Day Thirty-one – The Blessing of Community “Part Two”

The first time I posted The Blessing of Community, I didn’t intend for it to have a ‘part two’.  However, I’ve been so blessed by the community in my life that I feel compelled to write about it again.  Don’t worry…this one is a little different. 

First, let me define community.  I’m not talking about the kind of community we might have learned about thirty years ago in school in social studies class.  This isn’t your neighbors and the local grocer, teacher, fireman, or policeman in your town (although they may be part of it).  This isn’t about geography.  City limits don’t define a community.  Community is the people who love and support you, the people you enjoy spending time with, and the people that have a positive impact on your children, your family at large, and you as an individual.  This is community. 

Now, let me share a bit about my weekend.  Friday was the last weekday of spring break.  I’ve come to love this particular week because at this point in the school year, I miss my child!  I hear parents lament that they simply cannot wait until their children go back to school.  I do not feel this way.  I not only love my child, but I LIKE him also.  He’s a congenial little fellow and my husband and I enjoy being with him.  Friday, however, we chose not to stay home together; instead we rode along with my folks to pick up my sister from the airport.  She recently moved far enough away that it requires a plane ride to come visit.  Jude was over the moon to see her, and while I can control myself a little more than he, I have to admit that I was as well. 

Saturday we had a wedding and Sunday we had a memorial service for a loved one who passed.  Full weekend.  Now, one might think: wedding fun; memorial not.  Here’s how we would clarify that for us:  The wedding was lovely.  We are delighted for the bride and groom and the photos that have already started to show up on Facebook are great and fun to look at.  The memorial: absolultely fantastic.  My mother did a wonderful job as the MC for her mother’s memorial.  My aunt, who has been very ill, was up and around and feeling good.  My son made fast friends with the sons of my cousin.  They are darling boys and took our little Jude under their wing and he had a great day playing basketball and running around outside and inside.  My husband and I got to see people we haven’t seen in a very long time.  Extended family is like that.  These are the people that you see at showers, weddings, and funerals…and then you always talk about the fact that you just have to make it a point to see each other more.  This time, I just have to make that happen.  Life is busy and schedule are full, especially when you are raising a family.  However, these are the people who knew me when I was a little girl.  They loved me then and they love me now.  Long ago they embraced my husband as their own and they have welcomed my son into the fold, though (to my knowledge) we are the only couple in the family to build our family in this way called adoption.  I was able to sit and visit with an uncle that I had seen only in fleeting moments over the last almost three decades and hadn’t had a meaningful conversation with since I was eight and sitting on his lap (if you could call my 8-yr-old conversation meaningful).  Seriously, this man has the sweetest spirit and his wife is about as sweet as peach pie.  I felt so blessed to be able to hear about their lives.  He and my aunt split when I was too young to understand what that meant and in my heart and mind, there was never a time when I didn’t think of him as my uncle.  In fact, I remember in my growing up years hearing my cousin talk about him and wishing I could go visit and see him, too.  Then there was the conversation with my cousin and his two boys, during which one of the boys asked me to share the wildest thing his papa ever did.  I refrained, but oh – the stories I could tell! 

I left the memorial and a half hour later I had four friend requests on Facebook from this part of my family, including my uncle; very cool.  Now, here’s my Facebook soapbox: I’ve recently heard some lament FB…the ads, the politics, the vitriol.  Here’s the deal: FB uses algorithms.  Ignore the ads.  The more you click on (or don’t x out), the more they’ll show.  The politics are from people – human beings.  Unless you want to stop interacting with people, or only interact with the ones that think like you, you won’t get away from politics.  You don’t have to dive in head-first, but you can ignore it.  Lastly, consider this a notice: if what you post puts vulgarity, cursing, porn (soft of otherwise), or vitriol of any kind on my page or news feed, you will be hidden or I’ll simply need to unfriend you.  It is not an indication of my love or lack thereof.  I simply don’t feed my mind with those things and half the time I have a six-year-old over my shoulder peering at the same things I peer at.  This is my advice to those who are mad at Facebook.  Ignore the things that are problematic for you – don’t spend your energy on them.  (I am not a Facebook groupie; if there’s another place that my friends and family move to en masse, I will likely follow to stay connected.  However, until Facebook becomes grossly offensive to me, I will remain there because it’s been an avenue for blessing.)  Off my soapbox and back on track…

This morning I dropped my son off at school.  I generally go back to the car and check email to see if there’s anything specific I need to know so I can hit the ground running when I get to work.  This morning I also checked Facebook briefly.  There was a friend request from a fairly new friend whose son is in my Jude’s class.  This lady is such a great person who genuinely loves people and is one of the easiest people to connect with on a personal level that I’ve ever met.  I tell my son to be careful who he selects as close friends.  They need to be people who will help him made good Godly decisions, be an encouragement, be fully trustworthy, and prompt him to love others.  Those kinds of friends are sometimes rare, and my husband and I have the same standards.  Let’s just say this dear lady is all of that and I’m blessed to call her friend. 

In the midst of all of this, my apartment was full every evening this weekend.  Due to my one sister being in town, my parents and my other sister and her husband were at our place for several hours each evening talking, watching basketball, eating, a laughing together.  I am starting my Monday feeling deeply blessed. 

 CollaborationNow, what on earth does this have to do with God at work in the areas of adoption or orphan care?  Here it is: I strongly caution you against, and dare I even say that you simply cannot adopt a child without community?  You will need things that God only gives through other human beings.  You will need support when your child goes through the grieving process.  Sometimes that support just looks like someone who hurts for your little one almost as much as you do.  We were talking about adoption this weekend and I mentioned grief and then specifically Jude’s grieving process and my sister immediately said, “Oh that was just awful.”  She remembers and she and her husband were sometimes the only ones who understood what we were dealing with in a given moment.  You will need understanding people who can act as a buffer, updating the rest of your circle when you sequester your family so that you can connect, attach, and bond.  You’ll need respite care and you’ll need it from someone who understands that sometimes that needs to happen at your house because taking your child out of his or her safe (or perceived safe) environment can be terrifying for your child for the first year or so.  There’s another thing that you’ll need that God uses other people to bless you with: in the midst of your joy and blessing, your heart will hurt as you help your child heal.  Once in awhile you’ll feel so ‘in the trenches’ that you’ll think it may never get easier.  Granted, this is outweighed by blessing beyond your imagination, but it can and often does happen.  When that happens, you will need someone in your world to sit with you, love your family, hurt with you, and say things that will salve your raw emotions (cue the aforementioned sister in my world).  Life is a team sport.  Going it alone won’t be good for you or your kids.   

God is at work, as He continues to bless us with a wonderful community.  Most of them aren’t geographically close to us.  They are, nonetheless, our community; Jude loves them, and we are grateful for them.   










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