|Photo via flickr user katclay|
Children are a blessing, an inheritance from the Lord.
So says the Bible. So I believe.
Parents sometimes like to joke and put quotation marks around "blessing" when their little ones are throwing a tantrum or up screaming at 2am. And even bigger quotations around the word when their child grows up and gives them attitude or sneaks out late at night. It's sometimes easy to see the blessing of a child, but sometimes- it's just not.
The rich thing about this verse is that it puts the "children are a blessing" truth in the realm of always. This verse is not just pointing out a cliche for us to spout over warm, sleepy newborns. It's grounding us in the truth that children are a blessing, always. On the good days: they are a blessing. In the tough times: they are a blessing.
I've had a lot of time to settle this truth deep into the base of my heart over the last few months. When we first saw the picture of our little man, I knew he was a blessing and it was about the easiest truth I've ever had to believe. I needed no convincing. I saw his picture and I knew he was a blessing. I hoped he would become my blessing.
Through the months long process of our home study we learned all about the... I'm having a hard time figuring out what to call it.... I guess the "downfall" of international adoptions. We learned all about the hundreds of things that could go wrong for our little man. Emotionally, physically, developmentally. The home study process is designed to equip parents to handle any issues that may come their way, but when you spend 20 hours reading about the "dark sides," it can feel a little overwhelming.
You can feel a little bit like this "blessing" is going to ruin your life.
That's why this verse is so important. In adoption we're not just opening our lives up to the possibility of attachment disorders, birth defects, fetal alcohol syndrome, autism, grief, or anger. We're opening our lives up to a blessing.
I've been thinking a lot lately about the blessings we saw walking around at our son's orphanage. Every day when we met our little man to play outside, he came out of the building with his class of about 6 other children. They left the building through a single, metal door like you'd find on the side of a school. They came out onto a stoop and were helped down 4 or 5 cement steps by their nannies. Honestly, I didn't spent too much time considering the other children. I just scanned their faces to see which one was our little guy and then went right to him. One morning, however, I remember another little boy catching my eye, giving me a big grin and then taking off toward me. His nanny caught him and turned him around right away, but the image of his smile is burned in my memory. His eyes lit up with that smile and I can't help but wish I had more time to play with him too.
Since returning home I've wondered about that little boy and wondered whose blessing he's supposed to be. Theological questions about fate and destiny and free will aside, I wonder if God has an adoptive family chosen for him. I wonder if they know about their calling. And I wonder if they're going to say yes.
All those children walking around are little blessings. I wonder who is going to say yes to a blessing.
Shortly after John and I began our adoption journey I read a story about a waiting child in Eastern Europe. His name was Jack and though I first heard about him months ago, the fresh emotion that hit me then still hits me with the same gravity today.
Jack is almost 12 years old. Not too long ago he was transferred from one orphanage to another- to one for older kids. Before his transfer he asked these questions to an orphanage visitor:
Do you know anyone who would like to take a boy like me? I would really like for a visitor, at least, because I am all alone and I have no one.
What do I need to do for a mom to come? Do you know where she is? Is she looking for me?
Thank God, the answer to Jack's question is yes- there is someone who wants a boy like you. Your mom is coming. Jack's mom is named Tania and she and her husband have begun a remarkable adventure to bring Jack home. I encourage you to check out their blog here.
Jack's parents no doubt face all the possibilities of "downfalls" in their adoption of Jack. He's lived a long time without a family and will certainly bear scars from that emptiness.
But Jack is still a blessing. His parents know the truth of this scripture: Children are a blessing from the Lord.
My dear friend- if you are thinking about adoption but worried about the pitfalls of it- worried that adding a child with unknown history to your family might ruin your life- then take heart. You are not just adopting a child who could have "issues," you are opening yourself up to a blessing from the Lord. A blessing that will remain unshaken through good times and bad.
I've wondered myself what kind of pitfalls or baggage our adoption might bring into our lives. But I remain grounded in the truth that children are a blessing from the Lord. And so what if this adoption ruins my life? At the end of the day, the worst that could happen is that my life will be ruined by a blessing. If you ask me, that's a pretty good way to spend my one wild and precious life.
I certainly know how you feel. You will understand when I send the package for you and John. I wrote a letter to go with it and it was written a few days ago and it mimics some of what you say here. You are so right, what a blessing children are. None of us are perfect but we are all blessings!!!ReplyDelete
I am looking forward to the package! Amen to your comment- not perfect, but blessings indeed.Delete
Thanks for this blog post! What an encouragement and reminder as we wait for our travel date to Ukraine. We have three biological "blessings" and we recently said "yes" to siblings from Ukraine -- an 8 year old boy and 13 year old girl. We do worry about all the situations you mentioned. It's hard not to wonder if God will give you what it takes to deal with the extreme unknown. But one thing I have learned from having my own children and knowing the children of friends is that all children have problems, some bigger than others, but all needing the grace of God to help us deal with them. If we expect "perfect" and "completely healthy" then even biological children are a huge risk to that desire. I love reading your blog and seeing your perspective on so many aspects of this journey. Thank you!ReplyDelete
Tricia thank you so much for your comment! I praise God that he has called you to bring these thwo blessings into your life. I agree with everything you said. We all face challenges as parents, but our job is not to have an easy life or even the happiest life, rather it is to have the most faithful life. We can rejoice in God's faithfulness through those trials, even before they come because we know he will be faithful. Are you blogging about your adoption?Delete
We didn't do much with our blog until we left for Ukraine. Our blog is less about inspiring others (in other words, we don't have your incredible gift!) but is more about our actual experience and impressions. We've been in Ukraine for just a few days. We get to see our children tomorrow! Here is the link if you are interested: http://thelasttearfalls.blogspot.comDelete
We didn't do much with our blog until we left for Ukraine. Our blog is not so much about inspiring others (in other words, we don't have your gift!), but rather a place to record our experience and impressions while we are in Ukraine. We have been here just a few days. Tomorrow we get to see our children! Here is the link to our blog if you are interested: http://thelasttearfalls.blogspot.com/Delete
This is so true. It really resounds with me. God bless you and your family!ReplyDelete
We have just begun the process of adopting from the public foster care system. We begin our parenting class tomorrow actually. Please pray for us. :)
Laura I pray God's peace and joy as you complete your classes! I'm so thrilled to hear about your decision to adopt from the foster care system and hope you find lots of encouragement in this journey. All the best!Delete
Jill, this post is so relevant to where I am in my head right now. I wasn't expecting to read a shout-out for our little man as I got further down the page. Thank you for including him : )ReplyDelete
This post found me at just the right time. As we prepare for our home study, I had a bunch of fears from must what you describe. All the classes and meetings designed to make sure there are no surprises started to get to me. And then I somehow found this 4 year old post on Facebook. I immediately thanked God for sending his word through you. Thank you. I am renewed and excited to meet my blessing, where ever he or she may be!!ReplyDelete