Thursday, October 27, 2011

5 for 5

Sleepy six-year-old Salome' peeked her face around the hall corner and smiled her tender, toothless smile. I believe she was the sunshine's opening act. She sighed in a motherly way when Zion, who is perpetually hungry, held up the only remaining banana and announced he was saving it for Ezra. Emmaus entered the room frowning and Salome' crossly told him to stop being cross. "Shall we feed him?" I asked, as a seasoned Zoo-Keeper might. Salome' leaped to the task, pausing only to dip her toast into my coffee. With mommy's help, scrambled eggs containing just a hint of shell, appeared on three plates, along with three grapes on the side, for Emmaus.

Ezra quietly slipped into the day while Salome' and I showered. Towels were shared frugally, jeans found, and out of my closet stepped Salome' in black stilettos, dolly in hand and a seldom used purse to freshen her outfit. "Carpe Diem" indeed! "Shall I awaken Malachi?" she asked, in motion to do so. Thankfully, my intervention meant the beloved 9 year old brother, friend and sometimes foe, was spared the wake up call, as his midnight snacking left him in morning hibernation bliss.

This is the "stuff that dreams are made of". I love this joyful, chaotic, and challenging life!
When people ask us, "Was eight children your plan?" and "How did you come to adopt five children?" The truth is I desperately wanted just one more child, after our three biological children, five more would have seemed impossible. But Dennis felt three was enough, so without an "us" decision I was forced to wait. For five long years I researched every possible place from which to adopt. Each time I lay the material before Dennis he said, "Thank you Honey", as he does when I give him driving instruction from the passenger seat. The clock ticked, my thirty-five candles and our youngest child celebrating her fifth birthday, felt like the death of the dream to adopt a child. My time-line was done, I would surrender and quietly stop submitting information to my silent husband.

However, God did not release me! Every time I prayed I couldn't help but ask for a child. Then one day as Dennis led the family prayer, he asked God to be with the baby who was to be ours! In astonishment I asked Dennis if he knew what he had said. He responded, amazed by his own words, "Yes, it must be time!" Nine months later, two day old Malachi Matthew looked into the faces of his new Mommy and Daddy, and this was just the beginning... because five years of prayer, in time, became five children. In God's time and in His way, His gifts are always sweeter than we can imagine.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


My handsome husband and another good friend sat to my left, the three of us all past recipients of a notable international scholarship for post-graduate studies. The banquet tonight was held in honor of our professor and others who had invested their lives in service. We were to be presented, and in preparation, I pressed my favorite teal sweater against my pink lace top. The names were called and all eyes turned to the smiling men who stood up beside me. My name was not mentioned. I sat quietly smiling while I clapped along with the rest of the crowd. After the program a man approached me to ask my name, wondering if perhaps I’d been someone he knew in college. A person beside me offered clarification to his question, explaining enthusiastically that I was my husband’s wife.

Later that night I gazed at the woman on the other side of the mirror, any remnants of glamor washed down the drain or hung carefully on the hanger where the elegant clothes usually live. The face of that forty-five year old reflection, whose life I live, looked tired and seemed to feel sad and quietly invisible to everyone, even me. The tight space between myself and me left no room for truth, so I slipped into bed without us noticing.

In the dark there was nothing to distract clear thinking, and sleep refused my company. Truth appeared and the Selah, the weighing and measuring of that which has real value, drew my thoughts to a woman I have never met. Her name is Dolores and she works in the hospital.

In heart surgery there are many on whom my husband relies. There is the anesthesiologist, the Physician’s Assistant, the perfusionist, the O.R. nurses and the scrub nurse and tech. The operating room is a flurry of activity where hours of intense operating and life threatening decisions surround one precious human. Eventually the patient may meet and thank many members of the team who worked tirelessly to repair the heart, but few will ever meet Dolores. For when the room is quiet and everyone is gone, Dolores comes to clean. There is little recognition for Dolores, but to Dennis she is significant and he could not operate without her willingness to serve in an excellent, invisible manner.

I am so happy to know Dolores’ name, the basis of which is Latin and means sorrowful or Our Lady of Sorrows in reference to the Virgin Mary. It relates to her willingness to serve even when she knew the sacrifice that was to be required. So when I battle my pride and wonder about my life, it is Dolores to whom I look for encouragement. The crowd, the honors, the image in my mirror, they are nothing compared to the joy of serving the little faces that daily shine at me. Selah.