1,500 homes burned in the Bastrop fires
32,000 acres, charred
250,000,000 in insured losses, the costliest in Texas history
1 bunny that didn’t burn.
1 angel head that survived.
Nate and I were able to volunteer with the Austin Disaster Relief Network this past weekend (ADRN), joining a team to help clean the sites of two homes destroyed in the fire. One was 1,500 square feet, the other 4,500 , but after fire ripped through them both, square footage didn’t mean much.
I’d heard about these horrible fires, prayed for the families, but not until I strapped on a mask and felt my feet sink into the thick layer of ash did it all seem terribly real. We drug bits of metal, some giant sheets and other smaller pieces of picture frames or the middle of ceiling fans, into a pile to be picked up by crews later on. There were piles for appliances, toxic items like paint cans and electronics, and metal. The metal piles were huge.
Metal springs from mattresses. The guts of a grand piano with metal strings that tangled around our ankles as we hauled it out. Garage doors. Folding chairs. Elfa pantry shelves.
But in the midst of all the mess and ash were treasures.
Most of them were bits of china, already fired and used to the heat. We put aside the things we thought the owners might like to have, some broken and some intact. To me, these small tokens were pictures of hope and survival. Maybe to another they would be reminders of all that was lost. The writer in me saw them as concrete details. Things you could hang on to. Things that made it all seem real. They were the sorts of things I’d put in a story, if I wrote one about a fire.
We have some of these concrete details for our future daughter.
We’ve read warnings about buying things for your adopted child too soon. These things, hanging out in a closet for months or even years, can breed discontent or despair if you’re still waiting for your child to come home. But to me, they remind me that this whole adoption journey is real, with a very real child on the other end of all this waiting.
200,000+ is the estimated number of orphans in Honduras
100 children for every “nanny” in the government-run orphanage
10 children were adopted from Honduras in 2010
I’ve heard the statistics, but right now they’re just numbers banging around in my head, like details from the Bastrop fires. They could be pretty depressing. The yellow dress and board books are my “angel head” and “bunny,” tokens of hope and survival despite the numbers. We’re still waiting for things to settle in Honduras after the shake up in IHNFA, still waiting to be assigned the number we thought we’d get two weeks ago, still hopeful that things are moving forward.