IMG_6968“Are you sure you’re ready for this?” She asks me over the phone before the baby is born.

“Yes, I’m ready,” I say.

Are you ever really ready for big life changes? Does anyone ever know what they are getting into?

I haven’t had a kid in diapers for years. Will I remember how the stroller folds up or the car seat goes in?

“What made you decide to do this?” Another friend asks my husband about our adoption. He isn’t trying to hurt our feelings. He asks what everyone wants to know:

What would lead two people in their forties to start over again? To go back to diapers and sleepless nights, when we finally have freedom?

I’m a second-guesser by nature. I constantly evaluate. I question. I dig deep.

This is good, most of the time, but not when I need to step out in faith and make a big decision. Then my second-guessing becomes the stumbling block that I keep tripping over.

I want so badly to do the right thing, the best thing, that sometimes I forget to ask the One who knows what is best for me.

What should I do Lord? Is this what my family should look like? You want me to be a mom at what age? Most of my friends are done with babies. They are raising teens and sending them off to college, and I am starting over. Really Lord?

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Somewhere in the silence I go back to when he called me to adopt again.

It wasn’t in church or during prayer time.

I was sitting in a hair salon, reading a magazine article.

The woman in the article was trying to decide whether to have another child. From what I remember, she was around my age and worried that the sleepless nights would be too much. Then an older lady gave her some advice. Instead of asking, “Can I handle a baby now?” she was told to ask, “Who do I want around my Thanksgiving table when I’m seventy?”

(You can give me a dozen reasons why that’s an impractical question. Will my children come to Thanksgiving dinner when I’m seventy? Will their in-laws invite them over before I do? Will I be alive at seventy?)

The real question about who you want around your table gets at the heart of deeper questions: What do you want your life to look like? Who will you invest in? Who will you love?

In other words, Is there room around your table?

At some point, we all have to ask that question. The answers may be different, but it will profoundly shape the path we take and how we spend our time.

I shut the magazine and sat staring at the wall. Could we open our hearts to love another child? Could we take that risk?

I knew the answer before the words formed on my lips.

Yes, I could trust God with my heart enough to risk it on another adoption. Let it be as you say. Not my will but yours.

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Now we sit around the table, a family of five, with one missing. There will always be an empty chair where our son Silas used to sit.

But as I look at my new son, his round eyes wide with newborn wonder, I realize he is learning love for the first time. I am the one who gets to show it to him.

He learns it around the table with us. He learns it in the car, and in our living room, and on long walks in the park.

All of us have been called to open our door to someone, to make our tables just a little wider, to pull up another chair. It may not be through adoption, but it may be just as risky.

“Are you sure you’re ready for this?” The question echoes in my mind.

Yes, I say to myself.

We’ve got room around the table.

Sara

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