And the Lord God formed man out of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:7 (KJV)
“I am just so frustrated!” Jeff lamented in a couple of months after starting Maui High School. “Former courses required now I didn’t take in Pennsylvania and courses taken there have no follow-up here. P-l-e-a-s-e allow me to go back to finish my education!” God was expecting our family to be divided after moving half way around the world together? Where was God now? I wailed, but God reminded me that Jeff was his son first and ours second.
A beautiful family from our former pastorate- Mary Kay, Doug and their children-Jason, Heather and Holly-graciously opened the door of their home and their hearts to our son to become part of their family. We were very happy for Jeff, but devastated to see him leave our own family unit!
A couple of days later still in shock and sorrow, I discussed this with Ulu, my teacher’s aide. We hardly knew each other but that day she breathed comfort and astounding wisdom into me. She replied, “We call that hanai in Hawaii and have practiced this from ancient times. If families were large or children were orphaned or needing fostered, other families would take a child and raise them as their own. I did that myself of having others help me raise my children. Jeff, too, is a hanai child and being cared for by another family.”
That first Christmas, Jeff’s hanai family and we celebrated together. Exquisite was Mary Kay’s gift to us–a journal she’d written of “our son together,” glimpsing his life each day in her family’s care.
‘Ha’, in many Hawaiian words, means breath of life. God breathed life into Adam and essentially, then, into all of us. Families, too, have life breathed into them either biologically or by design. Little did we know the beauty our sons would find in their own families, designed by God, with some biological, adopted and fostered today.
You invite and adopt us into your own family, God, to live forever with you. I trust you to implant your own spiritual breath into remaining family members who need to know you as Abba, Father!