It ain't pretty, folks. You probably do not want to sit around taking photos of us right now. It's crazy hard work. We've messed up a lot. And it feels like the slowest process imaginable.
This past weekend I was tempted to throw myself a small but well-appointed pity party because I can't get my kid to smile for a single Easter photo--you know, the kid who's been home ten months, was safe and secure in mama's arms, surrounded by familiar people in a familiar location. Nope. No dice.
This was the face in every photo. Could be worse, certainly. (Speaking of...who are these children doling out engaging, genuine smiles to their new parents mere minutes after being adopted? Is there a box on some form I forgot to check? I jest...I jest. Kind of.)
The past three weeks (up until about three days ago) have been Rough with a capital R and six exclamation points. Somewhere smack dab in the middle of the Recent Roughness, I heard this:
IT ALL COUNTS.
Every bit of eye contact.
Every laugh I coax out of my son, hopefully flooding his little body with all those feel-good endorphins which remind him Mama makes me happy; family feels good!
Every correction, redirection, or "no" that results in compliance instead of an emotional outburst.
Every time he pushes past fear and lets us help him climb the stairs...attempt to say a new word...touch a pineapple.
Even if tomorrow takes a brief detour to Stinkville, what we poured in today still matters. It is not wasted or illegitimate. The loving, tender moments are real. We are painstakingly building a foundation that will last.
After that, the Word of God came to me: "Zerubbabel started rebuilding this Temple and he will complete it. That will be your confirmation that God-of-the-Angel-Armies sent me to you. Does anyone dare despise this day of small beginnings? They'll change their tune when they see Zerubbabel setting the last stone in place!" Zechariah 4:8-10 MSGI remembered the small beginnings part, but not that these verses are about building. How cool! And a few verses earlier, an angel brings the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit." Does He mean that word for me too, right now, in my family? Absolutely, yes.
What we have so far is not complete or terribly attractive. It's not this.
But we're working toward something secure and unshakable. One day it will even be beautiful. It's going to take a while. I'm learning to be OK with that.