It seems that every Lent God puts me in humility. Being placed in humility is not comfortable….it may be necessary, but it’s not comfortable. I’ve realized over the years that I am a selfish person. I’ve chalked it up to our basic need for survival, but the reality is, I’m selfish beyond any survival mechanism. My husband decided long ago that we needed to do more. He felt we were blessed, and therefore more was expected of us, and we had to give back, but he didn’t know how. He prayed a simple prayer to God that he didn’t at the time share with me. It went something like this, God I want to serve you, but left on my own I won’t. If you do not place something before me, I will do nothing, so if you want me to do something, put something in my path. The end.
We had been tossing around adoption as I had many pregnancies, and only two births. Now being in my declining years, we put before us adoption. This was a whole new world for me. I learned things I never knew existed. I asked God for a sign if this was his will for us. I just happened to go to another church that particular weekend, and in their bulletin was an advertisement for an adoption agency, run by a Franciscan Friar. For me this was a sign from God as I too, was a Franciscan. They were also running a class on how to understand adopting a child in the Foster Care system that happened to be in the convenience of my town. Very unusual, another sign it was to be.
We decided to attend this training, and after learning that 99.9% of the children have experienced some type of abuse ranging from sexual, physical and/or mental abuse, and the small percentage that said they were not abused, we were told that when they were in a safe environment, admitted they too, were abused. I kind of freaked out. Having two children at home, I became so scared that I backed out, and took my name off of the list, fearful of repeat offending on my children.
Months later, I received a call from the agency saying to me, Dawn, I know you took your name off of our list, but….we prayed and prayed, and we have a small boy 8 ½ years old, severely abused, and we need to take him out of his environment, and place him in a safe one. We called everyone on our list, and you were the only one to answer the call. Can we come? Okay, we’ll be there in 2 hours.
Talk about being caught off guard, and put on the spot. As my husband and I waited in anticipation at our front window for them to arrive, we pondered how we were going to deal with this. He decided to share with me his prayer, and how this was God’s way of answering it. Well….what can I say, God has a way of putting me in my place, and as the car pulled in my driveway, and I saw this little boy 8 ½ years old in a baby car seat, frail, small, malnourished, and in appearance looking as though he were 5, how could I have anything, but love and awe. As he came out of the car, he immediately noticed my huge Mary statue in front of my house, and stared with hope, and comfort, saying to me as his first words, “oh good, you have Mary here” shocked that he knew who Mary was, I said, “you know Mary?” and he said, “yes, and I hope you go to church, because I go every week.” To which I said, “I go every day and I think we are going to get along just fine.” Of course he looked at me as though I had a two heads. We bonded that night, and he keeps me in check, and in humility. He has taught me more than any single person in my life, and makes me grateful for all of my crosses compared to his. He turned out to be a blessing beyond all blessing, at a time when I thought I would be the blessing.
Today, he said to me, mom, you know how hard my life has been? Yes, I do. Well I want to get a tattoo when I am older of the scripture Philippians I saw it on a bulletin board at youth group, and it reminded me of me. Surprised I asked why? He said, because, it expresses my life and I survived a lot, it says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.What can I say? He has a valid point at 16 years of age.