The adorable baby pictured here is David, our child #3 and son #2. Today, at 19, he no longer fits in a laundry basket. He has successfully transitioned from the safety net of home education to taking a 21 credit hour load each semester at our local junior college. David is excelling in school, and is a witness for Christ in his classes and in his role as a volunteer firefighter. He's always ready to laugh and adds a wonderful dimension to our family. I can't even imagine life without him.
It seems like only a very few years ago we received a morning call from our adoption agency asking if Syd could come home so they could do our home study TODAY. It had only been 5 weeks since we had contacted them asking if we could be considered as potential adoptive parents. Those five weeks were a whirlwind of paperwork, meetings, more paperwork, interviews, etc.
The agency director, dear Miss Teri Blanton, arrived early in the afternoon, with a very wet behind the ears intern in tow. We sat in the living room having a cheery conversation while Rachel (5) and Nathan (3) played nicely. I'll never forget the look on the intern's face when Rachel pulled out Eric Carle's The Very Quiet Cricket and proceeded to "read" it to Nathan.
"'Good morning,' said the spittlebug, slurping in a sea of froth," Rachel intoned in her sweet little five-year old voice.
The intern thought Rachel was a genius and I was a wonder mother. In her mind, we had passed the home visit test with flying colors. After wrapping up the formalities, Teri looked at her watch and announced, "Well, we better get going. We have a plane to catch. We are flying to Lubbock to pick up your new baby. He was born this morning."
Shock! Disbelief! Could this possibly be happening so quickly? After trying to get pregnant for 7 years, waiting and waiting for the adoptions of our first two children, we could not believe that the wheels of the adoption machine could ever turn so quickly. But it was, and our precious, precocious, delightful David was coming to join our family.
Today, that precious baby is a 6' 1"almost-man". He has traded soft-as-silk cheeks for scruffy whiskers and sweet, cooing sounds for a deep voice. He towers over me, and I am thankful he is a cooperative fellow, because I don't think I could really make him do anything. He brings his signature brand of laughter and joy to this family. And, while his older sister, Rachel, started our family on the adoption journey, David moved us to new horizons. With David, our family branched out of our 2-parent, 2-children who "look just like their daddy" comfort zone into the life of a multi-racial, large family that garners second looks wherever we go.
It's been quite a ride -- this parenting journey. Most days, I look around the dinner table, and I am in awe at the ways God has blessed us. He's provided for our every need and many of our wants. We have experienced so much joy. But there are other days when the weariness makes my heart ache -- when I feel like I cannot bear another hateful comment, I can't negotiate another peace treaty between siblings, I can't face another day of so many people needing me. I just want to be normal -- whatever that is.
The reality is that it's in the "I-can't-hang-on-another-minute" days that God works on my heart and conforms me into His image. After all, Jesus certainly had more than His share of hateful comments, arguing apostles, and people constantly needing Him. In those times, He made the effort to get alone with His Father and commune with Him. If it was so important for the sinless Savior to have time with the Father, then it is doubly important for me to do the same.
As we travel on our journey, my prayer is that our lives will bring glory and honor to the One who created us. It's not about us and what a great family we are. It's all about Him and what a merciful and loving Father He is to us. He sustains us and gives us strength to go one living day by day, firmly entrenched in His love and grace. To Him be all the glory -- forever and ever.