Thursday, January 20, 2011

Forever Family

“Forever Family.” That’s a phrase I’ve seen frequently as I’ve been reading and gaining as much understanding about adoption as I can. Our adoption was finalized 30 days ago and we have, indeed, become a forever family--in more ways than I originally imagined.

In adopting our little “Punky,” we have pledged to be here for her through thick and thin, “as long as we both shall live.” At our adoption hearing, the judge asked my husband to leave the room while he asked me some questions. Then I had to leave the room while he asked my husband the same questions. I don’t remember the exact words he used, but the “jist” of it was, “Do you know what you’re getting into? Have you counted the cost? The long-range cost?”

If you would read any of my blog posts from a couple of years ago, you’d know I could answer a resounding YES! to that question. I’ve wrestled with God over this issue. I’ve even wrestled with myself over it. My emotions have swung from one extreme to the other. I’ve begged God for this adoption to be final, quickly and easily (picture God smiling and shaking His head over that one!) I’ve also begged Him to provide someone else—someone younger, more grounded and better equipped to raise this little girl. I’ve thought and journaled about all that I will lose if I commit the rest of my life to raising her (I will be an old woman by the time she’s an adult.) I’ve wept over the fear of being hurt again. Our parental hearts have been broken, devastated. What if we get hurt again?

After all that wrestling, journaling, weeping and praying, God impressed upon me that I have so much more to gain than I could ever lose, and that we are His choice as the ones to parent this precious little life. It’s been a joyful, yet sobering realization. The weight of this honor is heavy, but one that we can and must bear.

But our Forever Family means even more than that. Not only have we adopted our little one, she has adopted us. If you talk to her about Grandma and Grandpa, you had better not be referring to my husband and me! Despite my referring to myself as “Mamaw,” she began calling me “Mommy” very shortly after she came to live with us. And even though we referred to my husband as “Papaw,” within a few months, she began calling him “Daddy.” At first, it was uncomfortable, but now it feels so natural, it’s hard to imagine being Mamaw and Papaw again.

Not only have we and our little girl adopted each other, the same thing has happened with our extended family and friends. As I stated earlier, you had better not refer to us as Grandma & Grandpa, because our punkin’s grandma and grandpa (my husband’s parents) are her favorite people in the world! She also has lots of little cousins, aunts and uncles who have become incredibly attached to her. She fits so naturally into our family—she’s the youngest cousin, but only by 10 days!

Then there’s our church. We had a celebration last weekend and (even though it’s against the rules to run in God’s house,) it was an amazing joy to see her and her cousins and friends racing up and down the halls of our church. It was hard to maintain our composure as we saw three fourths of the congregation stand up to show their connection to and support of us. What a confidence boost for us to know that we are not alone in this endeavor. Our pastor did a beautiful job of acknowledging the difficult aspects of this adoption as well as the incredibly joyous ones, but more about that later.

I have more I want to share about our celebration weekend and I’m sure it will appear in this blog, but for now, there is laundry to be done, thank you notes to be written and a little munchkin to chase—naptime is over!

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I would love to hear from you! Let me know what you think and how I can pray for you. Most of us are carrying some pretty heavy baggage and the good news is, you don't have to carry it alone! You can lay it at the feet of Jesus, and sometimes we need help just letting go of our baggage and not picking it up again. We're in this together!