A guest post by Ken
Robin and I are looking forward to going and getting our children. We can’t wait. The waiting causes our spirits to ache. There is a deep longing that cannot be explained but tells us that the way things are now are simply not as they should be.
Our children, who we hope to adopt in the very near future, are not ours yet. And we know that the journey to go and get them will be a difficult one. We are going to a country that is very different from our own. It will not be safe for us – day or night. The basic living conditions will be challenging. The Democratic Republic of Congo is a dark place. An inhospitable place for us. Our goal is go there, get our children and return safely.
For our two children, they may not understand what is happening. I can’t imagine that three and five year olds will be able to grasp the changes no matter how hard we try to explain the process. They will be joining our family and going to a place that is so foreign from all that they know.
Kinshasa, their current home, is dangerous. As “rich foreigners”, it will be even more so for us. There is a lack of food and clean drinking water. Disease is common. Much of the living conditions are a mystery because it is illegal and unsafe for outsiders to take pictures. For the most part, the plight of those living there goes unnoticed by the outside world. It is a place that is forgotten and abandoned.
And we can’t wait to show our children what their new home will be like. We have come to love Nashville and all that it offers. It has become home for Robin and I.
We are so blessed.
If I were penniless today, I know where I could go to get a warm meal and a smile. And even if I didn’t, I believe strangers, STRANGERS, would take care of me. Clean drinking water is freely available. I have access to doctors, top notch hospitals and the latest medicines. And while there are dangerous places in Nashville, I also know that there are many places where I am safe and will be welcomed inside. I am so blessed.
Nashville is a beautiful city. We look forward to taking our children around the city and showing them the sights: the Zoo (creatures big and small from the very cuddly to the very creepy), farmers market (with all its sights and smells), Centennial park (they may not care about the Parthenon, but will love feeding the ducks in the pond), the Adventure Science Center (with all its wonders to explore), and of course the lights at the Opryland Hotel at Christmas time. And in between, there are so many playgrounds and metro parks that must be explored. I think they will love the many trees, ponds, walkways, jungle gyms, swimming pools and ice cream shops. Nashville is a great place to be a kid.
We are so blessed and have so much to share with our children.
When we meet them our children will be afraid about the future, the transition and us. How can they not be? Everything about us will be different from what they know. It will be our job to build trust, to guide them through this transition, and to make them feel safe along the way.
We know that in many ways life will be better for them. We will give them food, clothes, a home where they can feel safe, education, friends, and a future where they can decide who they want to be and what they will do with their lives. If they allow us, we will be their forever family.
I can’t wait to tell them about their wonderful life and all the riches it has waiting for them. And yet I am reminded that this isn’t the BEST. Moving to America will be life changing for them, but the truth is there is nothing, NOTHING, on this earth that will compare to heaven.
We are so blessed to be living where and when we are, but this isn’t home. While we will be in Kinshasa, we will be looking forward to returning to Music City, yet there is a real danger for us if we get too comfortable with this life.
Nashville is a beautiful city. It has become home for Robin and I. But it is not home for us. We are both aliens and strangers who are on a journey to a better place. We look forward to our children joining us on this pilgrimage. When the writer of Hebrews penned the passage on the heroes of the faith, he described a people of faith who longed for a place where they would belong.
13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 13:13-16, NIV)
More recently, Building 429 has written a song, Where I Belong, which sums up how Robin and I feel.
Sometimes it feels like im watching
from the outside
Sometimes it feels like
I’m breathing but am I alive
I will keep searching for answers
that aren’t here to find
All I know is
I’m not home yet
this is not where I belong
take this world and give me Jesus
this is not where I belong
So when the walls
come falling down on me
and when im lost
in the current of a raging sea
I have this blessed assurance holding me.
When the earth shakes
I wanna be found in you
when the lights fade
I wanna be found in you
We can’t wait to meet our children.
We long for the day when we can bring them back to the states and introduce them to our friends, family and the wonderful life that we now enjoy.
But we ache for the day when OUR heavenly Father comes to get us and take us HOME where we truly belong!