I started making these pins.
This one I call the “My Heart’s in Zhengzhou” mainly because that is where my heart is these days. I’ve made some with the hearts over Africa in both Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, because I’ve got friends who have adopted from or are adopting from there now. I’ve also made a Haiti and can pretty much make any country that has a map I can google.
If you want to buy one from me, let me know. They are $10.
And yes, they are shrinky dinks. And yes, I’m a bit old to be playing with shrinky dinks. Henry helps. And by helps, I mean he stands at the oven door and shouts about the progress. “They’re still big!” “They are curling!” “They are flattening!” “They are shrink dinkied!”
I made my Zhengzhou pin as a reminder to myself to pray for my son. To pray for those who care for him. To pray for those orphans who will never be adopted. To pray for those loving folks who have built hospice units for all the orphans who will never know an earthly father’s love before passing into the embrace of their Heavenly Father. When I put my pin on, I am simultaneously broken and encouraged. There should not be orphans. There just shouldn’t. But through God’s grace and mercy, we are being used in the redemption of the brokenness. God is using our little family to make all the sad things untrue for one blessed boy.
Sloan asked me to make him a pin. I was surprised, but got to shrink dinking. Except, it messed up. It didn’t uncurl all the way. I attempted to flatten it out with tweezers and the pressure of an Oxford Unabridged dictionary, but it stayed bent.
Sloan wanted to use it. He held the red and yellow mess in his hands tenderly. I snapped it from him. “You will not wear that one! I’ll try again!”
“Elizabeth, it’s fine, it doesn’t have to be perfect.”
“Yes it does. I do not make crappy crafts. That one is trash.” I tossed the offending map of China into our kitchen trash can.
Sloan teared up. “I don’t want you to throw it away. It’s fine, really.”
“Shut up. I can make you a new one. It’s not a big deal.”
Sloan went and snatched the tangled map from the trash. “It IS a big deal. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It is not trash. That’s what someone thought of Charlie when they saw him. That he wasn’t perfect and so they wrapped him up in a carpet and threw him away. And they would’ve thrown away Henry for being 6 weeks early and unable to breathe on his own or suck and they would’ve thrown away Grace for being addicted to drugs. Just because it is imperfect doesn’t make it trash.”
“This is a thing. Those are people. It’s different.”
Is our pursuit for perfection in our wardrobe, weight, home décor, hairstyle and work an attempt to make sure we aren’t thrown out?
Do we dismiss the imperfect? Impervious to their needs because they are different than us? Because their imperfections are more obvious? Because they haven’t learned to become such elegant white washers?
At present, the imperfect China sits on the ledge behind my kitchen sink. It reminds me what of what real grace looks like. That this world is not how it should be and yet Jesus still came for me and loves me and says I'm beautiful.
Heavenly Father, I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Help me to make sure Charlie understands he is wonderfully made too.