Sunday, July 18, 2010

On Being Sons

Many have kindly asked us how we are doing since Yohanan was born. With sympathetic eyes they would ask whether the baby is sleeping well at night, and whether we are getting enough sleep. Laughing, I would answer "no" to both these questions, but continue to let them know how much we are loving this time, and that it is really ok that we are not getting enough sleep.

The other day, I came across the article "Abba Changes Everything" by Russell Moore (dean of Southern Seminary and author of Adopted for Life) in Christianity Today. This is the second time I came across the story in the opening paragraphs since I became a mom. It sums up very well for me the joy of being parents.

The creepiest sound I have ever heard was nothing at all. My wife, Maria, and I stood in the hallway of an orphanage somewhere in the former Soviet Union, on the first of two trips required for our petition to adopt. Orphanage staff led us down a hallway to greet the two 1-year-olds we hoped would become our sons. The horror wasn't the squalor and the stench, although we at times stifled the urge to vomit and weep. The horror was the quiet of it all. The place was more silent than a funeral home by night.

I stopped and pulled on Maria's elbow. "Why is it so quiet? The place is filled with babies." Both of us compared the stillness with the buzz and punctuated squeals that came from our church nursery back home. Here, if we listened carefully enough, we could hear babies rocking themselves back and forth, the crib slats gently bumping against the walls. These children did not cry, because infants eventually learn to stop crying if no one ever responds to their calls for food, for comfort, for love. No one ever responded to these children. So they stopped.

The silence continued as we entered the boys' room. Little Sergei (now Timothy) smiled at us, dancing up and down while holding the side of his crib. Little Maxim (now Benjamin) stood straight at attention, regal and czar-like. But neither boy made a sound. We read them books filled with words they couldn't understand, about saying goodnight to the moon and cows jumping over the same. But there were no cries, no squeals, no groans. Every day we left at the appointed time in the same way we had entered: in silence.

On the last day of the trip, Maria and I arrived at the moment we had dreaded since the minute we received our adoption referral. We had to tell the boys goodbye, as by law we had to return to the United States and wait for the legal paperwork to be completed before returning to pick them up for good. After hugging and kissing them, we walked out into the quiet hallway as Maria shook with tears.

And that's when we heard the scream.

Little Maxim fell back in his crib and let out a guttural yell. It seemed he knew, maybe for the first time, that he would be heard. On some primal level, he knew he had a father and mother now.
Yohanan cries. Emeth cries. Because they know they would be heard. Because they know they are not orphans, they are sons. They have a daddy and a mommy who would come when they call.

2 comments:

YeeLing said...

awwwwwww TTT_____TTT

serene555 said...

Thank you for pointing me to this again. This story holds a so much more deeper meaning now... only sons and daughters know how to cry.