The howling winds and icy northern breath of winter never quite arrived here in Pittsburgh this year. The past few months have passed in a chill grey haze of in-between, as we waited for the snow to fall and the season to start in earnest. It never did. The sun fled and the fog set in and and the days dragged on. For me, it was a rough season. The toddler was sick, the elderly woman I care for daily was sick, and I was exhausted.
It was the perfect time to head for California.
We were in California to visit family- primarily my husband’s grandparents, who are in their early 90’s and increasingly frail. We planned to span much of the state, beginning near San Diego and then making our way through the ports of San Pedro where Casey grew up, up the coast to Santa Barbara with the grandparents, and finally visiting family and seeing the sights of San Francisco.
Our first visit was a family visit as well. I’ve written here before about my experience with open adoption. Due to the vast continent between the east and west coast, this trip was the first chance we’ve had since our wedding and honeymoon almost three years ago to visit with the amazing family who adopted my daughter.
Almost eleven years ago, when I first spoke with Chris and Michelle, they lived in the big city. I thought they always would. For a country girl, the idea of my child growing up in an urban setting was hard to imagine. It was hard for me, but I was so impressed with the love and between this young couple, their deep faith, their great sense of humor, and their openness to having a big family that I was able to make a great leap of faith and trust that even if my firstborn child grew up in the city, it would somehow be ok.
Chris and Michelle live with their five children on top of a mountain on a working avocado and citrus grove, with a garden outside their door, chickens and the occasional pigs.
On the other hand, my second first daughter, Olympia? She’s growing up right here…. in the city. Clearly God possesses quite the sense of humor.
City girls need to visit the country, and I loved watching Olympia run down dirt roads. It was great to watch her with Brigid, who is the eldest of five, and an experienced big sister.
There really is something magical about this piece of land.
Possibly this is somehow connected to the mysterious and intriguing plastic cow.
For me, this visit was a feast for the body and for the soul.
Throughout my entire adoption process, I have been struck by the abundance of grace that is poured out (like fine California wine) when we ask for it, and when our hearts are fully open to receive it. Doors open….
And love is abundant.