Family Stories

Personal family stories

{Hitting Repeat} A Highlight of Our Lives

The anticipation that builds as you wait to meet your child for the first time is hard to express in words. It reminds me a little of waiting to walk down to the aisle on my wedding day. As we signed paper after paper, it was truly difficult to concentrate on what I was doing! Our lives were about to change forever!

AND THEN HE WALKED IN THE ROOM . . . our precious, precious boy. I almost couldn’t believe that it was happening just as I had imagined it, quite unlike our experience with Grace (but she was 18 months so you can imagine she was very scared and didn’t know what to think). He ran to us and hugged us and said, “I love you, Mother” and “I love you, Father” and “I love you, sister.” It was sweet music to our ears, and I feel tears welling up in my tired eyes as I write this.

The First Photo!

The First Photo!

He came to us with a backpack filled with candy and snacks and the items we sent him in the care package. The Shanghai Children’s home also gave us a beautiful photo album and a chop (a traditional Chinese name stamp). They were so sweet and generous.

He brought some toys which he showed us with great pride and shared several of his interesting treats with Grace and us. You should see them together. They are so cute. Children can overcome language barriers in amazing ways.

The language barrier is pretty significant, but we will trust God and speak lots of English. God put homeschooling on my heart for a reason! Exciting times ahead.

First Family Photo

First Family Photo

 

UPDATE as of July 17, 2013: It has been six months since Anthony Jianyou joined our family. From that first day forward, our love for our boy has grown in leaps and bounds. It amazing, wonderful and inspiring to watch him grow and unfold before us. He is so full of life and personality, and his English is amazing! I can’t believe how well he speaks, and he is also working hard to maintain his Chinese. We are so proud of him! He is such a smart, bright, energetic boy. We are so thankful to God for choosing him for our family and for the blessing of adoption.

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Suzanne Meledeo

Suzanne Meledeo

After struggling with infertility for five years, God led Suzanne and her husband, Adam, to His Plan A for their lives, adoption! Their three year old daughter, Grace Lihua, came into their lives on May 8, 2011 (Mother’s Day) from Fuzhou City, Fujian Province, China, and their 8 year old boy, Anthony Jianyou, joined their family on January 14, 2013. After a career in politics, Suzanne is thankful for God’s provision in their lives that now allows her to serve on the We Are Grafted In admin team and work part time as a Pilates Instructor while home schooling their children. You can follow their adoption journey and life on their blog, Surpassing Greatness.

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{Hitting Repeat} What’s in a Name

There isn’t a person alive who does not yearn for identity and purpose. As we raise our adopted children we see that this question of identity is often more complicated for them–complicated by a missing or shattered past, by the realities of relinquishment, rejection and abandonment, by the issue of race and culture, by tough questions of “why me” or “what if….?”

It seems to me that the people who are the most whole are the ones who are settled with who they are and enjoying a strong sense of purpose in their lives. Identity and purpose are the basic ingredients of wholeness for all of us, and most likely your adopted child will require extra effort on your part to instill and call forth his identity as a son with a destiny, her place as a daughter with a calling. It has been fascinating to me to hear that even children adopted as infants often find, once they become teenagers, that this issue of identity gets confused and complicated by the realities of adoption.

One of the most effective opposing forces to your adopted child’s sense of identity is an orphan spirit. For some children their adoption into a loving Christian family has not freed them from this sense of being an orphan– one who lacks parents, lacks love, lacks protection and provision, lacks security….. Even when the lack is replaced in adoption by a loving mother and father, a wonderful home and church with lots of friends, abundant provision in every way, this sense of being one who lacks can remain and threaten to become a child’s primary motivating identity, even years after his or her adoption as a daughter or son.

Much of our work as adoptive parents is to administer this truth, day after day and year after year, that this child is no longer an orphan, but a true Son or Daughter. One who is defined not by lack, but rather by possession and inheritance! One who is worthy, acceptable, significant, powerful, full of purpose and destiny and calling, defended, safe, beloved….

What can we parents do to help our child receive and embrace their Identity as a Son or Daughter, rejecting the lies borne out of the facts of their past? Lies that tell them “you are not significant, you don’t have what it takes, you are unloved and unwanted, you are too different to fit in, you have to fend for yourself….” Lies that keep them from connecting, and limit their ability to walk in their true destiny.

