|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.