Saturday, July 6, 2013

Then a child fell out of the sky

My husband Tom and I have three biological sons. One year ago, they were ages 5, 3, and 1. One night, we heard about a child that needed a home. We were not in the adoption process. It was any ordinary Thursday night. Except that it wasn't. That was the night our daughter fell in our laps. I told my husband about the situation because I'd never heard of anything like it before. 6 kids 6 and under, all being given for adoption by their biological parents. I never expected him to immediately claim one of those children as ours. That was nine pm on a Thursday night and at 8:30 am the next day, Caroline came home. This is our messy beautiful. one year in. 

We are in front of the judge here, making it official! Messy.beautiful, right? :)

This past year has been one of very heavy hearts because adoption always, ALWAYS begins with losing the most precious thing a child has. I think before I lived this I would have looked at Caroline's situation now and thought, "What a lucky little girl." That couldn't be farther from the truth. She's not lucky. She's lived a difficult life and it's been made more difficult by choices beyond her control that landed her in a household fill of perfect strangers at age 5. Would anyone want that for their 5 year old? It's been a life of turmoil, neglect, and abandonment. She's not lucky. What she is, though, is the recipient of God's lavish grace, because her heart is not hard. She is giving and kind and faces each new days with a resilience and pluck that adults admire.

She keeps getting up each day, with a smile, and embracing the next thing. She didn't know a letter or a number at this time last year and now she reads like a boss. That girl is determined to do what is put in front of her and she works until she does it. She couldn't even sit on a swing and now she riders her bike at alarming speeds.

But that is not what makes her special. What makes her special is her heart. She loves freely. She is the first one to help a sibling. She seeks out someone else that is unsure and instinctively knows how to comfort them without it being obvious. She knows how to be a friend even though she didn't have that modeled. It's innate in her. 

And in the midst of this, there were many, many times this past year where I didn't think our family would make it. I don't even know what it would look like for our family not to make it, but I just knew we couldn't possibly keep going like this. This is without a doubt the hardest thing I've ever done. 

 It's hard to describe why adoption is so hard.


That's not true.

It's hard to describe why it's so hard without making myself sound like a monster. A friend was telling me a story about her college roommate who had scoliosis. This girl was amazing, an athlete, valedictorian of their class, and so on. Every morning at 6 am this sweet girl would get up and take off the back brace she had to sleep in. This made an enormous racket as the pieces of Velcro running the length of her back were ripped apart. Who wants to be the jerk that's annoyed with the awesome girl over her BACK BRACE, of all things!??!? No one, but you still wake up to Velcro ripping everyday. That's sort of what our last year has been. Caroline is gracefully overcoming everything in her path and I am still struggling with hearing the velcro. I try to be careful with my words on this blog always keeping in my mind that my kids might read it one day. At the same time, I never want to sugarcoat the truth and make this all sound seamless, which is apparently how it can look sometimes. Painting that picture minimizes the beauty of the work that God is doing. Let me just say that anything at all that you see in me or in my relationship with Caroline that is beautiful is Christ in me. It is not me. 

This picture is amazing, isn't it???!! We look alike and we look happy. God did this. He set the lonely in our family. He empowered us to say yes to an unbelievably crazy situation. He is making us family. He is healing her in spite of my many and repeated screw ups and is sanctifying me in the process. This past year I have messed up more than anyone will ever know and God has shown up more that I've ever seen him in my life. He loves us when we're not loveable and when we don't deserve it. That is amazing grace.

This is my messy beautiful.

"Let us hold on to the hope we say we have and not be changed. We can trust God that He will do what He promised."
Heb 10:23