I have the Brady Bunch theme song in my head. Except in my version it goes something like this,
"Here's a story, of a man named Tony, who was married to a wife named Katie and bringing up a huge passel of kids and didn't have a maid named Alice..."
Doesn't really rhyme at all but nonetheless, there it is. Rhymeless. Uneven rhythm. It's a train-wreck of a song. Guess I have no future in the theme song business. And somehow I doubt The Brady Bunch would have been as popular if it were really about the realities of our house anyway. Our house is chaos, flawed people, and fears. But our house is also resting in the peace of God, being healed by the Holy Spirit kind of a place. No Snooki or Khardasian dazzle here.
Aside from the obvious bad lyrics, my song kinda seems to mirror life. Not my life, but LIFE. Things can feel out of sync, rolling along smoothly one minute, road bumps the next, smack into a wall the next!
We pray for things and often when we get them, they don't quite look like the picture we had in our heads. A friend said to me today, "I've been praying for a miracle but I didn't think it would be like this. I keep asking God, is this my miracle?"
I wanted a child but could not get pregnant. Then God first brought us the miracle of 6 week old Alyssa as a daughter for a season but a child of my heart for a lifetime. This definitely was NOT part of my plan: to fall in love with a precious child then watch her go and go somewhere unsafe, scary, life threatening. She turned 15 just the other day, yet in my heart she's still 6 months old, smelling of baby lotion.
In the midst of my heart ache, He placed the miracle of Gabby, one of the absolute loves of my life! This vibrant, lively woman-child amazes me with her perception, maturity, and beauty. One day she was 1. I blinked and she's on the brink of adulthood.
For many years after that I yearned for not just a child but a BIG FAMILY. But the messiness of life kept us putting off adoption again. Suddenly God brought the miraculous possibility of Will, Lydia, and Madi into our lives. It all came from a chance conversation. I thought Tony would say no but instead he said, "I think God has brought these kids for us for this time." And after a year of forms, medical checks, background checks, waiting and waiting...they joined our family in April of 2010. This October marks 3 years since a judge made it official.
God has used the 3 little miracles to peel back the layers of our own hearts, to reveal our own selfish desires. As amazing as some people mistakenly think I am, I am one of the most selfish people I know. Because I live in my own heart and mind, I hear my thoughts, desires. And they are for my own comfort.
God has also used them to show us the depths of His love for us when Lydia says, "Mommy, I love you SOOO much! You are my best mommy!" When, after I lose my temper, Will still desires my love, affection, and rushes to forgive me. How Madi always stands in defiance in time out for a few minutes then slowly wilts and I hear a quiet, "I'm sorry mommy. Can I have a hug?"
Despite my being a hugely flawed parent, my children still desire my approval, my love, my attention. WOW! Glad they don't give up on me! Glad God doesn't either!
There have been hard days that brought many tears and begging prayers. There have also been amazing moments that brought tears to my eyes and prayers of thanksgiving to my lips. But it's been 3 1/2 years of growing as a family.
So that brings me to our new miracle. We've often felt that God was calling us to adopt again. Not an imminent pressing but just a tug for "one day". As time has passed this year, the tug became more pressing and those conversations started. You know the ones. Tentative. What ifs. Could we? Maybe we could. Will needs a brother. What about medically fragile babies?
Let me clarify something before I continue with my story. This is our story. I believe God has commanded ALL of us to care for the widows and orphans. But that looks different in EVERY family. In ours, it looks like adoption. In another it might look like serving at a homeless shelter or doing foster care. Still others may take dinner to a foster family or do yard work for a widow. It looks like what God places on your family to do to serve.
What our family is doing doesn't make us any better than anyone else. It also doesn't elevate us closer to heaven! We are so far from angels or saints, if you saw me before my first cup of coffee you'd KNOW! This is the burden that God has placed on our hearts and in our lives. Not burden as in something I hate to do, but a burden that I cannot stand that innocent children suffer and there is no one that scoops them up to love them. In my mind I hear, "if not us, then who?"
