Last week, my beloved husband returned from a three week jaunt through Asia. The focus of the trip was preparation for our move to full-time missions work. The added bonus was time with Bee.
The rest of us stayed home. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Seven managed to terrify me with one of the scariest infant illnesses I've ever encountered. My best friend, Benny, gave birth to her second daughter. We ditched the majority of our regularly scheduled schoolwork in favor of some fun unit studies and science days. I was harassed by Oli's birthfather to the point of seeking legal advice on a restraining order.
You know, the usual.
While all of this was going on, Mr. Blandings spent time with Bee. He walked her to her annual exams (a very big deal in Nepal). He took her shopping for a new watch. He delivered the 3.5 lb. bag of peanut M&Ms her crazy American mom sent. He took her to play Laser Tag. They watched movies, joked with one another, ate tandoori chicken pizza at their favorite local place. There were good morning hugs, goodnight kisses, and laughter in between.
And then, when the time was up, he left.
And this is where the smile fades, and the story turns sad. At 14, Bee has spent many, many years as an orphan. To the Nepali government, the people who pass her by on the street, the shopkeepers who see her picking up snacks after school, this is all she is. She has no mother, no father. She is defined not by who she is, how she conducts herself, or what interests she has. No. She is an orphan. What more would anyone want to know?
Bee is used to this kind of brush-off. She has no expectation of being treated as anyone with any real worth. She knows not to look people in the eye, not to ask for more than the bare necessities. The only places where she is valued are at the wonderful children's home where she lives, the church she attends, and the Christian school we pay for her to attend. Everywhere else, wherever she goes, she is nothing. Less than nothing. After all, she lacks the one thing that would make her special, would give her standing: a family.
A few meager days a year, she has that standing. She can go out in public, her Dad at her side, and people will smile in her direction. They wonder at the image of the lanky Westerner alongside the slim Nepali girl. They hear him call her mero chori ("my daughter") and pause, but then accept it as fact. She is something, someone. She has a family.
It's becoming more and more evident that there's no way that the US government will allow Bee to enter this country. An act of God could always intervene, of course, and we're not ever going to discount that. But short of Bee coming to the mountain, it's clear that the mountain is going to have to go to Bee.
Which is fine. Because frankly, it's time for the mountain to move. Mr. Blandings came back with all the information we needed to start the next phase of our journey to the mission field. We are now actively raising support and making plans for our transition into full-time ministry to the people of Nepal.
So, God willing, Bee won't be "just any orphan" all that much longer. Instead, she'll go to sleep at night in a room with her sisters. She'll be pestered by baby brothers wanting stories. She'll roll her eyes at the myriad ways Atticus and Logan come up with to smack one another with sticks. She'll grow tired of Mr. Blandings and I telling her how much we love her.
In short, she'll be a sister. A daughter. A Blandings. Forever.