I waited ten.

In my last post I talked about how ten years ago, our adoption story began.  I was in high school and had just had a life changing conversation with a complete stranger about foster care and adoption.  Never had anything sounded so right for me.  But I was afraid to talk about it, so I didn’t.  God knew though, and He continued to prod my heart.

Just a short few weeks later I had a dream.  Not just any dream, but a vivid dream, one of those dreams where you wake up and wonder if what just happened was real or imagined.  A dream where the physical world where you live is literally invaded by what just happened in your mind while you were asleep.  These kinds of dreams do not happen to me often.  But when they do happen they make you sit up and pay attention.

I have only told a few people in my life about this particular dream.  It is incredibly close to my heart, and I knew I couldn’t share it until the time was right.  Now that we are officially in the process of adopting, I feel that the time is here to share it.  If nothing else to keep the details for posterity.  I know it’s controversial to say that God spoke to you through a dream, but when any experience in your life leads you to apply God’s Word to your life in a fuller, more complete way, the Holy Spirit is at work there.  God does not often work through dreams, but He has been known to do so.

God has been directing my life toward adoption for a long time… I have known about it for ten years now.  And this was the night He revealed His plans to me.

***

The dream started in an underground tunnel.  Dark, wet, dirty… there were roughly twenty of us.  We were being led by a few uniformed soldiers carrying assault rifles.  Most of us were women and children.  They led us out of the tunnel into a wide open area filled with garbage.  It was a glorified trash yard with a solitary bus sitting right in the center.  It was one of those old green buses with torn up seats and no air conditioning to speak of.  Not that it would have worked to turn on the air anyway.  They led us into the bus; it was our prison, probably a temporary one.  And then they left.

She had been next to me the entire time.  Her bouncing, curly, thick black hair and her huge brown eyes.  She was the most beautiful little girl I had ever seen.  She had pretty olive skin and she was so sweet and innocent.  Even her appearance was clean and neat, in stark contrast to the garbage heap around us and the frightened, roughed up people sharing our makeshift shelter.  I felt inexplicably attached to this little girl, and she clung to me – totally trusting that I would protect her.  In dreams sometimes you know things without knowing how you know them.  I knew this girl’s parents were gone, and I knew she was mine to take care of.  I also knew it was her birthday.

Dreams can be convenient things sometimes too.  Like the birthday cake I procured from underneath the seat in the very back of the bus.  It was just a couple rows behind us, and I would keep checking to make sure it was still there.  I don’t know how I got a hold of it, but I was so proud of that little cake.  It was simple, white with dainty red flowers.  There were no presents or balloons, but this girl was going to have a tummy full of delicious cake.  I brought it out and showed it to her.  Her eyes lit up like stars.  The dire  surroundings we were in melted, and there was nothing but pure joy.

I was quickly brought back to the reality of things when one person spoke up and said “The king’s daughter is not going to like that.  You know she doesn’t allow any child other than herself to get gifts.”  One of those dream intuitions happened again; somehow I knew just what this fellow prisoner was talking about.  No sooner had I realized the severity of the matter than a Shirley Temple-esque monster storms up the stairs of our bus.  Her blue eyes reduced to glaring slits and her little rosy cheeks puffed out.  My sweetheart, meanwhile, was sitting on her bench holding her birthday cake, which was just seconds ago a treat, and now was damning evidence.  The “princess” was infuriated.  She didn’t say much, but she left in a huff and we all knew what was coming next.  Someone had to be punished for this injustice.  And it was my little girl who was on the line.

In anticipation of an attack, I gently took the cake back, before the poor darling had even had a bite, and slid it back under the seat.  Half hoping that if she wasn’t holding it the soldiers wouldn’t know who was the offender, but it was of no use.  Two soldiers quickly entered and unsheathed their weapon of choice.  It was a long rod with a sharp end surrounded by three metal circles just under its point.  It was not for stabbing, but for electrocuting.  They took one look at my little girl and proceeded toward us immediately.

She was sitting just across from me.  I grabbed her and shouted, but they didn’t listen.  The rods went up.  I threw myself over her as they laughed at my feeble attempts to protect her.  I knew I couldn’t hold out for long, but I had to try.  After about three jabs in my side and my back… I woke up.  The pinpointed, searing pain lasted for minutes as I laid there wondering what on Earth had just happened.  But in that moment I knew… I had a child to find.  A part of me wanted to fall back to sleep to get back to her and hold her and protect her.  But I knew I couldn’t.  I knew it was a dream and that she wasn’t really there.  She was somewhere else, maybe even sometime else.  The only thing I could do for her was to pray and to remember.  I had to remember that there was a child somewhere to be protected.  A child that was not born to me, but who I loved intensely from then on.

***

Juri1I have kept those memories, and thought of her often, though I have never dreamed of her again.  I knew that dream was a confirmation of what I was feeling after my conversation with the woman a few weeks earlier.  I didn’t know how and I didn’t know when, but I knew what I needed to wait and prepare for.  It has been a long ten years.  Patience has not always been my close friend.  But looking back I am so grateful for that time that I have had to prepare.  And after we are home, and Juri asks me that oh so common and heartbreaking question, “Why did it take you so long to come for me?  I waited six years for you.”  I will be able to honestly look him in the eyes, take him by the hands and say, “I know.  I know you did, and I waited ten.”  Love is patient.

Lord thank you for giving me the opportunity to love my child before I knew him.  Thank you for putting this groaning in my heart that mirrors the pain in his.  Give us both the patience to wait just a little bit longer.  We’re on our way sweet boy… we’re on our way.

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