Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Superfluous Smoke Detectors and All

Last week was full of things unplanned.

Finding out on Tuesday I would be starting work the next Tuesday. Then getting a call from Children's Connections the same day asking if my caseworker could come for her first home visit on Thursday afternoon. And finally a call late Wednesday morning from said caseworker asking if we could meet that evening instead.


Technically you are not supposed to have a home visit until all your paperwork is in--proof of employment and medical insurance, letters from doctors, background checks, financial records, etcetera--but my case worker was in Lubbock doing a home visit for another family and hitting two birds with one stone is always better.

So they checked with Bethany, my placement agency, and called me to set it up.

When the call came Wednesday morning, I went into a bit of a panic.

Thursday afternoon easy. I would leisurely clean the house over the next two days, and as I prepared the house, I'd prepare my mind and my spirit to share my home (well, my parent's home) and my history and my desire to adopt Hannah.

But then the leisurely two days to prepare turned into a frantic few hours.

They emailed me the home fire and safety checklist which I raced through ticking "yes" and "no" as appropriate and in a frenzy went out to buy more smoke detectors to meet the ridiculously over-safe requirements of installing a smoke detector in every bedroom and every hallway leading to a bedroom. In the case of my parents house, five required smoke detectors. Five!

My caseworker Kristin would later tell me not to worry about getting this house ready yet since I plan on moving into my own place soon and don't intend on Hannah* and I living with my parents. This first home visit was more about getting to know me anyway and not too much about the home itself.

Of course, yes, this makes since.

And yes, the frantic "thorough" cleaning my sister and parents graciously helped with probably didn't need to be quite as thorough.

Oh well, better to be safe than sorry.

I joined my family at my sister's for our habitual Wednesday night dinner before leaving a bit early to come home, change clothes into something I thought said mature enough to be a mother, put out a bowl of ginger snaps, turned on some music to drown out the eerie quite after the frantic hours, and sat down for a few minutes to try and calm my spirit and ask God for a bit of grace.

I prayed to do well--to speak from the heart and to speak the truth. I prayed for this to be one more step in Hannah coming home soon. I prayed for wisdom, and I prayed for God to prove Himself faithful.

As I prayed my heart quieted for the first time that day and a different prayer rose up in me.

I prayed for Kristin. I prayed for a woman so far away from her family. A woman who traveled across the state to meet with me and others hoping to adopt. A woman who was probably tired and a little bit lonely and a little bit homesick.

I prayed to show her true hospitality.

I prayed for her to find rest in our home. For her to be at ease and comfortable. For her to be a little more filled up, a little less dry, when she left our home than when she came into it.

Kristin was coming because of me. She was coming because of Hannah and a story she will play a supporting role in, but I found myself wanting for just a little bit of this evening to be about her--to be about hospitality and generosity and rest for the weary traveler.

I wanted for her to steal the show for just a little while.

Kristin and I did have a great conversation. As odd as it is talking about deeply personal experiences with a perfect stranger, it was somehow easy. And we talked on and connected and shared and chatted for two hours. Two hours when she said all she really needed was a few minutes.

As I look forward to reestablishing myself in a home of my own, my prayer is for my home to be a place of rest. A place of refreshment for weary travelers. A place where heartache finds reprieve and maybe a bit of healing. A place where lament is heard and felt deeply and met with grace. A place where joy blossoms. A place where visitors are never visitors and can shed a bit of the weight of their worlds.

I want my home to be a place of ease where you never have to be fearful of treading on eggshells. A place where a broken dish is always just a broken dish. A place where the people in the place are always more important than the place itself. A place where neighbors are welcome and strangers are home.

I want my home to be a place where grace is what you breathe in and hope is what you breathe out.

I've been dreaming lately of the colors I will paint with and the hand-me-down furniture needing reupholstering. I've been dreaming of decorating Hannah's room, and yes, even establishing safety measures and childproofing with superfluous smoke detectors included.

But what I dream about more is Hannah home. Hannah home in a family, doing life together with our friends, our extended family, our neighbors and those who need a little respite.

This to me is a home worth praying for. A home worth dreaming of.

*Hannah is a pseudonym. In order to protect her identity until she is fully and legally mine, I use "Hannah" in all posts regarding my one day daughter and her adoption.

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