A Little Different, A Lot of Love
I can still remember sitting at the small town stop light with my mom around the age of twelve years old. As we sat there waiting for the light to turn green, my eyes and heart became captivated at the family before us, hands conjoined, while using the crosswalk. Life is filled with many moments, many of which we forget, but then there are those moments that never leave your side. This was one of them for me.
I can’t remember exactly what the family looked like, but they sure didn't look like one another. The mom and dad white and alongside them, their children, who had different skin colors, eyes, and hair color. They were beautiful. I looked at my mom at that moment and said, “ that is what I want my family to look like.” She smiled and we continued our drive.
It has been years now. I am grown and married and raising 4 children of my own and while my children have similar skin color, their DNA doesn’t match. My husband and I have 2 biological kids and 2 adopted. I smile while I write this as I think about that family who made such an imprint on my heart as a young girl, though they will never know it.
We took a similar journey that they did and it is pretty great, most of the time. It sounds so breathtaking and beautiful to adopt and open your heart and home….and while it is, it is also hard. It is different. It is not always a natural feeling and because of this journey we have chosen, I am constantly reminded of my constant need for my Savior, his grace, and his adoption over my soul.
Christopher was born on methamphetamine and therefore, we were told ADHD would likely be in his future when we adopted him at two years old. At the time, my young and immature self thought we could handle that no problem. A little energy? Sure. We got that. Jesus must have laughed at my type A self that day. Now I know, I can't handle anything on my own.
Our athletic, handsome, compassionate, and energetic boy is almost 9 now. He struggles at times with impulse, over stimulation, frustration, direction, self-doubt, and academics. He often wakes up with enough energy for the 6 of us, and does everything except what he is supposed to be doing. His mind is on a merry go round and I can’t catch it. I find myself exhausted sometimes, frustrated, and begging Jesus to just help me be a good momma to him because I sometimes don’t know if I am.
When my husband Nick insisted that our child was the 9 year old we met through a neighborhood foster connection, I thought he surely had lost his mind. Like, 100%. We had 3 kids and I was good. Well, then he asked me to pray about it, to let Jesus show me the answer, and a few weeks later, we were applying to adopt. And I cannot imagine not having our girl here with us.
Allie is now 11 and has the purest and kindest heart of anyone I have ever met. The trauma she has endured is what most won't walk through in a lifetime. She is full of grace, always seeing the best in people and the situation. She loves our home, quality time, and snuggling up on the couch.
But learning to bond with a child who has lived a whole life before me, has been hard. I was not her first mom, not her first love, and not there for many many life moments. A big hug hasn’t always felt natural, neither did holding her when she first became sick with us, or having hard conversations that preteens need. It is the part that many adoptive parents don’t talk about because only the beautiful part sounds better. But that’s not always real and we have to grow in love at times and that is 100% okay. Thank goodness for Jesus who is the best image of love.
People always say to those who have fostered or adopted how great we are and what a difference we have made. While it's sweet and thoughtful and appreciated, I cannot imagine who we would be without this life. My perfection, type A seeking self so needed them. I needed Christopher and Allie to come in and teach me about surrender, grace, bold faith, and radical love. I am so so glad that Jesus wrecked me through this journey and that he continues to do it every day.
Thank you to my Husband and very best friend who has never cared about what looks wild from the outside. You take my hand and lead me into the places that many wouldn’t go. I am madly in love with you and the things of the King.