January 04, 2012

It takes a village to adopt a child

Some of our friends went to a local orphanage two days ago, a friend of mine was telling me over dinner.  There were babies filling a room, lying in cribs, being held only during feedings.  Unfortunately, the fact that the babies were held for feedings is remarkable.  Many times in these places, bottles are wired on a tilt to the bars of the cribs.

One of my friends cried much of the time during her visit, I was told.  She and her hubby are in the middle of their own adoption process, which means that their child, whoever she is, is still in a place like that, and it will be months before they get their arms around her.

While the details of this orphanage visit were being relayed to me, I was watching Jubilee from the corner of my eye.  She was high up in Daniel's arms, wiggling against his relentless tickling.  Her beautiful yellow face was all creased-up with joy.  She was laughing.  She had taco meat stains in the corners of her mouth.  She was wearing clean, warm clothes.  Her hair was shining and thick.

What a crazy thing, adoption.  A child goes from a row of cribs in a concrete room to, "Jubilee, finish all your cheese and milk or you won't get any cake." Not only does she not know she was adopted, she doesn't know that she is Chinese (yet).  Earlier this week she started to say, "Thank you," to Xiao Fu, but quickly corrected herself.  "Xie Xie, Ayi," she said, and then she turned to me and said, "Say 'Xie Xie' to Ayi.  Ayi talk Chinese."

Yesterday we received a box in the mail from the children's ministry at our home fellowship.  These people are our backbone, and I mean that.  Without them, and their precious kids, we simply could not be here.  And all of these people are waiting to welcome Jubilee home.  Waiting to love her.  Waiting to smother her with kisses.
They said so themselves.
I'm afraid Jubilee doesn't know what she's got coming.  Slip-and-slides and garage sales and hotdogs roasting on a stick.  You see, she didn't just go from "orphan" to "daughter."  Oh, no.  Much, much more happened when she left that orphanage in that rented car on August 15.  She became part of something HUGE, something most of us take for granted.  Community.

Let the sweet tea flow, y'all, because this little Arkansan's got herself a hometown.  Giddy up!