Friday, October 5, 2007

Calling all editors (and non-editors alike) *revised *again

Remember a while back when I said that I was going to speak at IBSEN? Here's the major rough draft... I only have until tomorrow night so would you give it a look over super soon? And hash it for me. After all, we don't even know each other so DON'T BE NICE. If it sucks, just tell me.

There are simple moments in our lives when we know, almost instinctually, that we are saying ‘yes’ to something that will change our lives forever. Your ‘yes’ might have been when you decided to college or finally chose and stuck with a career path. Or maybe your ‘yes’ was when you accepted a marriage proposal from that person who loves you every bit as much as you love them. My ‘yes’ came at a welcome home party held for a medical missionary friend of ours. She had just returned to the states and
I was excited to hear some good God stories from an African country that I wasn’t sure I had ever even heard of.
“Libya? Siberia?”
“LIBERIA.” she told me for the millionth time.
Later on that night, once the dishes had been cleared away and the kids were entertaining themselves by playing with their buddies, I trotted off to see what my husband was up to. I knew that he had gone downstairs to watch a slideshow our friends’ time there in Liberia, so I aimed myself in that general direction. My mood immediately shifted when I saw my 6’5 husband come up the stairs. Tears had begun pooling around the base of his eyes ~ and he is not Mr. Public-Crier-Guy. Shocked, and almost afraid of his response, I asked him what on earth was going on. This was going to be big.
He reached his arms out to me, not ready to talk yet, and buried his head into my shoulder. This simply was not going to do; and so I did my wifely duty of pressing him for information. After a few moments that felt like forever, he leaned back from our embrace, leaving his eyes looking directly into mine and hands resting on my shoulders. After taking a deep breath in then letting it escape out again, he said to me, “We have children in Liberia, Rachel… I just know it.”

Almost a year later, I finally got to meet the result of that ‘yes’ in the flesh. I was wandering around the Chicago airport, searching for my husband and our three newest children Faith, Blessing, and Palmaray. Amidst the normal airport hustle and bustle, I thought that I had heard the sound of running footsteps and so naturally looked in that direction. Not noticing anything out of place I went ahead and shifted my attention back to making my way through the turnstile. It was then that I heard a faint whistle, quickly followed by three little Liberian accented voices shouting, “Ma! Ma!”
Instantly I knew that those voices were calling my name. I was their Mom and these were my babies. I immediately side-stepped out of the security area and dropped my bags. Falling onto one knee, I waited for those three skinny little bodies to reach me so that I could give them the hug that I had anticipated for such a long time.

Days and weeks passed by with a lot of growing pains, and yet we were all able to pleasure in the development of our unusual family. The security of everyone’s place within our family grew stronger every day. This development afforded all of us the freedom to focus on other things like girl scouts, soccer, and other regular old kid stuff. But another ‘yes’ was yet to come.

Within days of our one-year adoption anniversary, we received an email stating that Palmaray’s 10 year old brother, Papie was available for adoption. The organization that we had adopted through wanted to know if we were interested. Interested?? Absolutely we were interested! You see, Papie has had a special place in mine and Sherman’s hearts ever since Sherman was picking up our three from Liberia. We discovered that the kids’ biological family had tried to put Papie into the orphanage with our original three. But Papie had the cards stacked against him. His entrance into the orphanage had been rejected because the organization was afraid that no one would want him due to his age, his epilepsy, and the fact that it was rare for anyone to adopt a sibling group of four. Thanks to IBSEN and to all of you, we’re expecting to hug and kiss the result of that ‘yes’ before Christmas.

Just this past week my husband, Sherman, was changing the oil on our minivan in the carport. Palmaray, now six years old, was “helping” Sherman by delivering tools to complete the task. Palmaray floated from subject to subject, happy to have his dads’ undivided attention. I happened to be washing dishes in the kitchen, which was just within earshot of their exchange. As Palmaray was squatting down next to Sherman, who was under the car, he handed him a ratchet he said, “Dad, when I grow up I’m going to go work with you at Odwalla too… And when I’m big I’m still going to help you fix cars.”
I set down the sponge and spent a moment thanking God for the place that we’ve grown into. This place that every parent strives for… the one where your child wants to be just like you. How could anyone say ‘no’ to that?


Anonymous said...

Check your email. Gigi

Dawne said...

Oh, Rachel, I am bawling! I'm sure Mama can help you with the editing, but I think it's beautiful. Just be sure, whatever changes you make, that it still SOUNDS like you talking.

Raquel said...

Thanks Dawne...

P.S. I JUST posted an additional paragraph... whaddaya think?

Raquel said...


Does it sound like me now or did I lose that in the story?

And yes, I am WAY overthinking this whole thing.

Wadical said...

Thanks for your visit.

I am deeply moved by your story. (I'm not deeply moved that often) I cannot begin to imagine the unique joy that must be yours.

You asked for editing "suggestions" so I have but one small correction to offer as this was very well written.

"...His entrance into the orphanage had been rejected because the organization was afraid that no one would want him due to his age, his epilepsy, and it was rare for anyone to adopt a sibling group of four."

I suggest: "...His entrance into the orphanage had been rejected because the organization was afraid that no one would want him due to his age, his epilepsy, and the fact that it was rare for anyone to adopt a sibling group of four."

Just flows better.

Anyway, good luck with your speech. You have a great story to share. I'm sure there won't be a dry eye in the house.

Thanks again for the visit and come back anytime. I shall do the same.

Dawne said...

It still sounds like you! BTW, I like Wadical's suggestion!

Stephanie said...

What a very special family you have. I just think its wonderful.

Abbie said...

Raquel, this is such a moving reality. This is why I love coming to read your blogs, your "unusual" family is an encouragement to me.
I noticed you filed this under blah blah blah...far from it babe!

Oh thanks for the video instructions.

PS: Did you change your guberment name? :)

Abbie said...

PS: No advise, I just read the part where you were asking for edit's a beautiful moving story. Since you are the only one reading it, grammatical errors can be corrected as you go along.

Leslie said...

Found you through the recipe exchange on belleepoque. I just caught up on everything I've missed and I LOVE your blog.

My husband and I are missionaries in Haiti and are getting ready to adopt a baby here in January. Thanks for sharing your story here. I was tearing up. God does some very cool stuff, doesn't He?