The kids were a mess. Noah was having bowel issues fairly frequently. Maela was short on sleep…very short on sleep. Nicholas was showing off for Sister Christine (his primary care giver for much of his life) who we had just met and Abi was protesting the hot sun. It was our turn for court. The Judge was gracious and asked us to come back into his office instead of having us be a spectacle in open court. There was a lot of talking and truthfully I didn’t know what was going on (partly due to the general rowdiness of the kids). The Judge asked for a few documents, an original copy of our marriage certificate. Then all of the sudden he got real friendly, he looked up from his papers asked Sister Christine about the babies’ home, how things were going there, and how she was doing. He made a few personal comments to our lawyer. And then he looked at us and said. “Your petition is granted.” We filed out and went home.
That was it. 10 minutes.
As we walked out I thought “That was it…how could that be it?” We got in the car and I was lost for a short time in another huge moment that lives in my memory on the other end of life. A moment many years ago, about which I thought exactly the same words. My mother had fought a ten year battle with cancer and was at the end. She said “Praise be to thy name” and she breathed her last. It was the moment that we had been dreading my entire childhood and I thought “That was it…How could that be it.” The truth is that the great moments of life will always be overshadowed and made insignificant, even foolish, by the small and “insignificant” moments of life. My mothers passing was completely overshadowed by the quality of her life and the work of God through it and in it. In the same way this great moment “Your petition is granted,” will be overshadowed by a thousand opportunities to be faithful; diapers, fits of crying, hard parenting choices, and the moment for which we have already been praying, “I believe.” The terribly anticlimactic end to the last four years of effort was really quite fitting for it is not really the end of anything. We are now parents of four beautiful children instead of two. The reality of what that means is joyful and far more difficult than we anticipated. I should have known, after all we already had two children (and we even took some classes on it) but somehow the dirty part of parenting escaped the anticipations of our hearts. The act of parenting, the task of it, is much harder. Yet God in his mercy is always faithful and those moments are overshadowed too, at least we have faith that they will be. The journey has certain difficulties and hardships but the end is eternal glory through Jesus Christ our Lord. My uncle who has adopted 3 children himself once said to me when we were at their house “you think you know about adoption now, just wait till you hear Nicholas and Abi profess faith in Jesus. Then you will really understand that this is Kingdom work.” How much more infinitely can a moment be overshadowed and how foolish will our adopting and parenting effort seem when “your petition is granted” becomes “I believe.” One is only about this life, and the other is life eternal through Jesus Christ our Lord. One is only a shadow, a meager representation, of the other.
So please pray with us over the small moments that overshadow the big ones. Pray for Noah as he learns to be a brother in a newer and harder way. Please pray for Nicholas to learn to trust us in little bits over the next months and years, for Maela as she struggles with the loss of being the youngest, and please pray for Abi as she grows that she might become stronger and begin crawling soon. Last but not least please pray for Jen and I as we dive into parenting in a new way, that we might recognize each small moment for what it is, an opportunity to teach and learn about Jesus.
The moments which truly matter and end up bearing the weight of eternity are always small.
So ten important minutes are a thing of history.