[Part 2; Continued from last week’s Inspiring Hope Blog]
“I just want ya’ll to know that momma died three weeks ago.”
Her words were piercing as hot tears stung my cheeks. I felt her pain as one who’d lost loved ones, and I also grieved for Jeffery and Jaycie, who now had lost not only their birth parents through no fault of their own, but now had lost their “surrogate mother” in their sweet grandmother. If the children’s aunt hadn’t looked through her mother’s rolodex following her death, she wouldn’t have even contacted us. What seemed a fluke– was actually God’s providential plan.
I telephoned my husband at work, who came home immediately. Hank walked into our living room declaring matter-of-factly but with a somber face,
“Well, honey, you know what we have to do.”
“What??” I responded, as if I didn’t know, still wiping tears away. But I did know. We both knew.
In a whirlwind of decisions, prayers, phone calls, fingerprints, tears, excitement, fear, and family discussions (our kids were in full agreement), we began the adoption process. God was suddenly making His plan clear! We flew to West Virginia to bring them home on Feb. 27, 2009, and we celebrated a belated Christmas with them on Feb. 28th, having kept the tree up until they arrived at Jeffery’s request. He’d lost so much… it was the least we could do.
After about a two-week “honeymoon” period with our new “babies” (Jeffery was 9, Jaycie was almost 3), we witnessed some of the issues that come with children who’ve suffered trauma. Nothing insurmountable, but not what we were accustomed to. Thinking ourselves “seasoned parents” (my teaching degree, my husband a Child Welfare Supervisor, and our blended family of 8 children already), we felt as equipped as any to deal with whatever might arise. However, we soon discovered how much a child can miss through serious neglect and abuse, particularly in the preschool years.
I had quit my full-time teaching job in 2007, taking a huge leap of faith to follow the music ministry and speaking calling that God laid on my heart. I’d been writing songs about adoption, foster care, birth moms, etc., and even had begun recording an entire album on the subject, in Nashville. I often questioned why God would have me write songs on a subject I’d never experienced. These songs became like a beacon– a billboard — of the direction for our lives. Had I not been involved in music ministry, we never would have met our future children. We would have missed our destiny! God worked it all out for our good and according to His divine plan, although through many unexpected turns.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
We still often find we are training a 4-year-old in a now 12-year-old’s body, and it’s difficult… but so worth it! Both children have come such a long way… including Jeffery getting all A’s and B’s on his last report card for the first time, being chosen Student of the Month, and Jaycie being in the top reading group in Kindergarten and dancing ballet in our kitchen. We’ve seen the positive results that faith and good self-esteem can produce for a child who once had none. We’re sticking with it, working diligently, praying a lot, and laughing amid a few tears. We’re uncovering treasures in these children who were once orphaned. We cherish who they are—underneath the hurt— and whom they will become. And, we have the honor, joy and privilege of being “mom and dad”, with all its rewards. A worthy effort— even better than refurbishing an old house. See the video of the song “Always Be Mom and Dad“, featuring several adopted children, including our own, here: Download the song or “The Heart of Adoption” album.We can’t erase our children’s past (or our own), but we can build a better future by choices we make today. #adoption Click To Tweet
And even though adoption came as a surprise, we can’t imagine our lives any other way now.
I stood in front of that vacant mansion again the other day, praying again.
It’s as if God said, “Haven’t I called you to this? To take what’s been discarded and make it new? To restore and rebuild and bring back its glory?”
Hey—I’ll take that old house… it’s a treasure worth restoring. How much more… a child?
June 2016 Update: Jeffery is in his 5th year of band, and is active in church youth group and choir mission trips. He plans to go to Vo-tech to learn heavy equipment operation after high school, and enjoys fishing with his grandpa. Jaycie is learning piano (mommy teachers her) and loves taking gymnastics for the last three years. She recently sang her first solo at church, and competed at the Oklahoma State Bible Drill Competition. She knows where she came from, who she is now, and that she is LOVED – by God, and by her birth and adoptive families.
Oh– about the mansion? God answered our 3-year prayer by allowing us to stay in our current house and build on two bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a dining room– saving us a lot of hassle, and about $150,000!! That’s another miraculous story for another day!
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11