The theme of my book, Same Dress, Different Day, is “God redeems the dreams we thought were lost.” This post is evidence of one way he is doing that in my life. In HIS way. In His time. If you haven’t yet read my memoir, you may not fully be able to appreciate the depth of what takes place in the story that follows. If you have read my memoir, I know you will be freestyling with me at the end of this story.
“I had a meeting with Joelle today,” Honey announced as he changed into a long-sleeved shirt with the CREATION Health logo stitched in white lettering. He was on his way to the YMCA to lead a class on healthy lifestyle choices.
“Oh, how’d it go?”
“Well, we didn’t talk about community building, as planned. I took the boys along. Joelle and I spent the whole time watching them Jet-Ski with her husband, Ken. She was super curious about them. She wanted to know the whole story of how we ended up with two teenage Ukrainian orphans for the summer,” he responded, grabbing his CREATION Health bag and pressing a kiss onto my forehead as he pressed the garage door opener.”
A few minutes later, Honey texts.
Please call me at your earliest convenience.
“What did you forget?” I joke when he answers his phone.
“Nothing. I just heard from Joelle. She and Ken want to meet us at the Y after my class tonight.”
“I don’t know. She just said they want the four of us to speak together. Can you bring the boys to work out while we visit?”
“I guess so.”
Lord, why do they want to meet with us?
I receive the answer to my silent prayer moments after we sit down with Ken and Joelle. I hold my breath as polite small talk paves the way for much bigger talk than I am prepared for.
“What would it take to adopt the boys?” Joelle’s question knocks the wind out of my summer hosting sails.
Honey explains as much as he knows of the procedure as my brain scrambles to process the emotions her question just uncapped. I listen as Joelle and Ken share their heartfelt interest in the future of the two teenagers who intensely play table tennis just outside the glass doors of the YMCA’s conference room.
We’re supposed to advocate for them, right, God? Isn’t that the whole purpose of the hosting program? Why do I feel possessive of them? Why are my emotions on edge as I listen to this conversation? Shouldn’t I be happy that someone is interested in them?
I struggle to stay present in the conversation as my heart rate increases and the obnoxious lump in my throat grows to the size of a clementine.
Our meeting ends with an invitation to bring the boys to Ken and Joelle’s on Thursday for a cookout so their extended family can get to know them.
Why do I feel like crying?
I quiz God on the way home as the Boy beside me changes the radio station to something I’ve never heard and the Boy in the backseat proclaims, “Yes! I like this song.”
I know the song that plays in my head. The one I’ve been trying to block for weeks: the one that started out slow, with the simple rhythm of learning to love two strangers. The one that daily increases with intensity as the time for their departure nears and Honey and I avoid the “A-word” that nobody else seems afraid to say. The song that began all those years ago in chapter 7 of my book (Same Dress, Different Day) when I gave my heart to a brown-eyed baby girl and set my sights on adoption.
I know that song – the song whose chorus rings in my ears whenever I allow myself to dream those I-wanna-be-somebody’s-mamma dreams. It’s a song I’ve spent years playing with the volume completely down because I know the searing pain of disappointment. But sometimes something happens that blasts the volume on my silent CD and, like the Boy in the backseat, I feel the music deep in my soul and it moves me in strange and unusual ways.
The day we went to Ken and Joelle’s for dinner was a day I was unable to control my Mamma Song’s volume. I wanted to shout, “Stop looking at them like that! They’re not puppies for sale in some shop window. They’re boys. Kind boys whose eyes are filled with stories they have not yet shared with me, boys whose hearts have been hurt by their hand-me-down lives, but who still hold their heads high with dignity. Boys who live each moment with joy, spilling it all over Honey and me. Hey! Those are my boys!”
Yeah, it was hard to smile and nod and eat macaroni salad without breaking my plastic fork. My emotions were drunk driver erratic as I watched Joelle and Ken’s family watching the boys. I had to step inside the powder room to pray. More than once.
God! What is up with me? I should be THRILLED that these people see the boys’ potential. Thrilled they want to give them a better future than the one they face when they go back to Ukraine. Why am I not feeling this?
Fast-forward five days. Ken and Joelle have invited the four of us for dinner again. This time it’s at Your Pie, our favorite pizza place. I am not hungry.
“God spoke to me as I walked and prayed this morning,” Joelle begins. “He does that sometimes. Ken knows.” She made eye contact with her husband.
Are those tears I see in his eyes, Lord? Oh, God. I don’t know if I can take this.
Joelle continues speaking. I follow one Boy with my eyes as he rides his skateboard between tables on the restaurant’s outside patio. The other Boy plays Keep Away with Ken and Joelle’s daughter and granddaughter.
“Yeah. God said I heard Him correctly the other day when I felt we were supposed to be involved in these kids’ lives. I just got the details wrong. Today He clarified things.” Joelle made eye contact, first with André, then me, before continuing, “God was very clear that you two are supposed to be the ones to adopt them. Ken and I are just supposed find ways to help you do that and provide support as you parent them. We want to financially help you get started with the adoption process. And we’d also like to commit to helping with the boys’ education.”
I put my head down on the table at my favorite pizza place and wept. Then I looked at My Honey. His eyes were moist as he nodded “Yes” to my unspoken question. That’s when I started freestyling as the volume on my Mama Song shot through the roof!
Honey and I humbly invite you to be part of this story.
Because the adoption process is lengthy and expensive for adopting two children from different orphanages in two different regions of Ukraine, we are starting a Go Fund Me account to give other people the opportunity to join Ken and Joelle in the adventure of supporting André and me as we seek to make our dream of adopting Yura and Pasha a reality. Please feel free to share our journey with others who may also be moved to help us become a family of four.