to love what family is {this is what matters}

brothers

Here is a pic of my two cutie-patootie boys.  Oh my, how the time goes by.  Our ten-year-old is insanely protective and in love with his little brother.  In turn, our four-year-old just adores his big Bubby.  This right here is what adoption is all about.

They both came to us with similar characteristics in their stories, but completely different set of circumstances.  Both have those chocolate eyes that melt your heart, a strong will, a little disenchantment (at times) regarding their sister and curiosity about the world surrounding them.

I could not imagine life without them, and I don’t think they would want to imagine life without each other.  Before we decided to take in our little guy, our children asked a ton of questions.  “Why does he need to come stay here?”  “Will he be able to stay forever?” Questions like these are super normal for children whose parents decide to bring in other children.  We answered with age-appropriate honesty, and our kids completely accepted our little guy as he was – as his situation was.  They just wanted to love on him.

These boys are six years apart in age and are not related biologically, but let me tell you, there’s a whole lot of love and life when it comes to adoption.  There are so many things that we parents can determine our success by, but my hope is that I’m measured by what our children view family and love to be.  You don’t have to look the same, share genetics, or be there from the very beginning to know what family is; to love what family is.

Friends, this is what matters.

An Open Letter to Adoptive Fathers {and my own husband}

Hey, you…a father formed through adoption,

You are a father formed through the miracle of adoption.  I’m writing this because I’m all sentimental and stuff about my own husband, and also because I want to encourage you in your walk through the terrain of adoption.

You have probably heard people say, “I just don’t think I could love a child who was not born to me as much as I could one who was.”  Yeah.  I know.  We’ve heard it, too.  You sit back, absorb their words, and think, “How could you not?”  After all, you HAVE experienced the incredible feelings of wholeheartedly loving a child who was not born from your biology.

You know all too well that this kind of love takes a tremendous amount of work but in many ways, it is effortless.  It is complex, yet simple.  It can get ugly, but oh man, it can also reveal great beauty.  It certainly requires fortitude, patience, empathy, and compassion.

You took a hard look at the situation that led you to your child, and you said, “Yes.”

Yes to the idea of adoption.

Yes to the paperwork.

Yes to the expenses and training.

Yes to the belief that adoption matters so very much.

The word “yes” is a marvel, isn’t it?  When you spoke that word, you opened an entire world to your family and your child.  You refused to be a man who turned away.  You dug in deep, disregarded all of those doubts, and you pushed forward.

Your child may not be born to you, but in so many ways, the two (or 3 or 4) of you have grown from a place that not all parents can claim; your hearts.  What was born within in you is that unending desire to help your child, to understand the way his or her world works, to provide stability and love, and to offer your child the best chance for a life of love, success with relationships, and the complete recognition that his or her life is one of great worth.

Hey, you…a father formed through adoption,

In a world of fatherless children and fathers who refuse to stand up, you took a stand and you stood tall.  I can’t think of anything more manly or wonderful than this.

Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.

 

And They’ll Know We are Christians…

And they’ll know we are Christians by our votes, by our…wait.  That’s not it.

And they’ll know we are Christians by our patriotism, by our….  That’s not it.

And they’ll know we are Christians by our political party affiliation, by our…No.  That’s definitely not it.

I think you get the picture.  For some reason, (maybe the current climate of our political culture) the song, “They’ll Know We Are Christians” has been on my mind.  This song is not sung very often in contemporary services, but maybe it should be.

I love politics.  In my early college years, I actually considered studying to become a lobbyist and a speech writer.  I used to walk around neighborhoods for local candidates, knock on doors, and try to convince people why they should vote for the candidate I agreed with. (Yes, I was one of those persons.)

I still love politics, but quite honestly, I’m somewhat disengaged from the whole rigmarole of it now.  I vote.  I sometimes give impassioned pleas regarding who I am going to vote for, but not like I used to, and certainly only to people who will continue to like me afterward.

I read posts on social media that fuel the fire of division.  I glance over words that literally make me cringe.  We have the right in this country to do this, but often, the words are bitter.

Words full of hatred.

Words used to bait someone into a verbal attack.

Words full of condemnation.

I am a proud American.  My father is a Vietnam Veteran, and I believe in democracy and the freedom of speech.  I may not agree with the passions of others, but I understand and embrace that living in a democracy is a tremendous blessing.  In thinking about the United States and this great experiment of democracy we are all involved in, I swell with pride.  I really do.

Still yet, above all of this is this resonating thought:  

As a Christian, I believe in love.  

I believe that Jesus suffered horribly on that rugged Cross for all of us.  

I believe that beyond our modern-day politics lies a future of glory.  

Or, should I say, despite our modern-day politics, lies a future of glory.

I recently learned of a conversation in which someone was told she is not a true Christian if she does not vote in favor of a certain political party.  Wait…what?!?!  Jesus is the holder of our salvation.  He is the only one who has captured our futures; no one else, no political party or candidate.  Let’s not forget that.

Jesus asks us to do this:  Love.  Seriously.  It is that simple.

Friends, how can we show love if we are all caught up in the hatred, paranoia, and distractions of this election?

I urge my fellow Christians to think twice before posting something on social media that might detour others from Christ.  Call it a “God-filter” or a “What Would Jesus Do?” moment, or whatever.  Just think.  That’s all.  If what you are saying does not pull people towards the bounty of love, then maybe it is time for a heart-check.  I’ve had to do this more times that I can count.

I was blessed to attend the Global Leadership Summit a few months ago, and listened with true awe and inspiration to such speakers as Bill Hybels, Alan Mulally, Melinda Gates, Jossy Chacko, Dr. Travis Bradberry, Patrick Lencioni, Chris McChesney, Erin Meyer, John C. Maxwell, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Danielle Strickland, Horst Schulze, and Wilfredo De Jesus.  If you do not know who these people are, Google them.  They are gifted business leaders, pastors, researchers, and professors.  Truly inspiring.

I took so many notes and had plenty of “ah-ha” moments throughout.  However, two things said during the summit have just stuck with me; especially as they pertain to this election season:

“The American Dream is to have it all.  The Kingdom’s Dream it to lose it all.”  Wilifredo De Jesus

“As Christians, are we going to spend our life connecting with people or correcting people?” John C. Maxwell

These quotes have taken a seat in my gut.  Not only are they inspirational, they are motivational and humbling.

And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love.

Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

 Ah, that’s it.

 

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35

 

Adopting.Org {new website you need to check out}

Hi Friends,

There’s a new website I thought you would like to check out!  If you are interested in adoption and all things related, check out:  adopting.org

The website features blog posts from adoptive families and others touched by adoption.

Grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and enjoy!

Blessings,

Caroline