One night I tossed for an hour while dogfights raged overhead, streaking my patch of sky with fire. At last I heard Betsie stirring in the kitchen and ran down to join her.
She was making tea. She brought it into the dining room where we had covered the windows with heavy black paper and set out the best cups. Somewhere in the night there was an explosion; the dishes in the cupboard rattled. For an hour we sipped our tea and talked, until the sound of planes died away and the sky was silent. I said goodnight to Betsie at the door to Tante Jans's rooms and groped my way up the dark stairs to my own. The fiery light was gone from the sky. I felt for my bed: there was the pillow. Then in the darkness my hand closed over something hard. Sharp, too! I felt blood trickle along a finger.
It was a jagged piece of metal, ten inches long.
I raced down the stairs with the shrapnel shard in my hand. We went back to the dining room and stared at it in the light while Betsie bandaged my hand. "On your pillow," she kept saying.
"Betsie, if I hadn't heard you in the kitchen-----"
But Betsie put a finger on my mouth. "Don't say it, Corrie! There are no 'if's' in God's world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety---O Corrie, let us pray that we may always know it!"
On the flight home from China I met a woman who had bio sons age six and seven. She had just adopted a thirteen-year-old girl. I was amazed. She chuckled and mentioned that she would feel overwhelmed to be starting over with a toddler. She went on to say that she believes when God calls us to something it feels natural, not necessarily easy, but normal. While to others it appears wildly difficult, to those God has called it seems.. rational.
My beloved sister-in-law Machelle has communicated something of the same idea. She lives in the back of beyond in Mexico. They've been evacuated because of violence, been flooded out, have random Indians dropping in to "visit" every day, get mail irregularly, do supply buying trips to town that involve hours of driving, careful list making, careful repacking...and once she "confessed" that when they run out of snacks she treats her kids to canned green beans with ketchup (think vegetarian French fries)...okay, well, maybe that IS wildly difficult and totally irrational (green beans with ketchup for snack! Really, that is NUTS!). However, she's said that she would far rather be in their remote mountain home than stuck here on a dairy farm. Go figure! Normal really is a matter of perspective, eh?
During this journey with Emily I bet I've heard ten different variations of the "Oh, you're so wonderful to be adopting like this!" There's a whole lot of thoughts that go through my head when I hear that: 1) Tragically, you don't know Emily! She's a wonder. We are so blessed! 2) People who know me in real life know I'm about one step up from a car wreck. 3) It's not a stretch to adopt. To those of us that have grown our family through adoption, it seems normal. If we campaign to get you to adopt it's because it has been such a wonderful thing in our lives. We'd love for you to experience the way our adopted kids have richly completed our family. We can't imagine not having OUR kids.
I suppose it's natural for people to wonder, IF we could go back to referral time and change our minds, would we? No. We're not making the best of a difficult situation. We love the way Emily fills her niche in our family. We are loving our newest daughter, cherishing her joy, captivated by her roguishness, and, mostly, resting in the fact that she's ours, our chosen treasure. We love our Emily! We are blessed beyond measure to have each of our children in our lives.
There are no ifs in God's world.
Now if I can just remember that when I need it.