As I've had the opportunity to slow down with the family on vacation this week, I've had intentional time to really focus on and observe the kids. Several key things have stood out to me with all three of our adopted kids. The biggest realization is seeing how tightly our kids have been weaved into the fabric of our family. I remember last year while we were here in Jacksonville on vacation and there were still hard moments...but now...one year later, and I am amazed at the progress our family has made.
I am sure many would wonder, why would we adopt again? Why, when our hands are full and our budget is tight would we make our hands fuller or our budget tighter? But this..this is why. As we were at the beach Friday, I watched two of my girls walking hand in hand...Shelton and Zoe, big sister and little sister. I watched the little girls jumping waves together, again, holding hands. Brie trying to stabilize Zoe with her weak Cerebral Palsy legs. Arm and arm...hand in hand..sisters through and through. Yesterday, riding in the car, I listened to Caleb and Eli teasing back and forth. Caleb was teasing Eli about some of his early days home. They were joking and bantering as brothers do....as if they'd always been together. Then last night, I watched Mei fall asleep. He's sleeping on a blow up mattress in our room while we are on vacation. He gave me a hug and kiss, went and cuddled up in his bed, and was asleep in under five minutes. When Mei came home, he rubbed his little legs and arms up and down, up and down against his sheets while he gently rocked himself back and forth. He awoke with night terrors more often than not. His ability to fall asleep now in under five minutes is completely because he is secure, he is loved, he is cherished, and he knows when he wakes up his mom and dad will still be there.
These moments were gentle reminders to me that NO child deserves to go to bed hungry or cold. No child deserves to have to endure abuse at the hands of someone they should trust. No child should have to cry themselves to sleep every night because they long for the one thing most children can take for granted, a mom and dad, brothers and sisters. No child should have to rock themselves back and forth in a crib and self soothe because there is no mom or dad to do the rocking, the holding, the cuddling, the touching. There are almost one million orphans in China and the number of international adoptions is declining. Almost all of these orphans are special needs. Every child deserves the opportunity to have a family, regardless of their special needs, to have their potential developed and their medical needs met.
So why would we do it again? this is why...Even when this season of back to school shopping with seven kids is overwhelming and vacation means a free stay at someone else's house, and even when Christmas causes minor panic attacks, and even when life is hard and busy and chaotic with seven kids. We know that God is in the redemption business and he is redeeming the years that the " locusts have destroyed." And most importantly we know God has called us, our family, to adoption....not because we are special..we are not. We've had a front row seat to his redemption story in our kids lives and if He desires to use our family one more time to redeem another little life then it is worth all the sacrifice, the expense, the hard moments and the sleepless nights to experience the beautiful moments, kids learning to love, to trust, to know the security of family and the hope of a future.