Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sunshine, daffodils, and happy dust, or lack thereof.


Sometimes when people find out that we adopted both our kids, they get this really sweet tone to their voice, and make some comment about how wonderful life must be now for the kids, and for us.  That everything must be magical and wonderful now.

But the truth is, while I'd like to say that it's been all sunshine, daffodils, and happy dust since we've adopted, that's just not true.  At all.  Quite honestly, there have been some tough parts.  Really tough parts.  Some days, I feel like I'm half mom, and half therapist.

And that can feel exhausting. 

It's easy to lose focus on why I do what I do, and what my calling is.

But I've been reflecting on Micah 6:8 lately:
He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
(NIV 1984)
In the middle of all the chaos around our house lately, this brought things back into focus.

Yesterday, I took the Angry Kid for a really long walk.  And even though we spent most of the time just walking and running, we also listened to music, and it brought up some sweet conversation.

We were listening to "This Love," which can be heard on this post, and we got to the bridge:
my heart has been redeemed,
adopted and now I know my Father
this grace that I’ve received
I want to show you I want to show you 
2nd chorus:
this love this love is the deep kind
it hangs on through the storm and the sunshine
I’ll hold your hand, be your biggest fan
and I’ll love you all of the time

We started talking about what that meant.  I explained (once again) that we love because Christ loves us.  God has redeemed Dave and I by his death on the cross.  He's adopted us into his family, and the grace we've received, we want to show to our kids.  The love that God has lavished on us, we want to pass on, starting with our kids.

"So," I tried to simplify, "It doesn't matter what you do.  Your behavior is not why you're part of our family.  You're a part of our family because God has called me to love you. He has called me to be your mom in the best way I know how."

I could tell he was listening, so I took it one step further.

"Really, then, it doesn't matter what you do.  My calling from God stays the same."

And then I went a step beyond that.

"But you have a calling from God too."

"I do?!" he replied.

"You do," I said. "You are also called to honor God, and a big way that you can do that is by honoring your mom and dad.  And your responsibility is to decide how you're going to answer that call."

"Wow.  I never thought about it that way."

Every one of those "a-ha!" moments warms my heart.

But really, even without those moments, my call is clear. I am to act justly and love mercy.  It seems that there are a whole lot of parenting ideals tied up in just those two alone.  I am to do the right thing, even when nobody else is looking and teach my kids to do the same, and I am to love kindness and teach that too.

And to walk humbly with my God - whew, that's a challenge.  That (to me) means not letting myself get wrapped up in getting "results" when I'm trying to help my kids.  It means not pursuing the sunshine and daffodil feelings, but instead keeping my eyes focused on the Son. It means remembering that God is in control, and I am not.

Even though is are, at times, a distinct lack of "happy dust" at our house, I am so incredibly thankful for our kids.  Life with them is not always rarely easy, but it is good.  They challenge me, they tire me, they make me laugh, and sometime cry - and I've drawn closer to God through the process.  I wouldn't trade them for the world.


  1. I rarely give advice because EVERYONE is so eager to give advice...but have you tried therapy with the boys? All three of my stepchildren have had extensive therapy (i.e. over 3+ years) and it really helped for them to have a separate person to trust and talk to and process their complex feelings. We've always used a trained play therapist because boys don't really like to sit and talk...but they're more apt to talk if they're DOING something...

    We've never actually used a Christian play therapist. In some ways, it seemed to complicate things even more. The therapists we've used have always been sensitive of our faith while focusing on the children's issues and processing through them. Lizzie's always been a fan of the school guidance counselor, too, and I think it was her comfort with therapy that made her willing to open up to the guidance counselor...because she didn't have a stigma about therapy and getting the support she needed. And, while it's important for you to be there for the boys, it gives you a break and gives them exposure to another person they can confide in and trust.

    Parenting is rough but acquiring children rather than birthing them is a whole different level of roughness. They've had a whole existence that's not been with you and not been your choosing for them.

    1. Hi Jen! Always good to hear from you! And you can always give advice - you certainly have the experience!!

      We actually do see a therapist, and we love, love, love her. She has been a key part of me holding on to my sanity more once. :)

      I agree - it's important to get support when needed, and I don't want them to have a stigma about getting it either. Our therapist is a believer, but is very good at the actual therapy part, as well as understanding our shared faith. We've found a mixture of play therapy and talk therapy, with family sessions thrown in for good measure, to be the best for us. :)

      Glad you chimed in!

    2. I'm so glad! A good therapist makes all the difference and there's so many emotions involved that having another person to help wade through is fabulous! :-) We finally stopped therapy a year or so ago...mostly because Lizzie (who was 10 at the time) was talking about how marginalized she was because she didn't have an iPod or a DS...how all the other kids have them and she wasn't fitting in at school because she didn't have them! We've explained to her how our family values conversation, spending time together, playing outside, etc. We rarely watch TV but I feel that's even better because it's "communal" and not something that has ear buds that allow you to be isolated from the world. Every time I think we should relax our "strict" technology rules (by worldly standards) I see another family out to eat with all the kids hooked up to devices rather than communicating and my moment of indecision vanishes. (We finally got Lizzie an iPod shuffle at Christmas with certain rules...and do you know how many times she's lost it for listening too loudly or in the car or when we're out as a family?!?!?!?!? I have it more than she does!)

      Anyway, we figured that if Lizzie had worked through enough of the divorce and custody suit junk that she was down to needing therapy about lacking an iPod that perhaps her therapy need was not so major! Not that she might not need to go back at some point, but how fabulous that she was complaining about "normal" preteen stuff!

      You are doing an incredible thing...the biggest mission field is the one you serve in your own home...though it's a lot less glamorous than being a missionary in another country! But then you've brought in two little boys who desperately needed a stable home with lots of patience and love and that is just incredible. It's easy to love an innocent baby, much more difficult to love a child with a history not of your own making.