There are no simple answers to this question, but I believe there are some practical things we can do to massage into our treasured children the TRUTH of their identity.

Family Name

Be intentional about using your family name. There is something powerful about a family name. It speaks of belonging, heritage, relationship, history. When we are born again into the family of God, we take on His name and the full inheritance that goes along with it,

For Whom every family in heaven and on earth is named
Ephesians 3:15

Being named is more important to our perception of ourelves than we may realize. There is something significant for our children in hearing over and over that they are Templetons. If your child is being unkind, rather than say, “Don’t be unkind. That’s not nice,” you might say, “In the Templeton [inserting your name of course!] Family we treat each other with kindness.” Look for ways to intentionally insert your family name into daily life. “We Templetons go to church and worship God.” It may seem awkward but we have found it to communicate the truth of sonship to our children, especially in those early years.

Family Meetings

Having regular family meetings is a wonderful way to impart the wholeness of “sonship” into your adopted child. Just the gathering itself communicates that they are part of a whole or a unit, something established, something that has a history. These times can take on whatever flavor or purpose, you decide is needed at the time. Because we have such a large family, in recent years we have used these meetings to share what is going on in our lives. We ask each child to share what they are doing in school, what activities they are involved in, what issues they are dealing with. That way everyone feels connected. We also find that using these times for prayer is very powerful. Praying out loud for each other (especially in response to some need that has been shared) goes a long way to establish belonging and love. Sometimes each of us will write down five things we like about each family member (younger children can draw pictures) and share. Other times Stephen or I will read aloud a story or scripture, or address a family matter that needs adjusting or correction. No matter the focus, the gathering will help you to create sense of identity and belonging.

Family Traits

Something we learned is to be sure to identify Templeton family traits in our adopted children. Just like we do when a baby is born, we search for and comment on family traits. (“He has his daddy’s nose,” or “Her eyes are definitely from her mama’s side of the family.”) For instance we might say, “You look just like your mama when you smile like that!” or, “You are so much like your daddy taking care of that dog. He always loved dogs when he was a boy your age.” The wonderful thing about these comments is that they can be said regardless of skin color or any other physical difference. They speak volumes to your child– you belong, you are a part of a family with a story, you are not separate.

There is power in a name! The question of “Who Am I?” is one we adoptive parents want to be answering within the day to day life of our family. Don’t wait for the question to be asked by your adopted child. Look for ways to communicate the Identity of Sonship in everyday life– you belong, you are loved, you are acceptable, you are celebrated, you are connected, you are a person of destiny and purpose.

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Beth Templeton

Beth has been married to her husband, Stephen, for 25 years. They have seven children, ages 16 to 22. Several years after giving birth to three girls, God called their family into the adventure and blessing of adoption. In 2000, they brought home a brother and sister, ages 5 and 10, from Russia. Then they returned to the same orphanage 18 months later and brought home two more brothers, ages 7 and 10. Stephen and Beth serve as leaders in their local church. Beth leads a ministry called Hope at Home, dedicated to help adoptive and foster parents encounter the Father’s heart for their families, partnering with God to transform orphans into sons and daughters. For more parenting insight and encouragement in the Lord go to the Hope at Home blog.

{Hitting Repeat} biggest.

if someone would have told me 7 years ago that our almost 1 year old baby girl, chloe, would someday be a little sister, i wouldn’t have been able to fathom that. i couldn’t even imagine how my heart could fit love for any other children–let alone one ‘stealing’ her birth order. [yes, people say that to us.] yet, my heart has grown with each child we’ve been blessed with. i didn’t realize that was one thing that really doesn’t only hold a certain capacity.

and here we are. a different child as our oldest. i don’t think this is for everyone. but, i do know it’s for some. it is for us. and missing it because i was more worried about the ramifications of disrupting birth order than educating ourselves & listening to God’s plan for our family makes me shudder at the thought. so many of these ‘older children’ are really just children. ready to love. ready to make your heart grow again. ready to be the big brother. ready to excel at every new task. eager to serve. quick to learn. ready to be little again.

it’s really been a blessing to watch those things in him. there are also blessings for each person in our family from it.  today i was in the middle of hard and i giggled out loud as i waded through it. i giggled at how easy our lives could have been. you know, when we were on track with our 2 kids and climbing the ladders. getting manicures every week and eating out all the time. able to enroll our kids in private classes & they could have calendars like socialites. seriously–it would have been so easy. [and i’m not knocking anyone…i’m truly saying that’s how i saw our lives at one point.] but, oh, what i would’ve missed. what we all would’ve missed. this kid is right where he belongs.

and so am i.

