My {Dad} – Adoptive Father

Today has been a day, for me, filled with the joy (and pain) of adoption.

My Moms in Prayer praying partner also adopted her children… and our prayer needs are very similar.

But then again, I think most parents with pre-teens have similar prayers to mine.

These things always cause me to pause and reflect on three adoptions… those of my two oldest children… and my own.

Two years ago last May, my husband and I adopted two children out of the foster care system. We’d had each of them for a number of years before the adoptions finalized the role we’d already claimed in their lives… mother and father.

We stood before a judge.

We swore an oath… to love them, to give them full rights as legal heirs, to be their mommy and daddy.

They swore an oath of agreement… my then eleven year-old and nine year-old.

They were given new names.

A new birth certificate.

My name. Their dad’s name. Their names. As though it had happened this way at birth.

Had always been this way.

I remember the tears in the judges eyes… as she stamped her approval. Her seal. Making it all official.

The other four days of her work week look a lot different… dealing with parents who have lost their children, aren’t fulfilling the “simple” tasks being requested of them, seeing families fall apart.

One day a week she brings them together.

Adoption.

It was final! No more having to ask permission to leave the city! No more needing court permission to get certain medical needs met! No more being forced to do things that we felt were against their best interest… just because the system had deemed it so for everyone. No more wondering if we would give up on them too… send them on their way, kick them out of our family. Our commitment to be their forever parents.

A blessing and a challenge.

These two kids have radically changed my life… have brought about the maturity I lacked as a person. They’ve brought me to my knees, desperate for the guidance of Jesus, on so many occasions. They’ve made me laugh, cry… put to test everything I’ve learned as a Counselor.

They’ve been gracious with me… merciful even, as I’ve learned to parents older children. My imperfections… so evident… are handled with love and care.

And then I stop.

And remember the day.

That I stood before my dad.

and Judge.

And swore an oath.

To be his child forever. To let him by my daddy always.

And my name was changed.

My certificate renewed.

Sealed.

Tears in eyes.

Security. Knowing I’d never be alone again. Left out again. Out-casted again.

I have a forever-home.

And oh! How I must make him laugh, cry, and… if he has any grey hairs, how I must have contributed to them! He’s been so patient, consistent, loving, gracious, merciful, tender….

And never ever gone back on his oath.

Removed the seal.

Called me by my former name.

Not.

Once.

Even when I have failed miserably. He smiles, picks me up. and helps me with the next step.

Oh that I could be that same kind of adoptive parent! To smile, pick up, and help. Instead of criticize, judge, and modify. To set aside my self and simply be about them. And who they are. And who they are going to be. And not how it makes me feel or inconveniences my moment.

Even now that I am a parent… my dad still continues to be my greatest lesson… my greatest example of how to love all, regardless of blood or “good behavior” or what is deserved or not.

To open my arms wide to all who need a forever home, a forever heart, a forever love.

To be a shelter for the lost, food for the hungry, a comfort to the down-trodden and beaten.

To aid the orphans in their distress.

As he has come to the aid of this orphan in distress.

My forever-home.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.

Romans 8:14-16

To learn more about 31 Days in 2012 or view other 31 Dayers blogs, click here.

I’m spending 31 days writing about my confessions and the lessons {Dad} has taught me. This is day 9 of 31 Days in 2012.

You-niquely You

My meanderings meander far more often than I actually have time to record them. Which is a bit frustrating because this results in my mind being constantly filled with such a varying degree of thoughts to be thought and mysteries to ponder that I can become quite distracted and in a constant state of quasi-inspiration, floating in and out of my philosophical mind and the reality of my laundry, dishes, meals to plan, children to rear, etc.

That said, I finally decided to take a moment to share my most recent thought. So recent, in fact, that it only occurred minutes ago.

As many of you know, I am a foster mother, an adoptive mother, a biological mother, and the daughter of a mother. 🙂

My various experiences within these roles came to a point this morning as I recollected various children I’ve mothered and their own biological mothers. One of my foster children had been told by her bio-mother, “It’s okay if I lose you… I can always have more kids.”

!!!!!!!!!!

That poor sweet child, at the age of 13, had a daughter as well. Yes, my 13 year old foster daughter had a baby… without her consent. Regardless, when it became clear that she was unable to care for her child, her response was, “It’s okay, I can always have more kids…”

My heart breaks.

Another biological mother, recently, was released from prison and, free to start her life again, had a baby. To keep this baby, of course, she has to stay clean, follow the rules of the court regarding her former children, and prove she can raise this new child of hers. Well, upon receiving a secret phone call from her young bio-daughter (now in foster care), this mother had to respond with, “Please don’t ever call me again or I could go back to jail.”

I get it. This is her shot at a new life. A life where she actually gets to raise her own children. She’s already lost quite a few to her choices and the consequences of our system.

But to be a child hearing your mother say, “You are replaceable” must be among the most devastating of “realities” that a person could hear, at any age.

The reality is, no one is irreplaceable.

Nope, not even you.

Not at work.

Not at home.

Not at school.

Not at all.

You are the only you. Profound, I know. 🙂

I look at my 3 year old… a million other birthed babies could not replace HIM. Not one would be him. Not one could replace my almost 2-year old. Or my adopted 10 year old. Or my adopted 12 year old. Other children could fill my space and time… but could never be them.

To her biological mother’s great misunderstanding, my 13 year-old foster daughter could never be replaced by her future children. And neither could a new baby replace the one that my foster-daughter lost to the care of a more equipped person.

The daughter whose mother has a second shot at getting life just a little bit right… can’t be replaced. The new baby doesn’t do it. And I know for a fact that this same daughter is absolutely irreplaceable to the family who now desperately loves her and calls her their own.

And so are you. I don’t know your story. Whether you’ve been “replaced.” Or whether you have done the “replacing.” Or maybe you’ve even been asked to replace someone lost… and couldn’t. No one can be you. No one.

And YOU are important. Because you are a life. Planned. Designed. Counted on. Purposed. Called. Created with intention. Your life was not chance. Or a mistake. No accident. Even among the total world’s population… for all of time… not one can be you. Smile like you do. Laugh like you do. Think like you do. Be gifted as you are gifted- with your own special bent and quirks.

You have a purpose. Not just to take up space or breath up air. A destiny.

Even if you don’t believe me, it’s true. Your own belief about yourself can’t even change the reality that you are entirely unique and irreplaceable. This truth doesn’t rely on you believing it.

It just is.

But don’t take my word for it….

“You have searched me, LORD,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, LORD, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts,God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.”

Psalm 139:1-18

(emphasis mine).


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