Friday, June 18, 2010

grief, grace, and PBJ

As excited as I am to bring home our boy, I have been struggling with lots of sadness lately too. Of course we are excited... but how does he feel? We chose this, we chose him, but he had no choice and that makes me sad. Although the process of adoption will meet his need for a loving lifelong family, it will also be yet another traumatic experience for him. He will be brought to an unfamiliar place (the transitional home in Addis Ababa) where complete strangers (that's us) will hug him and kiss him and speak strange-sounding words to him. Then a few weeks later these same strangers will come back and take him in a horribly loud and crowded machine for hours on end, only to emerge in a new place where nothing smells, sounds, tastes, feels or looks right. And this is only the beginning.

I am starting to love this boy more and more, which makes me grieve for what I cannot give him. I can't fix the brokenness that led to him needing to be adopted. I can't rewind the tape and change the events and decisions that brought him to where he is. I can't change the fact that he will not be raised by the people who gave him life, that he will never look like his Mom and Dad, that he will grow up across the world from his first home... and it makes me sad.

Yesterday I got home from a lovely (and by lovely I mean downright awful) day of travel with 2 exhausted, over-stimulated, post-Disneyland preschoolers. [I may or may not have burst into tears at the airport McDonald's and required the help of a kind stranger to regain my sanity and my chicken nuggets.] By the time we got home we were all hanging by a thread. The kids needed dinner and there was no food in the house so I started making PBJ. As I made the sandwiches my thoughts wandered to Ethiopia and my heart got heavy. I don't know if I can do this... He needs an Ethiopian mama... He deserves better than me... I know I'm going to make a million mistakes... I looked down and realized I had put peanut butter and jelly on the top of the sandwich and stuck and extra piece of bread on top. There was no fixing it, the sandwich was ruined and I started to cry (again).

"What's wrong Mommy?" I gulped and sniffed and looked down at the sandwich. True, I couldn't fix it, but I could make the best of it. "Nothing sweetie. Mommy made you the coolest, most special sandwich ever! It's a TRIPLE-DECKER PBJ!" The kids of course thought it was awesome and will probably not accept PBJ any other way from here on out.

God is funny. He is not above using PBJ to bring His deeply-needed grace into our lives if that's what we give him to work with. As I sliced up the triple-stack sandwiches I received the peace of his presence with me, reminding me that yes, I will mess up... but YES, God will redeem. He will use me to bless my children, even when I'm spacing out and buttering the wrong side of the bread. In this adoption journey, in my daily parenting challenges, in all areas of life I find myself utterly and completely dependent upon that grace -- the grace that takes our broken offerings and makes them into something beautiful.



7 comments:

  1. fyi...this is exactly how Michael Card ALWAYS makes PB&Js!

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  2. Oh Haley... you are so sweet. I get it. Truly, His grace is sufficient and He has given us everything we need to "do this."

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  3. You are the right mom for your boy. Don't doubt it.

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  4. Beautiful post Haley... grief & grace is such an accurate paradigm for the adoption journey. We are praising God for His faithfulness to you all and to your new little guy and praying for many, many moments of grace!

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  5. I wonder if you are feeling some of the same emotion God felt when he was making the plan to adopt us??

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  6. haly ballast! i adore you. i also have to say that whenever matty and i go on mission trips i'm in charge of making our pbj's and he will not eat them if they aren't triple decker. so i'm glad the ballast family finally caught on.

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  7. you're amazing and inspiring.

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