While flying from London to Houston, a ten hour flight, I kept a squirmy baby content and entertained. The job of carrying an infant through a rigorous travel schedule across two continents and an ocean was a task I couldn’t imagine a way to construct somewhat of a suitable strategy that would keep me sane and the whole plane from sending me hate thoughts. At the mercy of her moods I committed myself to being single-mindedly devoted to her whims and needs. This required a fierce concentration on her and a separation from myself. I also disregarded the opinions of fellow travelers. If she made noise which could have been regarded as a nuisance, I could care less how they felt. And I wasn’t even sorry. I remember when my boys were young and I travelled with babies and toddlers. I used to work myself into a near anxiety attack from the worry of what others would think on the plane. I wasted my peace in those days. Eventually I realized traveling on a plane is not a singular activity. We, the combined group of travelers, make up a temporary community. It is their responsibility to understand there may be babies on the plane who fuss, and they are free to pop in the ear plugs and ignore it. They might even consider saying a nice prayer for the mother who must endure the unpleasant trial.
Thankfully, Kira hardly cried during the entire flight. She did however test the volume of her own voice. I could feel the promised prayers of everyone on two continents because she and I were unified and peaceful. When she wanted to play, we got creative and played with whatever we could find. When she wanted to sleep, so did I. Somehow, while sitting up I was able to cradle her comfortably and get my own long stretches of sleep. With the babies I myself raised from day old infants, they were “trained” to sleep in my arms, and usually found this to be the most peaceful condition for sleep. But in adoption, she has no reason to feel that sleeping next to me is better than being alone in her bed. She has been learning since the day I first held her that when I hold her close in one particular position it is time to relax, trust me, and find comfort there. I have had to fight her for this trust. When she is over tired she becomes as ornery as a hippo with its territory invaded. I have had to lock her into my arms during her fight against sleep and require her to allow me to comfort her as sleep comes over her.
I do see progress. Every day when I put her down into my right arm, so she can pop that right finger into her mouth, I tuck her left arm around my back, while cradling her with my left arm between her dangling legs, I sense she receives this as a sign that it is ok to feel sleepy. I even think she is beginning to trust me to help sleep come over her in a peaceful way. Once I get her into position her angry brown eyes relax and become droopy. She fixes her gaze on me and I know she’s looking deep through me down to my heart where I am promising her she is safe. She can find security there. She doesn’t have to feel vulnerable and alone when sleep overtakes her, she is watched over. I have been sent by God as her guardian, and I hope when she looks deep into my soul with those penetrating searching eyes she knows God is there for her. She will never be alone. And then sleep comes, all muscles go limp, the sucking on the finger decreases intensity and rate, and her face goes from tense to dreamy.
While flying, I would go right to sleep knowing if I didn’t I could become a tired mama who would be drained of patience. Once, on the second flight I only slept two hours while she took a four hour nap. My arms were trapped. I couldn’t pull out my journal or my book. So I turned on a movie. I watched Eat, Pray Love, again. I went to see this movie by myself in the theater because I had read the book when it was first released. I loved her writing more than I loved seeing Julia Roberts play the part. There was a little too much Julia in it for me. Watching it this time after my own international life changing adventure, my mind raced with confirmation of an idea I’ve dangled around me for a while. I should confess that since Jack began his campaign to raise money so children could go to school in Uganda, and he raised a significant amount that astounded everyone, I knew God was moving with a mighty power in our adventure. I began to think I would be wise to consider writing a memoir so we could share the story with many others and allow them the opportunity to gasp with the way God will move through average people like a nine year old boy, and a housewife in Texas.
The adoption was not the only story here. It was a love affair with the people and their needs in Uganda. It became a second adoption of an entire orphanage in dire need of love, support and care, a primary school devoted to its community, and a young Ugandan couple eager to consider adoption before producing their own children (unheard of). This became a story I would be selfish to keep to myself. So I’ve been keeping notes, writing the bones in hope that I’ll be able to construct a manuscript for publishing. It became a story vast with meaning, intrigue, heart and love. I never could have planned such a tale. This is God’s hand moving us so others will know his heart for the orphan, and not just mine that is asleep in her bed right now, but all the others out there who still need God’s people to come and protect, provide and teach them to fulfill their potential.
So, as I watched the movie of her international journey and it’s affect on her life. I knew I had an even stronger story to tell. My story isn’t about me. It’s about what God wants to do through me for the children in this world whose parents have either abandoned them or died. I’m going to do it. I’m going to write this book. I say this now so I am accountable for the completion of it. I don’t say it lightly. If I have developed any reputation I hope it is known about me now that when I say I am going to do something that I DO IT. Remember, I was one of “those” who go to Uganda, play with orphans and romanticize and talk about bringing one home. But I actually did it, I went through the rigors of adoption and now she’s sleeping in her room in my home. And now, I’m going to write this story because I believe God wants it known. I believe if I can sell it then I can put money into the cause of the orphans of this world, not for the fattening of my own pockets.
So I need you to pray for this project. I’ve tried to write a book before. Six years ago I wrote a novel and the first draft is tucked into a box at the back of a cabinet. I’ve never read it since placing the last period. It was a learning project, not a viable product. But now, I’m going to face the distasteful aspects of the literary world, and they are the primary reason that first draft remains in the cabinet, because I believe this story is worth being known. I will commit to going through the hoops, persevering through trial, and facing all sort of rejection with this story until I can get it told- to make God famous and to bring relief to the orphans placed in my care. Pray for me as I stretch myself and “go beyond”.