Heart for Orphans: Wordless Moments

In 2012, the Christian Alliance for Orphans is hosting a series of guest blog posts from respected bloggers from across the U.S.  Each offers a fresh outlook on an important issue facing Christians committed to caring for orphans through adoption, foster care and/or global orphan initiatives. Posts reflect the unique perspective of the blogger, not necessarily the entire Alliance.  Ultimately, the posts will inspire and provoke, encourage and challenge the burgeoning Christian orphan care movement.

Five years ago, Catie and Jamie Lumpkin had a good life. They had three young boys, a comfortable home. They were living the American dream. But they felt God stirring in their hearts. “You were made for more than this.” Following His voice led them to become foster parents. So far, they’ve been given the priviledge of loving 10 children in their home. They are also in the process of pursuing a domestic adoption. You can read more of Catie’s honest and poignant thoughts on caring for orphans at This High Calling

I can’t sleep. Every time I close my eyes, snapshots of my evening burn and chisel, a little deeper into my mind, becoming part of who I am, transforming me.

Baby M leaves Tuesday. We love this little girl more than words can say; she’s been our daughter for this season, a member of our family. But, I can’t get my mind around what I was invited to, what I have been a part of.

Last night we had a picnic with M’s maternal grandmother, her sister, and her father. He had not seen her since the day she was born; she was eight months yesterday.

I wish I could give you my mind, my thoughts, but I suppose it’s a small wordless gift the Father has given me, a hope, a reassurance of His hand.

We had a picnic on our church playground. M’s father is Hispanic, and he took off her little smocked outfit, and dressed her in a Mexico soccer shirt. It’s too big, but she wore it last night, slept in it, and will wear it today. I may even wash it and send her to her new home in it tomorrow.

As Jamie and I watched a father hold his little girl, and whisper his story, her history into her ears over the next hour…It was addictive. He had an hour to squeeze all the words he wanted her to know from his life, from what he has missed of hers, and for her future.

Te amo, te amo, te amo….I think I fell asleep to the whisper of his voice against her head.

They went to church with us. Our church has a summer hymn sing and ice cream social every year. It’s a blast. They came. Our six bambinos, M’s sister, grandma, dad and Jamie and I took up an entire row plus some. We were loud; we were a mess; it was beautiful.

There was a moment when I looked down towards the end with six kids fighting over seats and crayons, and then I looked at the end with Dad holding his sleeping daughter….he was crying, Grandma was crying, Jamie was tearing up, what else could I do, except cry.

There’s a moment I dread regularly as a foster parent. It’s the moment the mom, dad, grandma, or aunt is holding his or her child and desperately whispering the promises, the love, the hope, the assurance. It’s a parental holy moment. I feel like I’m invading something sacred, and then it’s my turn to gently pull the child away, as they ask a hundred times how much longer until they see them again. I drive them home to tuck them in to their bed in my house, where they dream of their mommy.

As it came time to take Baby M home, Dad hugged me, thanking me over and over, crying. Grandma did the same. I said, “No, thank you for the honor of being part of your family for this season, for trusting me with your daughter. It’s a gift.”

A couple of weeks ago, Fran Sciacca reminded Jamie and I over dinner that there’s a moment you cross as a believer, where you don’t share the gospel anymore…you are the gospel. You are the incarnation of Christ. As I said goodbye to M’s family, I was screaming inside my head, running with fear, throwing the tantrum of I wants. But my Savior removed me, He reached out His hand to His creation through me, and He loved, where I dreaded to go.

I’m the changed one. I’m the honored one. I’m the grateful one. I have no right to this, but He’s letting me put my hand in. He’s letting me – this broken, selfish, control-obsessed mother – be His hands and His feet, the very ones that bled for me.