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Lovelyn Palm

Lovelyn is the mother to 9 children who range in age from 11 years to 3 month old twins. Her home is in the Midwest, but her heart is forever changed by a love for East Africa. She has a passion for caring for vulnerable children & families and advocating for waiting children. Sure her hands are full, but so is her heart. She blogs her family’s journey at Moments with Love.

{Hitting repeat} Sameness

I knew it was coming, and here it is. I don’t know if it’s a new phase of self-awareness, or a new confidence that Matthew has to start letting out some of these feelings he has inside, but he’s got some things to get off his chest.

So even though I knew it would come out someday, I was still devastated when he told me the other day–I don’t want brown eyes. I don’t like my eyes. I want green eyes like YOU.

{God give me wisdom}

Oh dear, I really like your brown eyes, I say.

DARK brown, he corrects me. And I NOT, he adds, shaking his head back and forth.

Well, do you know why your eyes look the way they do? Why they are that shape and why they are that color?

NO.

Because everyone born in Korea has eyes shaped like that. Korean people have brown eyes! I wasn’t born in Korea. I don’t get to have eyes like you. I have to have green eyes.

For a second, he is impressed with this information. Being born in Korea is a great source of pride to him right now. But it isn’t quite enough to tip him over. He remains gruff and grumpy with his lot in life. Isaac bounds in the room.

I love my eyes! The shape and the color! I love your eyes too, Matthew! I love your brown eyes!!!

WELL I DON’T.

If there is one thing about Matthew, it is that he has an innate ability to stand firm in his beliefs.

So we sit in the floor of the hallway and begin to discuss how we all look a little bit different. All of our hair is a little bit different. Isaac says that my hair is black (??) and I correct him that it is brown. He counters with DARK BROWN, and I don’t feel this is worth arguing about, so I say yes, I have dark brown hair. Matthew perks up immediately. He is gleeful.

Like me, mama!! You hair is dark brown and my eyes is dark brown! We the same!!!!

Yes! You’re right!!!

Then we all went and stood in front of the bathroom mirror together and stuck out our tongues. YES! Our tongues are all pink. That’s one way we are the same! We all pulled up our shirts to reveal belly buttons. Look, we all have belly buttons! The same again! We examined our arms next to each other and realized none of our skin is exactly alike. Isaac’s is pinker. Mine is very freckly. Matthew’s is bronze and clear. We examined hands and earlobes and looked for the presence of widows peaks until everybody was satisfied that we have some things in common but also many differences. Matthew’s spirits were good.

When Jason came home and sat down with us for dinner, Matthew asked with a huge grin, “Hey Dad, do you know what’s the SAME??”. He answered excitedly–my eyes and mommy’s hair. Dark brown! The same!!!

It may have been my imagination, but I believe he was sitting up straighter than ever in his chair that night.

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Elizabeth Wood

Elizabeth is a happily married mama to 2 boys. She and her husband have a 6 1/2-year old bio son, Isaac, and her younger son (6 year old, Matthew) joined their family as a toddler through international adoption from South Korea’s waiting child program. Being only 6 months apart in age, the boys are virtual twins but couldn’t be more different. Feel free to visit their family blog, Everyday the Wonderful Happens, where Elizabeth blogs about the boys, their antics, her son’s special needs, her beliefs, adoption, and pretty much anything else that tickles her fancy.

Through the Eyes of a Traumatized Child

If you’ve ever been in a car accident or other traumatic event, you know that for a while your blood pressure goes up every time you experience something that triggers those memories.  These reactions (and even memories) are largely subconscious.  How your body responds is a survival technique.

For better or worse, our brains are wired to survive.  Without much thought from us, they will produce automatic behaviors that are protective.

