Laundry on a Tuesday
The adoption process is, at the least, unpredictable. Progress varies between lightning fast and static-silence, slow. One thing is for certain: we would climb any mountain to bring our next child home. When we bought our new house we had the amazing opportunity to extend our home to our good friends Katie and Stephen. They, in preparation to become missionaries to Thailand, would be needing a place to call home from when their apartment lease ended and their life in Thailand began.
Having them here was the greatest gift. To our friendships, our children, our marriages, our community. Not everyone gets the chance to live with their best friends.
And we got to live with one another's families! We were often asked, "So...how's it going? What's it like? Is it hard?" Katie's response was on point. Perhaps because of a decade's old friendship or our deep love for each other, rhythms were easily found. We learned and adapted to one another's schedules. We divided days of the week for laundry. (Katie took Tuesdays and Thursdays).
The greatest part of this friendship is that we are all for each other. Completely. We push judgement and comfort and norms aside to give room to what deep, effectual community looks like. We pray, we help, we listen, we laugh, we cry, we press in, we give space. Part of this included the following commitment: Whichever comes first, adoption or Thailand. Meaning, we get to live together until that call on our lives comes to fruition.
In late January we reached a point in our adoption process of triumph. The dozens of pages of paperwork were read, documents received, training fulfilled, inspections complete and all were approved! The next step in the process was meeting with our social worker and inviting her into our home and family, to see how we do life. To get our house and rooms ready. To prepare each of us for the child to come. It came faster than expected, and with it came the time for our friends to move out. Whichever comes first, adoption or Thailand.
I hadn't expected to say any goodbyes until March 6th when their plane was set to depart. I wasn't prepared. I don't think any of us quite were. As their car left our driveway, I sobbed on the stairs. See, I'm not sad about Thailand. But, I am sad that this season - this time of co-living - has come to an end. Sad that my best friends won't be standing in the kitchen when I come downstairs. Sad that I won't hear their laughter fill our rooms.
Sad that the guestroom, full yet now so bare, will for a long time be called Katie and Stephen's room without a Katie and Stephen in it. Sad that a sweet little boy baby won't chew on my toes and shout 'gleh-gleh-gleh' when I walk in a room.
Our gracious, for-us friends added to their not so short list of twists and turns: marriage-first apartment-pregnant-second apartment-surgery-baby born-surgery-second pregnancy-move into our house-surgery-christmas-surgery- and then again moved out with only six weeks until their departure to Thailand. Because they're great friends. Because our call required their response.
Six adults and four small children, as you can imagine, make for interesting dynamics. I miss it. The silences are louder. The loudness less full.
Today I did laundry on a Tuesday.
We're trusting completely in a word God has given me: that through the emptying we will be made full again. We are being emptied to be made full.
I pray that our time together has given our friends a unique knowledge and yearning to recreate friends that are family in Thailand. For us, their absence has lead me to a new point of prayer - being unsatisfied until our child is here. And when our someday child is in this forever home, oh the stories we will tell. Of great friendships and the people who loved them before seeing them or knowing their name.
Parting is such sweet sorrow.