Archive for January 2015 | Monthly archive page

Good Questions


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This weekend my four crazy children and I drove to Orlando for the weekend to visit my parents. Josh had a big conference at the church, it was a long weekend, and it seemed a good opportunity to both visit my parents and get a little extra help with the kids. A year and a half ago that drive with all four, on my own, would have terrified me. But I’m happy to report we made it both ways without much incident, other than the occasional “I HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM SO BAD WE HAVE TO STOP NOW MOM!”

It’s amazing to me to see how far we’ve come. Everything about this trip would have felt stressful to me a mere year and a half ago. I couldn’t have imagined a time that our kids would all be playing together, sharing a room, etc. without the emotional strain that came with the adoption. At times it felt that Eva would never bond with her sisters, Titus would never stop clinging to me, and I’d have to do everything for these children forever and ever. But God delights in blessing his children and He has continually proven Himself kind and gracious in this area. The road ahead is still long, but I see so much growth.

So though this trip was exhausting in the way you would expect traveling with 4 kids to be exhausting, it was fairly easy and enjoyable. It was the first time Eva didn’t immediately start asking when we were going home the moment we arrived. In fact, she didn’t want to come home at the end of our stay! This is huge, as change in routine is typically very upsetting and confusing for her. She grows more and more comfortable, not just with our nuclear family, but with our extended family. Seeing this circle of trust grow is very encouraging.

On Friday my parents were at work so I walked down to the neighborhood playground with the kids for something fun to do. While they were playing I chatted with a few of the other moms and I had a really refreshing conversation with one of them that I thought I’d share here.

Having adopted kids of a different race automatically inspires questions. Typically people do one of three things. Most often, people don’t ask the questions. I can see the questions there in their eyes. Is this lady babysitting? Are these her kids? Where are they from? I wonder what it’s like. But they don’t escape their lips. Fear of offending, embarrassment, awkwardness. Whatever the reason, they simply smile at me and move on.

Sometimes people ask the polite questions. “Are they yours?” or “If you don’t mind my asking, are your kids adopted?” (Uh, they are African, soooo….). Occasionally I get the “What was THAT process like?” from these people. But they never delve into the personal questions. They are curious but don’t ask any of the burning questions.

But occasionally, rarely, I run into someone who asks the real  questions. The questions that I think many think but few ask. This person I love.

Side note: I have read several blog posts and articles by adoptive parents which list all of the appropriate and inappropriate questions to ask adoptive parents and to be perfectly honest I hate this. As though the burden is on those who know nothing about adoption to suddenly know what they should and should not ask. This is totally unfair in my opinion. Of course it would be rude to say something racist or demeaning. But to say that someone is not allowed to ask personal questions because it is offensive is elitist and ungenerous. Instead, I believe that adoptive parents also adopt the burden of explaining the heart of adoption to those who with no knowledge or experience. So I welcome questions, especially honest ones.

This mom I ran into at the park? She asked the real questions. Unapologetically. And I loved it. She asked why. She didn’t hide her surprise that someone would adopt two children the exact same ages as her biological children. Because, of course, it’s kind of crazy. I do not fault her for finding it crazy. She asked what it’s like. What is my life like?  It’s hard. It’s hectic. It’s exhausting. I gladly share this because I want people to see that it’s not about being awesome. It’s about the One who can equip us for every good work. She asked all kinds of other questions. Questions about learning to do hair (yikes. that is an entire blog post in and of itself). Questions about having four. Questions questions questions.

But the question I love most of all, one that I welcome, was this. “Do you feel the same way about them?” You guys, this is a real, good, honest, heartfelt question. It is not rude. It is the very question I asked myself over and over as we went through this process. How will I feel about them? It is so hard to imagine loving children who you have not borne in the same way that you do your own flesh and blood. This question I love because this is where the gospel pours in.

We Christians serve a God who has grafted us into his family (Romans 9). Again and again we are referred to as adopted sons. The heart of adoption is the heart of the gospel. God does not love us because we are His own flesh and blood. He does not love us because we are lovely. He loves us because He chooses to do so. Somehow it is part of His sovereign will to love the low, ugly, unlovely sinners of this world.

When we adopted these kids, God literally did a miracle in my heart and Josh’s and we had a whole new understanding of God as father. Make no mistake; neglected, abandoned orphans are not lovely. They are the unloved of this world. Our kids were malnourished, sick, dirty and poor. Eva had an ear infection that caused her ear to ooze. Titus’ belly was horribly distended. His nose ran constantly. Constantly. And he coughed all night every night. Eva’s head was shaved and she looked like a boy. Her teeth were rotted and her breath stank.

We love them because we chose to love them and make them our own. And it took time. In the beginning it felt strange. It didn’t come in the same way a love comes as you raise a child from birth and share every waking (and sleeping) moment with him/her. And, if you want the truth, it came more quickly for Josh than it did for me. He knew them 10 seconds and was head over heels in love with them. For me it was strange and scary and confusing and slowly became normal and easy and comfortable. But it did come. And in it we saw the gospel.

If you ask this question in your heart when you see adoptive families, “How do you feel about them?”, there is no shame in this question. It, to me, is the right question to ask. It’s the question that gets you to the real reason for adoption. That adoption is a reflection of our loving God. That Jesus came down and loved the unlovely, that this love is greater than we can imagine, and that adoption is in the heart of this great God whom we serve.