Kids who have not had a secure, safe place (emotionally or physically) in which to grow and learn, develop behaviors that are for one thing…survival.

The part of the brain that dictates survival is different than the part of the brain that thinks logically and rationally.

Are you connecting the dots?

This means that kids from hard places have little to no experience using the part of their brain that thinks rationally.  They are too busy trying to survive.

What does this look like?

In our house, it means every “No, you may not” and “Please wait a minute” is translated by our children as a threat to their survival.  Those negative responses from people prove to them that people are not to be trusted at any cost.  If they sense someone getting too close, they will behave in such a way to sabotage the relationship.  They can’t rationalize that an activity may not be safe or emphathize that others may have a need ahead of them.

It means every raised voice (whether in play or anger) causes high anxiety and fear that their very life may be in jeopardy.  In the unlikely case their rational brain was engaged, they immediately switch to the part that will guarantee survival.  Some kids flee, some freeze, some fight.  None think.  In these moments, their behavior is as instinctual as blinking.  They have no control over it.

Logic-based, high-reasoning consequences? Completely out of the question.  Any consequence is viewed as an attack.  It is never connected to their behavior.

In some incidences, they truly do not remember the behavior (even if it happened just moments ago) since it happened in such a high state of stress.  It’s kind of how our brain blocks out pain.  I know I don’t remember much about my experiences going through unmedicated labor and delivery.

As we’ve traveled through weeks of sinking or swimming (mostly sinking) through behavior, we’ve been clinging to Dr. Purvis’ observation that “angry kids are sad and kids that look crazy are scared.”  Putting into perspective what our kids have internalized and how it’s leaking out in behavior and examining how our reactions can either diffuse or escalate their behavior is keeping our heads barely above water.  We sink often.  We’re mentally and emotionally exhausted.

That reminds me; please excuse the unedited, haphazard rambling posts such as this one.

I know it may sound like we’re making excuses for our kids.  We’re not.  We’d be the first ones on the bandwagon if we knew traditional parenting techniques worked on kids from hard places.  We actually keep trying to jump on that bandwagon only to find ourselves banging our proverbial heads against a wall as our situation deteriorates in front of our very eyes.  I won’t lie.  I want a much quicker fix for their behavior.  You know the kind that includes lost privileges, timeouts, and extra chores.  This whole heal the root cause, instead of slapping a band aid on a gaping wound thing, is not for the faint of heart.

If you’re in our shoes (or similar ones), don’t ever let anyone tell you that trust-based parenting is the easy way out or lets the kids off the hook.

If you’re on the outside looking in, don’t judge us based on our children’s behavior or how we handle it.  I’d ask you to try to see the world through their eyes, but I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.

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Melissa Corkum

Melissa Corkum

Melissa, who was adopted from Korea as an infant, have two biological children, a son adopted at age 2 1/2 from Korea, and 3 big kids from Ethiopia (adopted at 12 to 14 years of age). She residse in Maryland where they started a ministry called The Grafted. The Grafted exists to help the local Body of Christ connect to information, resources, and organizations in order to develop a compassionate culture that cares for orphans, vulnerable children, and widows. Melissa also has a photography business that specializes in adoption homecoming and foster family photography. You can get to know Melissa better on her personal blog.

 

 

Cherry Hope Springs Here

cherry-blossomI cried when I realized the tree we bought for our front yard was a weeping fruitless cherry tree. Of course I had picked a tree just like me, fruitless and weeping as my husband and I struggled with infertility. We had chosen that tree to plant in our front yard to celebrate the close of escrow of the house we now could say we “owned”. Each day, as I watered it by hand, I saw lacy pink blossoms pop from the tree’s seemingly lifeless twigs. Beautiful but barren, I wondered, with inconsolable longing.

Then, weeks later, I discovered a tiny package of promise – sent just for me. As I examined the fading blossoms of my little cherry tree, something new caught my eyes. From a single shriveled blossom, grew a tiny green lump like a pea….or…was it a cherry?! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I cried out with amazement and a strange new hope hovered inside me. How could it be? What could it mean? Could a fruitless tree really grow a cherry? What could God be telling me through this?! In the crossroads of despair and hope, I chose to embrace hope. I laughed, I cried some more, then I called my husband at work and told him through my tears. He loved me enough to agree with me that it must indeed be a sign of hope from God!