That doesn't make it our goal to rescue every child in the world but it is our goal to spread the word of the need; to ignite a spark in others to act. What can you do for those who suffer? How can you help a lonely child, a homeless child, a fatherless child? If not you, then who?
God has also given me the children in my home and heart to love, cherish, nourish, and pray over. And He gives me desire. Desire to love them well. Desire to overcome my selfishness to give to them what I can and trust Him for the rest. Only you know what burden He has given you.
On with the story...
As we considered adopting again, thoughts and challenges swirled. How would we....endless list. A phone call in July to update our homestudy yielded the response, "well, you really want one too young. Let us talk about it." No more words. Time passed.
A week ago I received an email from our agency. "Would I be willing to reach out to this family? They were first time parents and were adopting 3 children. They've had them a week." So I did. They were struggling badly. We connected in the struggle. I had lived their reality. The beginning is so overwhelming.
4 days later I received a call I thought had to be a mistake. The family had decided they couldn't adopt the kids. They just were drowning in needs they had not expected, a situation that wasn't what they'd envisioned. Hard stuff.
On the phone I heard, "Would you guys be willing to take these kids? They aren't completely free to adopt but they will be in a few months. Would you consider making them part of your family?"
My gut said YES! These babies are my babies. They have suffered enough and will suffer more when this disrupts. My mouth wisely said, "Let me check with my husband because he said we don't have room for more than 2."
So in true chicken fashion...I texted him. ;)
"They called. The adoption agency just called."
"They want us to take 3 kids, ages 5,6,7."
No reply. He walked in the door soon after, and with all calmness said, "That's nuts! 3 kids! NO!" I simply nodded. OK. 5 minutes later, "I mean we wouldn't even all fit in the car!"
I prayed for wisdom and to be OK if this wasn't His plan for us.
A few minutes later Tony said, "If we did that, where would we put everybody?" After a few more of those comments he said, "I think we should just pray about it!"
The next morning he began saying things like, "Well, I guess we could just take 2 cars until we get a bigger van. How would we do bedrooms? Do you think we could do this?" The funny thing is, as he became more comfortable with the idea, I became more nervous. I began to see all the challenges. The doubts. But I also became more certain in my heart that God was calling us to take one day at a time in faith to do this.
On Sunday morning, as I sat in church listening to Laura Story's new song, I felt the tears flow. I felt both of us just relaxing, knowing we were going to now be the parents of 7 children; But also knowing that God was calling us to this so He would walk by our side. Day by day, step by step.
We don't know much about them yet. Questions swirl in my head as I think of them.
How long will it be before we can meet?
Are they afraid of the dark?
Do they know they are unwanted?
Do they know they are wanted?
Do they know hunger or physical abuse?
Have they seen crime or domestic violence?
Do they feel loved?
Do they know they ARE loved?
Has anyone ever read a book with them in their lap?
Kissed them good night and tickled them under the chin?
Counted the freckles on their nose and told them that they were sweet because of all those brown sugar spots?
Do they know they are wanted, desired, precious?
There will still be hard days that make me want to cry. There will be beautiful moments that will bring me to tears.
But my children have more reason to cry than I could ever dream of. Two weeks ago, they came to a strange place without a single toy, stuffed animal, or change of clothes to call their own. "Here is your new mommy and daddy." And in a few days they will leave that place.
I ache for them not feeling they belong anywhere, to anyone.
The hard part is that these children are still going through the courts. They are not legally free. There is no guarantee they will be ours for life, but there is a strong likelihood. But we still have to face the fact that they could just be ours for this season. It will be 6 months, most likely, before we know for certain. If they are ours just for a season, they will remain in our hearts forever.
**Due to this, we won't be posting pics of them on FB or any other social media. That has to wait until they are legally ours. We will not post their names on my blog or FB but promise, once they are a Gonzalez, they will be everywhere! And you will hear every funny thing they ever say! :)
So that's where things stand. They will be coming to live with us as soon as paperwork, background checks, etc can be updated. Probably in the next week or two. We are, of course, in a bit of whirlwind to get our house re-organized so if you're bored anytime in the next little while, let us know. I'm sure we can put you to work. ;)