Editor’s note: In recent years, BBI has emphasized ministry to orphans. Though we are neither a hosting or adoption ministry, we do help individual families navigate some of the complexities of adopting from Latvia. I rejoice every time a Latvian child is adopted by a loving Christian family just like the Meeks. This is their story.
* * * *
Is it possible to love a child too much?
By Natalie Meeks
GREENVILLE, South Carolina – As long as I can recall, I’ve been drawn to the imagery of the Tapestry. Woven by the hands of a Master, intricately, painstakingly. The backside, chaotic, appears to be a mess; a jumble of threads, frayed, knotted and crossed in various directions, desperately seeking a destination.
But when our vantage point is shifted to the front, focus is gained. When seen from the correct perspective, our eyes behold the beauty of the cords. Richness, color, pattern and texture. Life – glorious unfolding of a providential plan that we, alone, could never have conjured. A Masterpiece.
There are periods during which we cannot follow the path of the threads. Likewise, there are those blessed moments when God allows us a peak into the direction of His workmanship.
Just one year ago, the Lord commenced the cross weaving of our family’s Tapestry in a most surprising direction. Northeast.
* * * *
“But what if I can’t love him enough?”
The autumn air was balmy, the grass dewy, and I paced, the moist and soft padding my bare feet. Flushed with fear and anxiety, I dialed her number. The question tumbled from my lips before I could order my own cease-and-desist. The coordinator of our Latvian orphan-hosting program answered, and breathed reassurance and Gospel-words into my ear.
“Natalie, you can do what God calls you to do. You and Cory are not called to heal him. You are called to provide a safe place for him to heal.”
Knowing the truth of His calling didn’t eliminate my fear of the unknown. We had five young children at home. My husband worked relentless hours. My plate was full and my heart, ever so much more so. Where would I find room for an orphan who needs to be loved?
I agonized and I prayed. I prayed on bare knees in the early dark, while bent over stove stirring pot, jostling baby girl on hip.
And, as He ever will, God answered. We love because He first loved us.
We committed. We would bring a 9 year old Latvian orphan into our home for four weeks over Christmas. We would show him the love of Christ, the love of a family. This was our tidy little plan.
November stormed past in a fury and December marked boldly onto my calendar squares. The children were excited, nervous. We kissed our three youngest goodbye and hurried to the airport to greet a child. A child whom we had chosen, but who had not chosen us; a child who had not been chosen by the very parents ordained to bear and raise him.
The airport arrivals lounge was large and bright. White shone everywhere, the ceiling and floor scored geometrically by cheerful colored patterns. We had rushed all day, all month. Now, we resigned to wait.
Children began to stream in and excitement built. Posters from fellow host families were raised, brightly proclaiming Latvian names I could not pronounce and pasted with photos of beautiful children. We lifted our poster high, gift of soccer ball and snack at the ready, and held our breaths.
He arrived. I watched as he cautiously approached. His hair was shorter, his gangly legs longer, than his picture conveyed.
And he was broken.
Exhausted from 20 hours of travel, overwhelmed by the sight of this new family in a new country, speaking a foreign language, he buckled. His tears flowed and my heart ached to comfort him. This little-big boy had walls that I didn’t know how to climb. I prayed. “Lord, show me how to reach him.”
He bravely and obediently followed us out of the airport, into the big wide world of America, and we walked to the car to begin our two-hour drive home. I worried and I prayed.
My children’s eyes watched wide as he climbed into the backseat. A new world had opened up to them. We cruised in the dark under city lights and I relaxed as I saw his eyes close, head against the window. Sleep. Yes, sleep child. You must be so tired. Then I heard the sound. All mothers know the sound. The peculiar cough that precedes….”Oh please, Lord, please let it not be vomit?”
God’s ways are not our own.
We pulled to the side of the road and I dashed into the back to assess and tend. He looked full at me for the first time, helpless, his beautiful eyes wide and desperate. My hands reached for his soiled fingers, and I pleaded unspoken if I may? He nodded. I cradled his hands while I cleaned them, his face, and his shirt. He relaxed into me. Walls crumbled and he accepted this meager mama-nursing effort as one that he could trust.
And I prayed. “Lord, thank you for the vomit.”
A month flew by and this child-without-family became an integral part of our own in the most miraculous and mysterious of ways. Each smile, each laugh and each hug extended roots, which lengthened and strengthened. Shy grins and giggles between children gave way to trust and camaraderie and Gospel-brotherhood.
And then, he left. He crossed the sea to return to his home, exchanging family for an orphanage. Our hearts broke.
• • • •
Is it possible to love a child too much? Of course the answer is No. Love multiplies and the Father who first loved us has filled our hearts for one of His own; for an orphan who was fatherless, but never Fatherless.
Soon, we will board a plane for the country that has given him to us. We will enter the courts and proclaim the pattern that brought us there – to promise to make him our own and love him forever.
To adopt him.
As we pass the days until we may bring him home, the fabric yet grows. That tidy little plan? We should have known. God’s plans are never little. The cords, the Tapestry of our family, are now deeply and unchangeably inter-threaded with those of a beautiful little boy who will soon be called our son.
I cannot see the entirety of this masterpiece yet. But the glimmering threads reveal beauties we didn’t know we were missing:
A little boy who calls us Mommy and Daddy, and his land, Latvia.
* * * *
Adopting Latvian children is an expensive proposition. The Meeks are actively and creatively raising the necessary funds. If any of our readers would like to help, please email me. – Charles Kelley