Every morning that followed that summer, I tiptoed barefoot through the muddy grass to our tree, to look at my little cherry. Day after day the cherry grew bigger and bigger. Later, it began to ripen and turn red, and I delighted in this visible sign of fertility and life. With fresh hope I began to believe it must be a sign I would someday have a baby to love. I couldn’t stop looking at that cherry for the joy it gave me was like nothing else before. Only God would have known what that small miracle of life on a simple fruitless tree would mean to me.

Even though it was the only cherry ever to grow on our tree, my hope persevered whenever I remembered it. After 2 more years of active waiting and praying, at last God answered our hearts’ desire by grafting life into our barren family tree through the gift of adoption. It was the moment I had waited for all my life!

As I held our beautiful infant daughter close in my arms I showed her the miracle tree that had renewed my hope 2 years earlier. I thought of the tears I had cried, and of all my days of despair, and I marveled in the miracle of God’s gift of life to us. It wasn’t the timing or the way I had imagined we would become a family, but it happened exactly the way God knew we would appreciate best.

With a single cherry, God brought refreshment and promise back into my heartsick spirit, and in His perfect timing, brought the gift of our precious daughter, and eventually, the treasure of our son, to the branches of our waiting arms.

It is hard to believe twenty years have passed since that cherry of hope lifted my heart. Our home buzzes with the busy lives of our highschool senior daughter and third grade son, and I am grateful beyond words for the gifts of our children, and for their beautiful birth families. God truly answered the desires of my heart, beyond my wildest dreams. And it’s my time to pray for others.

Today, our cherry tree’s branches are once again bare and scraggly, dormant in winter. I think of those I know for whom this season is filled with the heartbreak of infertility: the hollow longing for children to love. But I am convinced that hope, like spring is just around the corner. And this year, as I watch for signs of life on our tree, as I’ve done every year for two decades, I will pray God restores hope anew with the gift of a cherry on a fruitless branch in someone else’s yard. May God’s hope be yours this year. Truly, all things are possible with God. (Mark 10:27)

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12).

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Colleen D. C. Marquez

Colleen D. C. Marquez

After many years of infertility, Colleen and her husband Mickey are the grateful parents of two beautiful children aged 18 and 9 given to them by God through the loving arms of their birthparents. They live in the Bay Area, California. Colleen’s first children’s book, A Gift for Little Tree – a parable about apples, adoption, and love hopefully will be published in Fall 2013 if it gets the funding needed via the Kickstarter campaign that ends in May!

FAQ: Managing Insecurities and Offense

I received a lot of emails and phone calls over my “Mom” post a few weeks ago. I was a little surprised to hear that so many people were surprised that I was okay with Ty calling Rebekah, Mom. One reader wrote an extremely honest email and admitted that she would be crushed if her adopted son called his birth mom, Mom. She was writing for pointers on how to be more secure in that relationship.

We were at church, last week, and someone was admiring the boys and said, “Now, Ty is your real son, right?” I smiled and launched into our story on how both of our boys came to be. I love telling it.

I know that many adoptive parents equate adoption ignorance to cruel and intentional insults…I just don’t see it that way. I take ignorance for what it is and understand that it is usually bred by curiosity.

Overall, I would say our adoption community is hyper-sensitive when it comes to talking about adoption. Parents spend more time than is necessary trying to prove their place and position…while the child never questions it.

Before Ty was born, God gave me a revelation that has never left my mind. It was like a bright light turned on the day I realized Tyrus belongs to him. Not Rebekah. Not me.

God privileged us with the opportunity to mother him, but possession belongs to God alone. That really helped me in the early days of getting to know Rebekah. It removed the pressure of having to define our roles in ways that seemed unnatural.

Love is not finite. There is no limit to the amount you can give – or get. We always approached Ty’s adoption with this attitude because we knew he could never get his “fill” of love. Rebekah’s presence in Ty’s life doesn’t diminish mine. The same goes for her sister and mother and grandmother. Those relationships don’t take away from the ones he has on our side of the family…they just add to it.

