through World Vision.

    “I want To learn to receive this love better, so it flows out of my imperfect heart beautifully, and changes a life or two.” – me too.