Who doesn’t love the opening of Dumbo when the stork struggles all plucky over the clouds until he finds the train where Mrs. Jumbo awaits the arrival of her precious child? Such sweetness when he plays a note and then sings Happy Birthday to the little tyke.
Where did all this stork business start anyway? Wouldn’t the pouch of a kangaroo make more sense? Or if this delivery creature had to fly why not a big strong pterodactyl?
So we somehow have this idea that offspring find their way to us by a mystical force. Logically a stork has little or nothing to do with the acquisition of children, so maybe fate plays a hand, or possibly God. As parents we know the process involves more than the multiplication of cells and the influence of genes. Heredity gets us closer to idea of a child placed in our family by design. Be it through conception, adoption, marriage, or other family-making ways it would seem that a force is at work placing children in the arms of their parents.
Some intimate conversations followed my writing an article on our orphanage blog called “Sometimes I don’t know how to pray“. Then a few other blog posts trickled in giving me cause to pause. One friend speaks of the waiting pangs as they painstakingly walk the steps to adopt their first (or first, second and third kids all at once). Another dear friend rejoices over the eleven children God has blessed them with; arms wide open to more should they come into their lives.
So I wonder which ones are mine.
Hannah cared for Samuel for just a few years after month after month of agonizing infertility.
Moses’ mother let the child suckle at her breasts in preparation for a destiny of liberation away from her.
Jesus started to pull away from his mothers’ grasp as a youth as he discussed business with grown-ups.
Rebekah had a boy with failure to launch issues.
Moses ended up running away from his adoptive mother after a life of privilege.
Our children never really walk out of our lives. No matter how long, or short, they stay physically close to us a mother is changed forever. Each child leaves a mark.
I currently mother five children. They are mine. I know this.
We have an orphanage. We provide for the kids. We interact with them and they know us. We have placed caregivers in the home. But, someday I will be more closely involved in the lives of the children who live in The House of Dreams. I have yet to mother these children.
Because, I wonder which ones are mine.
To date 53 children have lived at the House of Dreams. Seventeen of those are still with us: 10 boys and 7 girls; ages 10 and under. Two of those 17 are assigned to be adopted soon. Two others are on a course to be reunited with their birth parents. The math and statistics tell us the 13 that are left will grow into adults under our care.
So, I wonder which ones are mine.
Should you choose to believe in dreams one of those 13, a little girl, is destined to a family. I saw another of the 13, a boy, running to his adoptive parents in a vivid dream one night some time ago. That would bring the number to 11.
Which ones are mine?
When we started our adoption process (before we knew how things worked) there were three little girls in our orphanage we would have loved to adopt. Pati, Carolina, and Ximena are now lovely European young ladies. Our girl is Kaitlynn. She came to us as a surprise, hand-picked for our family from an orphanage on the other side of town.
People ask us if we will adopt again. It was never in the plans. So to give the surface answer I say no. Yet I know that about a dozen or so kids will be dropped in my mothering arms. Maybe sooner than I think.
I ask myself why I do not yet mother them, the 17 over there. The reasons too deep and hidden still, I settle back into mothering my five. I don’t feel guilty about it. It just doesn’t feel like the time for more yet. I know it’s coming. I know there will be a time when some of the children living now in the House of Dreams will be mine.
So I wonder why I don’t run over there now and squeeze them all tight. I wonder why I don’t say to each of them, “You are mine until you belong to another.” What am I waiting for?
I am waiting to know which ones are mine.
Dare I ask the Great, Stork-like, Pterodactyl, God person?
Which ones are mine?