I look at Ty calling Rebekah, “Mom”, the same way. He wants to call her mom because he understands the breadth of what she did for him. He understands her love and affection and wants to return it in a way that makes sense to him. It’s kind of like me calling Ben’s mom, mom. She’s not the mother that stressed and sacrificed and poured into me for the 20 years I had before marrying Ben, but she has enriched my life in countless ways over the last 11. I call her mom because I want to show her respect, love, and admiration. My mom doesn’t feel jealous, insecure, or out of place because of my acknowledgement of Ben’s mom. She knows her place. She will always be my mom.

I know that not everyone has that type of relationship with their mother-in-law, but I hope it helps explain why Ty’s recent choice of words doesn’t bother me.

Ultimately, it comes down to my security in the Lord. I know who I am in Christ, so it’s pretty easy to let insecurities roll down my back. When people use the word “real” when referring to my boys or their moms, it doesn’t offend me because I know who they are to me and who I am to them. Most of the people we run into have no adoption experience. They just ask the first thing that pops into their head. I don’t feel the need to make it a teaching opportunity because most of them will never run into adoption, again. Instead, I use their curiosity as a platform to tell our story and praise God for his goodness!

In just a few short days, Ty will have the opportunity to be with both of his moms and the rest of his extended Colorado family. What a wonderful reunion it will be. I can’t wait to get home and tell you all about it!

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Rebekah Pinchback

Next to my faith walk, I am a wife and mother first. My husband and I have been married ten years and have two incredibly, tender sons, Tyrus and LJ. Our boys are essentially twins, yet neither boy was born from my belly. We adopted sweet Ty (domestically) in 2009 and have a wide-open relationship with his birth family. LJ was also born in the summer of 2009, but came to our family, this year, as a ward of the state (via foster care). Our hearts and abilities have been stretched to capacity, but God is moving, filling, and redefining family for all of us.  Follow along on our journey.

Stuck

Sometimes Lily talks about wanting to go back to her “old place,” as she calls her orphanage – her home for 4 years. She was loved there. She was a sick little baby who against the odds grew to be a sick little girl, sick but spunky. Her referral described her as “stubborn and coquettish” and it was all too true. We’ve been learning a lot from this little firecracker.

It was one of those moments when discipline seems unfair and being the littlest and having to follow rules is simply no fun anymore… “I want go back my old place.” she said, chin quivering a little bit.

Wrapping her arms tightly around Lily, my mom told her about how sad we all would be if Lily left. She was in our family now, she was our special. Lily squinted her eyes, pursed up her lips and blushed the way only she can when she feels loved and wanted. “I stuck,” she said.

Since that day, the word “stuck” has earned itself a new meaning in our family. “I stuck with you,” Lily says as she snuggles close – knowing that she’s safe and wanted and that the love of a mama and daddy won’t ever run out. “I stuck” she’ll sullenly announce when the little responsibilities of being in a family get tiresome. “We all stuck…” she’ll figure, naming each of her big brothers and sisters – all of us part of a big stuck-together-family.

She was sitting on her bed, ready to turn off the lights and go to sleep when she started remembering. “You meet my friend?” she asked. “At my old place?” Oh, yes, we did meet her old roommates when we visited her orphanage at the time of her adoption. There were three bunk beds, so six girls to a room. She had been the littlest, and three of the girls still in her room had been her friends. They remembered her, even though it had been over a year since she had slept on her bottom bunk. They called her name and she introduce her family. Her family.

“On my friends,” she continued, “she not stuck. I think… probably… she want be stuck.”

“Can we pray for her?”

This was the first time that we heard Lily express and acknowledge the fact that the friends from her “old place” are still orphans, waiting for a mommy and daddy of their own. They’re waiting to be stuck.

“Claire stuck. Levi stuck. Joshua stuck. Yanyin stuck.” Lily goes down the list of her friends. “Ohh… (she remembers other close friends who have yet to be matched with families)… they stuck? We pray for them.”

Let’s join Lily in hoping and praying that one day, every child knows what it is to be wanted, chosen and stuck.

