It felt like deja vu.
Same dollar store.
Same sized box.
Same boy toys.
It felt like just yesterday we were wandering around our local dollar store, trying to decide what to put in our shoebox to send to precious son, Titus. It's a privilege to send something to someone we love so much, yet is so far from us.
But, we didn't know if he would even get it. Would they take pictures of him with the disposable camera we sent? Would he get to play with the toys? Would he see our pictures with labels with "mom," "dad," "big sister," "dog," and "home"?
It felt hopeless picking out things for a little boy a million miles away that we had no clue what he liked or that he'd ever see. And since my daughter and I aren't exactly experts in all things boys, we struggled and second-guessed each purchase for what felt like hours.
But he did! The day we met our sweet boy, they gave us the disposable camera and we have precious pictures from his life pre-us.
And now, we're back at the same store, but this time, it was a little easier. First, because we have some hope. He might get this box we whole-heartedly packaged for him. His nannies may take pictures with the disposable camera or put pictures on the flash drive we're sending (a fantastic suggestion by families in our travel group last time!). And, more than anything else, we had a little boy to help us pick out all the boy toys! Hopefully Asher likes dogs and cars and balls, because our little Titus sure does...and that's what he picked out for his new "ge ge" (big brother)!
Preparing the photo album and sending a little note (thanks to my sweet friend for translating it!) is the toughest. How do you put your heart, your family's life, your love for this child you've never met (and he doesn't even know you exist) in a few words and pictures? It's like trying to squeeze all your love, emotions, dreams, hopes, and prayers into a tiny shoebox. Impossible. And since he's only four years old, putting it on toddler-level seems even more futile.
But this tiny shoebox is our only connection to our boy at this moment, so we tried to cram all of our hearts into this cardboard square, wishing we could stuff our very selves in as well.
And that line. It pierced my momma's heart last time and now again. We send a letter with the box that our agency gave us, stating that we are adopting this child and will hopefully be there soon to bring him home.
"Please hug and care for him until we can be united with him."
Cue giant maternal tears. A stark reminder that, though we'd love to be the ones hugging and caring for our precious son, we can't. And we are powerless to make it happen. We must wait helplessly on governments, nameless people who have no idea how much we love this boy and want nothing more than to hop on a plane today to bring him home, to make hugging and caring for him in person happen. And it's probably one of the most humbling and heart-wrenching things as a parent to ask another, person especially one we don't know and may never meet, to hug and care for your child.
And so we wait.
But not hopeless.
We have hope. Hope knowing that he is in a caring place. Hope that some nanny somewhere will give him our pictures and read him our letter. And hope, from our previous adoption, that although it feels like a million years until we will see our precious boy face-to-face, it will happen. One day.
I can't help but think of Mary during this Christmas season and her helpless, but hopeful waiting. She had no idea when her miraculously-conceived son would appear. And as she heard the alarming news she must travel, heavily pregnant, to another city far away, she must have felt powerless, not even knowing where this angel-heralded baby-yet-king would be born. She had no control over her life or her precious son's.
And so she waited.
She might have recalled the ancient prophet's words that this child kicking in her stomach would someday become "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6 NIV). She might have clung to the words angel gave her, "You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” (Luke 1:31-33)
She might have been helpless, not able to control when and where her child would be born, but she had hope in God's Word. That everything He said would be fulfilled. In His perfect plan and in His perfect time.
In a much different, but somehow the same way, we wait helplessly, but hopefully for our son to be brought into our family. We can't control when it will happen. We don't know the time and date yet. We can't always see God's hand working in government officials and agencies to push our paperwork along. But we have hope in our Heavenly Father, who loves Asher even more than us. He will bring our sweet boy into his forever family. In His perfect plan and in His perfect time.
And so we are sending this tiny, but mighty, shoebox to our precious boy, full of all our hope, love, and prayers:
We love you and can't wait to see you!
We hope to bring you home this summer!
Your new family