Today is what we have come to call, in our family, Sisters' Day.
When Keziah was 4 years old, we were on a visit from South Africa, where we were living, to England. It was summertime and the rest of Tim's family had planned to attend New Wine, a Christian conference where everyone camped or caravanned, went to seminars and worship gatherings, and generally hung out. It was alternately that summery weather ideal for camping, or pouring with rain.
Anyway, this particular year Keziah was attending the daily round of kids' activities. At one of them, they were talking to the kids about the ways God might speak to us. You know, sort of normalising the experience with kid humour by saying things like, God could talk to them when they are sitting on the loo.
With this in mind, a couple of days later I asked Keziah if she had been listening out for something God might have whispered. What had he said, if so? 'Oh sure,' she retorted. 'He said I am going to have a sister!' Well quite honestly, at that time I was pretty happy with just the one kiddo, so I sort of pushed it to the side as childish imaginations. But fast-forward a couple of years and we found ourselves slap bang in the middle of an adoption process. On 12 June 2008 we brought our daughter home at 8 weeks old and, in Keziah's mind, she was the answer to her prayer to have a sister and the fulfilment of God's word to her.
For this reason 12 June has been designated Sisters' Day in our family. For me, this is one of my favourite days to celebrate: the day our two girls became sisters. Every couple of years, Tim pulls together a collection of photos depicting random moments of family life. The video of photos he made this year seems to have an alarming number of family selfies, but hey, sometimes that's the only way to get the girls to stand still for a photo.
This is a day birthed in prayer and longing, not just for our family, but for the ordinary, extraordinary lives of each one of us to be infused with the belonging and reconciliation made possible through Jesus.
This is a day that reminds me that we are all included in relationship, brought near - and into - the loving connection of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
This is a day made possible - a family reality made possible - not because we are able, but because the Spirit of God is the Spirit of Adoption.
This is a day of loss, human adoption must always recognise loss. And also a day when we live into the truth that all our losses will be redeemed, caught up in love, and healed.
This is a vulnerable day, a day of recognising that we are not enough to cover all wounds, to shore up places of identity formation. We can't make it all that we want it to be. But God.
This is a day when we live into deep truth - that the inside of these holy realities is always larger than the outside. And so, it is a day marked by incredible grace and heart-stopping gratitude.
On Manu's birth certificate it says: "It is as if she were born into this family." This is a day when we celebrate belonging, inclusion and connection. These are gifts we all get invited to share, and it's life-changing for every one of us.