As amazing as parental blessings are, grandparental joys are deeper, richer and wider. But sometimes, just as tiring. On Monday, Craig and I concluded a week’s visit in Virginia with our 2nd daughter and her family, feeling full and running over. And ready to go home.
The purpose of the visit was threefold: 1) for Grandpa to build the stairway on the playhouse he built last summer but had to suspend work for awhile because of a bad back; 2) to help with a garage sale; and 3) to celebrate a grandson’s fifth birthday.
The garage sale was a little out of the ordinary. It was a fund-raiser for a project they’re working on, and they’d received donations from scads of people. I have no idea how many contributed, but the amount of stuff they were given to sell was huge, filling the two-car garage, driveway, entire front yard, and the basement. (You can walk into their basement through a ground-level patio door at the back of the house, and they filled the area with bins and racks of clothing for sale.) I intended to take pictures of the massive event, but it was so chaotic, I didn’t find the time. It’s probably one of those things you can’t capture in a picture, anyway; it had to be seen to be appreciated.
It was a lot of work. A LOT of work. For the sale itself, they enlisted all four parents as well as a few friends, and it kept us all hopping. But that’s not counting the several weeks’ worth of preparation and the final clean-up. It was worth it, though; they made a tidy sum.
So what’s this project they’re raising funds for, you may ask? Answer: an international adoption. Though they have three natural-born children, they’re adopting two more — from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They’ve been going through this expensive process for quite some time and are now in the final leg, hoping to receive the children in a few months.
I’ve never been the kind of person who enjoys being around children. I loved my own, and I love my grandkids; but I don’t enjoy children in general. Therefore it’s been hard for me to wrap my mind around why my daughter and her husband would want to adopt when they have three of their own.
They both love kids (unlike me). It breaks their hearts to think of all the children in the world who have no one to love them. Orphans are tragic in any country, of course; but in some places, like the Congo, those children have less hope for the future than a stray dog has in an American pound. Any thinking, feeling human being would want to help them, but the situation is staggering. What can be done for them?
En masse? Not much. But individually, a few can be helped.
My daughter and son-in-law know they can’t change the world—but they can change the universe for two children.
It’s a tremendous expense; it’s an enormous amount of work; they’ll pay for it over the rest of their lives with an ocean of toil and tears. But they know that, and are doing it anyway.
So when people ask me about my grandchildren, I tell them I have three, with two on the way. And I’m every bit as proud and happy—and looking forward to holding the next two in my arms—as I would be if my daughter were carrying them in her womb.
That doesn’t put all my feelings into words, but it’s a start. Maybe I’ll write a book about it someday.