I sit here at my laptop a little sweaty, a little dirt covered and definitely smelling like tomatoes. When I was growing up my dad always had tomato plants (still does), and my grandmother REALLY had tomato plants. She always planted 50 of them. She planted loads of other things over their one acre garden plot. There were beans and onions, grape vines and cherry trees and always lots of roses. I liked the tomatoes the best though. She did all kinds of things with them. She made juice, canned them, and of course, always had fresh ones on hand. I never was quite able to find tomatoes like hers through my adult life, although I never planted any myself...until now. This year I got just a large bucket planter and Zachary and I carefully selected three plants. I thought I would start small. I then selected a tomato cage, that might make things grow right and easier and we planted them in a matter of minutes. I guess I was not fully prepared for what would happen next. They grew. I mean GREW. I found myself tucking the little branches into the cage so they would grow straight. I would check them in the afternoon to see if they needed water. Pretty soon, I realized my dad spent a lot of time by his tomatoes not to smoke his pipe (that was what I always thought, LOL) but because they needed attention. Pretty soon, my plants seemed a bit monstrous. This large ball of green leaning to one side despite the cage covered in little yellow flowers. Hmmm..... I thought, this must be the time to "stake them", as I always heard Nana and Dad talk about. Well, as I said, I am a novice. I don't have that stuff, like stakes and twine. I did however have some super long metal marshmallow sticks in the garage collecting dust. That will work. I had some plastic twine too. That evening I staked them up, and made it stand tall again. Little by little, it began leaning again. Fruit appeared all over the vines but it became worse and worse with the leaning. Today, I found myself at Lowe's and thought I should get some real tomato stakes and make this thing stand straight. So, I picked up six bamboo stakes and tonight I got busy. I first undid the marshmallow sticks and came to realize, the plant had become so heavy in places that the stalk was completely bent. I went to work, carefully lining up stalk after stalk. Pretty soon I realized that this plant that had grown so large had needed help in little ways to be healthy.
I decided that this adoption was so much like these plants. It started with a small idea. I remember the day that we decided to adopt. Tim actually had gotten a bonus, just what we needed to move forward. He texted to me "I'm thinking mustard seed". We started with one referral, it grew into mountains of paperwork, months of faith, disappointment, sadness and unspeakable joy. Each little branch was my faith journey. Boy, I really needed that God shaped bamboo stick to put together my fracture of trust at times, He tied Himself to His promises on another vine that at times I was not so sure were really true, He supported my sadness and heartache and restored my joy with the bamboo of His peace. He stood me straight up just like I righted my tomatoes when the disappointment of delays grabbed hold. Yes, although this adoption is huge just like my tomato plants, there are so many little parts where I needed God to fix little things and provide the ultimate support.
Now, my tomatoes are busily ripening in the sun, just as my last passport is being printed and we are headed off to visas. I did get my first tomato yesterday. It tasted just like Nana's. The bite of that tomato took me back to her house in Clinton, IA. A tomato warm and juicy from the sun, so sweet. I can only imagine holding my babies will be even sweeter.