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Hannah Samuels

When Hannah traveled to China in 2002 with her parents to adopt her sister Elisabeth, she fell in love with the country and people. In 2004, when her other sister Naomi was adopted, she started dreaming of going back. It took 5 years for that dream to come true. She now serves in a foster home for special needs orphans in China. Hannah spends her days studying, writing for the foster home and on her personal blog, Loving Dangerously, and most importantly, holding babies. Hannah loves the adventure of living overseas with her family. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it.

memories

i try to remember and can’t. i try really, really hard. but when i go back in my mind, it’s not there. i then i remember it didn’t happen that way. all it takes is a clip of a commercial…the one with the mothers holding their new born babies, and my mind goes racing back to the day when i gave birth to Sophia. but i didn’t. and it’s one of the the strangest feelings i’ve ever had. the first time it happened, i kind of freaked out. i was watching some movie on tv, and there she was, a new mommy holding that precious little baby, and in my mind i thought, “oh, how sweet…i remember how i felt when i…” and then i froze. no, i don’t remember that, but oh how it feels like i should! we’ve been home with sophia for over a year now and God has sealed us together so tightly as a family, that i forget we went to China! i feel as if i gave birth to her…i feel as if it should’ve have happened! the first time i had that realization, i cried. i guess i was grieveing what didn’t happen, but i was also just plain feeling sorry for myself because one day i would so love to tell sophia about the day i gave birth to her. and on top f that, i never want her to feel as if she is different than any other little boy or girl whose mommy and daddy love them and brought them home a few days after entering the world. so, i did what i always do…i turned to Him. and He did what He always does… He gently reminded me of His perfect plan. His plan of how He brought our family together that day in China… the way He wanted to. He reminded me that i need to trust in Him when the time comes to explain those things to her, and that giving birth is miraculous. whether it’s natural or supernatural, like ours was. after the initital shock of trying to conjure up a memeory that was not there, i realized how blessed i was to feel that way. she IS my daughter, and yes, I am her real mommy. nothing will ever change that. our circumstances are different, but boy are they incredible! today we celebrate her birthday. and even though i may not remember the day she was born, there is someone who does. a nameless woman, halfway around the world, who, today, i’m sure, is remembering the day she walked into a hospital in Nanjing three years ago and gave birth to the sweetest little girl on earth. her memories, i’m sure, are filled with pain. i can’t even imagine what she may be feeling. i pray for her today. i pray that God somehow will let her know that the child she gave birth to is with a family (and i mean a great big family!) that loves her beyond the moon and back. i wish i could thank her. thank her for loving her enough to risk going into a hospital to give birth. to thank her for choosing a better life for her. to thank her for following God’s plan…even if she didn’t know what she was doing. one day i may be able to do that. only God knows…but for right now, i pray that today will bring peace to her. we have such a beautiful story of love to share with our daughter one day. and although our memories with her start at 21 months old, i think we are doin a pretty good job of making some wonderful memories with her. today is her day. and we will celebrate the joy of who she is in our lives. a daughter we can’t imagine never not having. and it really doesn’t matter how God did it. i’m just so glad He DID!

__________________________

Margy Hughes

Margy and her husband, Darren, traveled to China in November 2011 to bring their daughter home. Sophia Li was 21 months old at the time and has been helping Margy burn lots of calories ever since. The three live in southeastern NC and enjoy ice cream, visiting Disney World whenever possible, and being a forever family that God brought together by His perfect design.  You can follow their story on her blog, Hughes House.

 

#SpreadtheLove

What are you doing on February 14?

Every child deserves to be accepted, to have a family, to be loved.

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:18

Join us in linking up with Marie Osborne and #SpreadtheLove this Valentine’s Day!

#SpreadtheLove is a social media campaign and blog link-up uniting bloggers, writers, parents, photographers, story tellers, friends, in honor of orphans, desperately seeking forever families.

We want to #SpreadtheLove!

JOIN US!

 

If you have a blog or website…

-Post about adoption (any adoption, past, present, future, old post or new).

 

-Please encourage PRAYER for orphans and their future families.

 

-Add your post to the #SpreadtheLove Link-up  during Valentine’s week.

Whether you have a blog or not. . .

-Tweet, FB, etc. on February 14 encouraging everyone to join #SpreadtheLove with the hashtags #spreadthelove.

 

-RSVP to #SpreadtheLove LIVE on Facebook for pictures, suggested tweets & posts to help you out.

 

Finally, enjoy reading each others adoption stories and pray for the families all day this Valentine’s Day!

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