8 years ago today a 17 year old man child said he wanted to move into our home and become our son. We met him 2 days prior and he found out about us the day before that. He had all the odds against him and yet he had so much faith that a family could be out there for him. What courage that took after living through trauma from civil wars, refugee camps, immigration, the separation from family into foster care and then living in foster care. I don’t know if I would have had such courage. The sheer determination and hope that there still could be a family out there for him speaks of his tenacity at life. His bravery.
8 years ago today we said yes to parenting a teenager. We had no experience, good training but such a small amount considering, and dove head first into the water ready to embrace what came our way. We expected nothing and everything, the good and the bad. Yet it was nothing like we thought it would be. It was so much more than I could have ever imagined. Becoming a parent is like that. Somehow your heart stretches and grows in an instant. When you look at that child in the eyes, you have the ability to become a puddle of tears and a fierce mama bear simultaneously. It is something God creates in us mothers. We are protectors, encouragers, cheerleaders, supporters, weight bearers, mentors and more. Being a mom is a gift and a burden, but one I gladly and desperately wanted to do.
8 years ago a quiet child on the verge of adulthood stepped foot into our house and was gifted a room all to himself and a home to be a child in. He had the chance to safely grow up, however long that took. He chose to be part of a family. My world has never been the same. I have learned so much about love through him. He has taught me what love through tears looks like. I learned more about loving people no matter what they look like, talk like, sound like or act like. I learned that every person is someone else’s child and deserving of immense love. I learned how to laugh really hard and cry at the same time. I learned that being a mom is also being a friend.
8 years ago today my life changed for the better. Not only did I become a mom but I said yes to whatever that meant for that specific moment in time and for the years to come. For all the afternoons we spent pouring over books so he could learn to read. All of the evenings we spent learning history and rules and laws so he could become a citizen. For the many hours I spent (and still spend) on my knees thanking God for this son, praying for God to protect him and for him to trust in God.
8 years later even though he’s 25, my heart still breaks when things go wrong for him and beams when things go right. He’s a grown man to most and still my child at heart. He missed out on so many of the things normal children get to do. He missed out on growing up with grandparents and a strong support system around him, making him naturally rely on himself first. He has callused hands from working tirelessly because he would hate for anyone to have to do something he feels like he should be able to do himself. He has a strong heart because he’s put layers of protective walls around it after falling under tragic circumstances time and time again. Yet he is the first one to try and help the helpless. He recognizes the needy before anyone else even turns a head. He hears the brokenness in a person’s voice or face when others don’t even notice. He gives when he has nothing. He loves even though he has been wronged and scared and bruised repeatedly. He deserves the world even when the world has thrown the worst at him time and time again.
|Photo by: Arianne Ball Photography|
8 years later and I am still learning from my first born and adopted son. Today I do not get to spend with him for reasons that are out of both of our control and I still cannot get him off my mind. I wish he were here to help me cook dinner as we try and decide what spices to add because neither of us like plain, ordinary food. I wish he was here to sit beside me on the sofa so we could look at pictures from when he moved in and was all skin and bones. I wish he was here to tell me to remember the fact that he doesn’t like sweets or dessert after dinner and then eat what I made him because he has a tiny sweet tooth every now and then he thinks I don't notice. I wish I could hear him ragging on his brothers for a mess they made or put them in their place when they boast about something in his presence or bring all of them to the ground when they wrestle him or watch him read a book to his brother 23 years younger than him. My 17 year old son now towers above me but still has that quiet and soft spirit, full of love for others around him and hope for the future. I am so glad he chose me to be his mama. Not a day goes by I am not grateful he said yes. Happy Gotcha Day my first born son. You are forever mine and I am forever yours.