There are days when I feel like, aside from the overwhelming love of God, I'm being held together by Scotch tape and a dab, here and there, of Elmer's glue. Days when relief comes and I unwind quickly--like a kid who twisted 'round and 'round on a park swing--unaware of the fact that I'd been holding my breath. The exhale is verbose and, when my lungs deflate, it becomes painfully clear that I was falling apart. I apply the glue and the tape, put on my combat boots and keep walking.
See, sometimes God doesn't answer prayers exactly the way we want Him to.
But sometimes He does.
Naively, I thought the fear would disappear once the judge made us an official family. I didn't realize it was an offering I'd have to make on an almost daily basis. "Here, Lord, take this anxiety. It's ugly. It stings and aches and wraps its deceptive fingers around my throat. It isn't much but you can have it." Then, when I foolishly think He isn't looking, I creep up to the altar and take it back. For this reason, I've had to bring a sleeping bag straight into the Holy of Holies. I mostly live there now, practicing a tug of war between who I want to be and what I am. If I walked away, I'd bring the cold, choking fingers of anxiety with me because I'm codependent like that.
I live, almost every day, clinging to the hope that I'm doing right by him. In the deepest part of my marrow, he is my son. My heart knows no distinction between the two boys who call me mommy. But in my head I carry the pressure of transracial adoption. I swim around in a cloud of confusion wondering if faith and love will be enough. I tell him his story. He doesn't ask questions because he's two.
I've told it so many times the knees are almost worn through. He used to insist, almost angrily, that he was in my tummy. I explained quietly that he was formed in his mother's body and that she loves him very much. Now he says, "I in her tummy. I in your heart." The other day, out of nowhere, he looked at me with his deep chocolate eyes and added, "You were in my heart, mommy!" I couldn't swallow the lump that lodged in my throat. Tears leaked from my eyes as I pulled him into my chest. For now, what we are is enough.
But the weight sits on my chest like an elephant in the room. I will teach this child about slavery, emancipation, and segregation. The daunting task of the white woman teaching the brown boy about his history is not lost on me. I will teach this child that he has four parents and that the situation is and was...complicated. To use a word that grossly understates the details. How I instruct him, guide him, and love him will have to be redefined with passing seasons. But I will do these things and I will do them from the foot of the altar, in the protective shadow of my Savior's instruction, guidance and love.
And every day that goes by where we are simply we--and it it enough--is a day of answered prayer.