Working in child welfare for any amount of time forces the rude awakening of the troubles we have in our society and the daily struggles that too many children have in the United States. There are children who are fatherless, motherless, or both. Many are taking care of their baby siblings even though they are babies themselves. Some can tell you how to prepare a crack pipe because they have witnessed it in their home. Others do not understand boundaries or safety because they have never been kept safe. Infants are born with the addictions of their mothers; or at least, the exposure of poor choices made while in the womb. If you do not believe or understand this, then I encourage you to spend a day with a child abuse and neglect investigator.
It is deeply troubling when I hear people dismiss children as if they carry no purpose. I have written about this before in my post Where is Your Treasure?
ALL children are vital to this world. ALL children are precious in the eyes of the Lord. He loves each one as if he or she is His only child.
They teach us to forgive quickly, to slow down, to laugh, and to dream. They see things through the lens of innocence. They have great purpose in this world. Not to sound cliché, but they are the future and the potential fulfillment of all things good in this world.
When I took this picture of my daughter above at a family get together, I could not help but think about what the life of a child should be made of. Their lives should be filled with love, silliness, warmth, and parents. Their lives should be enveloped in family, memories, shelter, encouragement, and safety. They deserve days filled with the warmth of sunshine, the laughter of playmates, and the sweetness of ice cream cones.
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Happy Birthday Bubby. I love you so much more than I will ever find the words to express. I am incredibly grateful to the Lord for choosing us as your parents. I know I have said that over and over, but I suspect I will not stop saying it until my life on Earth has ended. Just thinking about the person you are growing into, all of your strengths and sweet quirks, makes my heart leap with joy.
The night before you came to us, I prayed that the Lord would provide us with the opportunity to parent a baby. We woke up that morning not knowing that by the end of the day, our lives would be forever changed. He answered my prayer immediately. We quickly rushed out the door to head to the hospital after getting a call from the local child protective services saying “can you be there in 30 minutes?” Your first year was full of hope, tears, joy, fears, and the overall feeling of being a part of something bigger than ourselves. We were caught between loving you desperately and the commitment we made to help your birth mother get you back. We were sworn to protecting you; yet, we had to rely on others in your life to make the decisions on what was best. We were broken down and humbled by the plight of your birth mother while glowing in the enchantment of who you were and by the Lord’s gifting of you.
Your second year held the mixed up feelings of grieving for your birth mother and her loss of you while experiencing pure joy at your adoption. Before your adoption, we did not know how long we would hold you. We said “love you forever” as often as we could. On that fateful day in May, we were given the blessing of you being ours forever. So much was revealed to us during this time of life. Your curly hair, sweet smile, and boundless energy kept us amused. People were drawn to you. Your charm and talkative nature took flight.
Year three…well…let’s just say that year three was a wee bit challenging. Your God-given strong-willed determination was your shining accomplishment! You started to see more of the world with curiosity and fierce independence. Music also became something you were quite fond of. You welcomed a baby sister! You announced it. You told us that you would be getting a baby sister before we even knew. I can only imagine how your little mind must have been spinning when your baby sister arrived on our doorstep. You took it in stride. You noticed your friends’ mommies had babies in their bellies; and yet, you never questioned why your sister was delivered to our door by a nice lady with brown hair. You just seemed to understand that your mommy does not grow babies in her belly.
Year four was the year of music, Legos, and all things super-hero. You often dressed up, grabbed whatever sword you could find, hop on your big wheel, and ride through the house in an attempt to beat the bad guys. Sometimes you even sang songs about being a super-hero. One of the sweetest things you said to me was “Mommy, you are my super-hero.” When at home, you seemed to always have a drum stick and your dulcimer in hand. Your songs were also about rock stars, Jesus, Christmas, God, and of course, mommy. You performed just about every night for us. You would jump out of the closet, proclaim yourself as a rock star, spin around, then sing and strum away. My favorite song went like this:
I’m a little rock star…for Jesus…for Christmas…for God…and my family.
Year five seemed to slip away so fast. You took your first airplane ride, went to a strange new place called Disney World, rode rides that overwhelmed your senses, and shook with excitement when meeting Buzz Light Year! Painting became a hobby for you and we discovered your natural ability as a gymnast. You graduated from preschool, got glasses, spent extra time with your Papa fishing on the lake, and started Kindergarten. You started referring to yourself as a “school-ager”.
Sometimes, I just sit back and watch the videos of you throughout the years. My eyes well up with tears at just how special you are and also at how swiftly time has gone by. I wish I could back and push a button to slow down time. I wish I would have kissed you just a bit more before night-night, or let you sing me one more silly song, or picked you up one more time when you said “holdu holdu“. You are starting to show your growth in the way you get just ever-so-slightly embarrassed if I try to kiss you around other kids. But, at the same time, you still reach for my hand and put your head on my lap when it is just the two of us.
God has blessed us so much by choosing us as your parents. You continue to amaze us, challenge us, stretch us, refine us, and love on us daily. You, my son, are a precious wonder. Happy, happy, happy birthday my sweet one…love you forever…
Thank You, Lord, For Giving Us Six Years of Happy
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