You knew I had to do it. I hail from Willy’s hometown now, after all but why the Russian adoption reference? Well, I’ll tell you.
Years ago a friend of mine adopted two children (separately) from Russia. I inwardly cringed when she talked about the two-week visits with her babies. They were with her every day. She cared for them and rocked them to sleep and loved them to pieces and then…left. Russian law requires adoptive parents to return to their home country to await judicial orders that the child(ren) are approved for adoption into that particular family. She said multiple times to me (I’m slow to catch on when a concept involves leaving one’s children in another country), “Lisa, we have to leave so we can come back.”
Other friends of ours recently completed the lengthiest adoption process ever—Haiti. That trial involved multiple years and visits to their son while government workers sorted out the red tape holding back his immigration to the US of A. They had to leave him before they could come back for him.
International adoption involves a large serving of Hell. It’s all worth it, of course. It’s more than worth it. I can testify that twice I’ve left a foreign land feeling both immense joy and wild, immense indebtedness. Really? She’s ours? Forever? It’s the most consuming, overflowing feeling of gratefulness. I liken earthly adoption to what Jesus did for us, to what God gave us.
But the Hell part is real, y’all.
Yesterday I sat on one friend’s couch visiting with another friend when my beloved hobo burst through the door announcing our imminent departure. Because he has no rails to ride, he’d readied the 5th Wheel and despite squishy mud, complete lack of real preparation and no time for me to even feed the children, he was ready to go. Danny is an extremely patient person except when he’s not. In less than an hour, we hit the road. Maybe it is better this way because we pulled the Band-Aid off super quickly and I was busy gathering and storing and loading so I couldn’t curl up and feel sorry for myself. I also couldn’t line us up outside the RV for one last picture on our little hill (where we’ve happily stayed with friends the last six weeks) or even pray a quick travel mercies prayer. Nope. No time for niceties. Gotta get going. We strained to hear the last notes from our favorite, local radio station. I seared the skyline in my mind’s eye and as a sister friend encouraged me, I turned forward to the other horizon and settled in for the long haul. For the next five months we will travel through the south and the east coast, finally continuing the trip of a lifetime that was postponed due to death in the family.
I confess I’m really comfortable in Austin. I know the streets, the sounds, the smells of BBQ and Tex Mex. I can tell you which HEB has the best from-scratch tortilla chips and we practically live at our library branch. I can’t go to a restaurant, grocery store or doctor’s appointment without running into someone we know (this in a city of 1.5 million but we all know how I like to make friends). We dropped back into church, piano lessons and social fun without missing a beat and I LIKE IT. One thing this trip has done so far (we’ve lived in an RV since September 6, people) is solidify “home” for me. Austin, Texas is home. For years now, when I was in Austin, I was homesick for Kansas and when in Kansas, I yearned for Austin. While I still have heart bits scattered between the two states, somewhere in the last six years I became an Austinite and it’s super sticky and complete.
Everyone tells us how lucky we are to be so foot loose and I agree! We are also very lucky to have a steady compass pointing straight to the heart of Central Texas so when this fancy free trip comes to an end, we know which way gets us home.
We have to leave so we can come back.