In this time of Easter, I thought I would share a post I wrote originally in 2012. Praise Jesus for His life, His scars, His death, and His resurrection!
Recently, I wrote an article for Adoption.com regarding five things adoption social workers want to tell to hopeful adoptive parents. It was really difficult to list just five things, as there are so many facets and nuggets of wisdom that social workers can share with families!
From my experience both working in the field and as an adoptive parent, I narrowed down to the five things that I feel are most important for hopeful adoptive families to be aware of and consider. You can read the article by clicking on the link below:
If you are a social worker in the field of adoption, what advice do you give to adoptive parents? If you are an adoptive parent (or hoping to be one soon), what is the best advice you have been given by a social worker? I’m curious to hear your thoughts!
Have you seen it? There’s a video of a couple meeting their adoptive newborn son for the first time floating around on Facebook, and boy, it is quite moving. After watching it, I reached out to the adoptive agency the family worked with, and asked if I could contact them for an interview for an article on Adoption.com.
The family agreed, and the link below is for the article. I absolutely loved hearing the backstory to the emotional and loving video. It confirmed to me what I have always known. Behind every story of adoption, there is loss, fortitude, hope, and love.
Take just a moment to read it:
The breeze, the sun, the smell, and the blanket. The blue skies on top of me, and the green grass below. This is how I remember childhood…laying down on a blanket surrounded by the outside and looking up in the skies. The warm sun kissed my face, and the breeze wrapped itself around my skin. My eyes full of wonder as I imagined dragons, birds, and all sorts of things formed by the billowing, fluffy clouds that captured my sight.
Mom’s baked goods coming fresh out of the oven. Sweet morsels filled with sugar, and love. This is how I remember childhood…knowing that I was deeply loved, and that Mom could whip up just about anything out of nothing, but it all tasted so good.
Dancing, the smell of the studio, tights and leotards, blisters on my feet, and the laughter of my dancing friends. This is how I remember childhood…sweet memories of performing, and dance teachers applauding and critiquing. Dancing filled my head with dreams, and my soul with passion.
The records, the station wagon, Friday nights at the skating rink, and racing Big Wheels up and down the street. Neighborhood streets with children playing kickball, the sound of crickets, and coming inside when the sun kissed the Earth goodnight. This is how I remember childhood…carefree, adventurous, independent, and fun.
Sickness, needles, doctors, machines bleeping, white sheets, blood, in and out of consciousness, surgery, more surgery, bad news, terrible news…this is also how I remember childhood. Strength, prayer, the power to overcome, the persistence of parents, and the love that enveloped my life before illness took hold, and after, also depict the script of my life.
When serious illness strikes a child down, it sure does its best to erase the goodness that came before. It doesn’t, though. All of the cherished times become just that…more cherished, sweeter, and fondly remembered.
In my life, when I think about my childhood, my mind does not automatically go back to the hospital and illness. No. It goes back to the warm breeze, the sun, Mom’s goodies, the dance studio, the rink, and the streets filled with children and crickets. This is how I remember childhood.
I suspect, or at least I hope, that the same is for anyone who has experienced a traumatic illness in childhood. Illness cannot capture all that came before. It does not do that.
Remember the good, the great, and the laughter. Remember friendships, family, and fun.
Remember that illness does not dictate who you truly are.
Remember, illness doesn’t do that.
Author note: I try not to get political on social media or with this blog, but right now, I just can’t let this not escape my heart.
I keep hearing you say, “Let’s make America great again!” No offense, but seriously, if there is anyone who can say that America is not great, it certainly is not you. After all, you inherited a fortune that most of us hardworking individuals will NEVER earn in our entire lifetimes, you have multiple homes, successful businesses, and every luxury one would want at your disposal. You even have the audacity to say that you could shoot someone and still find support. The rest of us could not say that…nor would we.
I also hear you remind people, a lot, that you are rich. Well, sir, we know that. We understand that you are wealthy, but are you rich? How do you count your riches? If I counted my riches by the standard of yours, then I am certainly impoverished. However, I do not. I count my riches by the depth of my relationships with others, the faithfulness of my husband of nearly fifteen years, the love of my children, the faith that I cling to, and the moments of generosity poured out by many.
At my children’s school, there are refugee children from Myanmar (Burma). My daughter has shared with me many words of their native tongue. She is learning about their culture, why they needed to come to our county, and has become close friends with one of the girls. Recently, at the school book fair, she asked me if I could buy her friend a book. I agreed to do it, and walked with her to give the book to the girl. Upon seeing it, this little girl with broken English, grabbed my daughter, hugged her tightly, and smiled from ear-to-ear.
This is what I count as wealth. This is richness. This is what makes America great.
I fear that if it were up to you, Mr. Trump, then my children would never have the opportunity to experience the gift of meeting others who seek a safe harbor in our country. I fear that if you become our leader, the mantra of greed, what we should consider as wealth, and the rhetoric of bullying that you seem to love, will become our language. And, this is leap years away from what I want my children to learn. You are not who I want my children to look up to.
You keep saying, “Let’s make America great again!” Well, I believe our country is already great, and it has been for a very long time. We have problems, of course, like any other country, but we are still a great nation. Those who have forgotten this should consider truly walking in the shoes of many in far off lands who struggle.
Our greatness is shown when we welcome others who are different than us. It is witnessed when we step out and worship how, and if, we choose to. It is evidenced by how we, as a nation, stand together during tragic times. It is exemplified time and again when we navigate into troubled waters to pour into other people through the spirit of volunteerism and empathy, and it is demonstrated by the hard work ethic that our country has.
When I hear you boast about your richness, I shake my head. There are many of us who are choosing each day to NOT live in fear, to walk with LOVE, to WELCOME others, to invite PEACE over violence, to LISTEN instead of yell, and to EMBRACE the DIVERSITY of this blessed nation.
This is what I count as wealth. This is richness. This is what makes America great.
A concerned Mom who decided to write just another open letter to you
During our foster parenting years, people would often say to me, “I don’t know how you can do this…how you can love the babies and get attached while not knowing if they are going to stay.”
I didn’t have the most eloquent responses back then, and I’m not sure if I even do now, but I do know that it is possible to love, and possibly let go. It is possible to show care, concern, and respect to biological parents whose children you are caring for. Not only is it possible, it is essential. It is also essential to remember that children in foster care should return to their biological families if it is safe for them to do so.
While fostering our children (that we were able to eventually adopt), I always kept in my mind the thoughts of how I would feel if I were in the biological parents’ place.
Would I want to know that my children were being cared for in the most loving manner?
Would I want to feel supported?
Would I want foster parents to know that the goal of reunification is vital?
My mantra became, “It’s not about you.” I spent many nights praying for all involved in their cases (biological parents, case workers, attorneys, court officials). I also got up each day knowing that everything I offered to the children should be the best of who I am and what I believe.
So, I guess, this is how I did it. This is how I survived the unknowns, ups and downs, and day-to-day challenges of my foster parenting journey.
In life, effort and empathy are essential. In fostering parenting, they are as well.