I'm squeaking in under the wire for getting a National Adoption Month post written, since November is very nearly over.
As we finished dinner tonight, I looked around and realized that if we had never adopted, there was a good chance that it would have been just D. and P. at the table with me and J. tonight. That's seven people whom I love that would either have not existed or been part of our family. It felt a little shocking and a little scary all at the same time.
We didn't set out to have 12 children. We thought four sounded great.. and normal... and enough. But sometimes there is that little voice that says otherwise. I'm so glad we listened. While the bottom half of the line-up (to borrow J.'s phrase) is not always easy, and sometimes downright hard, we also cannot imagine them not being around. The blessings certainly outweigh the hard. I shiver to think what we would have missed.
We would have missed the sheer joy that these precious blessings bring to us. Their smiles, their laughter, their triumphs. While I often wonder if I can do everything I need to do, I never doubt that my life has purpose. It is no small thing to play a role in watching a child who was so shut down she was not a player in her own life come alive. It is not small thing to play a part in the emotional healing of a very hurt child. It is no small thing to be recipient of hugs and kisses from a child who had no idea what a family was for too many years.
Yes, it can be hard. It can be scary. It can be overwhelming. But that is not the entire story. In our path of living on the outside edges of normal, we have been witness to God's overwhelming protection and love and provision. These stories keep us going in the desert places where hope is hard to find. We have learned of our need for God in a way that we never knew before in our more normal existence. Adoption has changed us. Adoption has changed the dynamics of our family. Adoption has changed the trajectory of our adopted children's lives. Adoption has changed what we think is important. Adoption has changed how we view other people, especially those who don't fit inside normal. Adoptions has made us more humane. And adoption has given us front row seats to the continued outworking of God's story of redemption. Daily we see this played out in a myriad of small ways as we parent these healing children who are God's image bearers.
It was one small yes eleven years ago. And without that yes, we could have missed all that followed.