Have you ever sat back and asked yourself, “What if?” As an adoptive parent, I have asked this question many times. “What if we had said no, where would our daughter be?” “What if we had had our son first, would we have said yes to our daughter?” How different our life would be, if the “what ifs” really were what had been.
I remember sitting in a courtroom listening to the state make their case to terminate parental rights. It was heartbreaking. They do such a good job of making it seem like this child’s parents don’t want her…that if they did, they have done, X, Y, Z. I remember thinking, “I want her. I have always wanted her.” And I thought, how blessed she was to have someone in her life to say those words, “I love you, I want you, and I have always wanted you. You were the answer to years of tearful prayers and petitions to God.”
I wondered how many children were living this same reality, and there is no one to say, “I love you. I want you.” There is no one to rescue them from their reality. My heart broke.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
Perhaps this is not a fair representation of how it really is. After all, my daughter’s birth mother really did want to keep her, but she couldn’t. The circumstances that transpired left her with the option to relinquish her parental rights, or her rights would be terminated. She had to make the most difficult decision of her life, to give up her child, so that her child could be loved and cared for by family that she trusted to care for her baby. I cannot imagine being in her shoes.
For the longest time, I was angry with my daughter’s birth parents. Why did they choose drugs over their child? Why did they behave so irresponsibly? Why should this child be forced to live with the consequences of their actions? I was angry. But then I realized, that it was for this very reason that my daughter came to us, and became ours. We all had to live in this reality, to deal with the situation as a family, and collectively do what was best for our daughter.
I don’t understand why we have to endure hardship in order to receive blessing. Perhaps, the blessing is the manifestation of Isaiah 61:3, “to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”
My daughter will grow up in a loving home, knowing that she is wanted, loved, cared for, safe, protected, prayed over, and that her family would not let her get lost in the system. This leaves me to wonder, what if?
What if the answer to the question, what if…is you.
What if every child grew up in loving home, cared for, clothed, fed, encouraged to be who they were created to be? What if every child grew up knowing they were wanted, fought for, and cherished for they are, faults and all? What if we stopped fighting over the little things, like public opinion, or who the best sports team is and focused on our children? After all, they ultimately decide our future.
Every year 40,000 children become adults without ever knowing the love and security of a forever home. They are launched into the world without the benefit of bring trained, prepared, nurtured and protected by someone who loves them unconditionally. The ones they could have called mom or dad, are no longer there, and their future is decided by someone else. Their life, their residence, their future, was decided for them, and now, they are alone. What will happen to these children who would become adults? Children who move from home to home, never to be adopted, never to have a family they could call their own? What if the answer to the question, what if…is you.
The greatest gift and the greatest responsibility that God has given us, is our children. They are a blessing that we have been entrusted with. Consider the parable of the talents and servant who buried his talent, instead of growing it and multiplying it. The servant who buried his talent, eventually had it taken away from him and given to one of the other servants.
That is the sum of my prayers for my family- that I will be a good mom- that I will help them, not hinder them.
Now imagine, your child is the treasure that you have been entrusted with. Are you growing it, nurturing it, and helping him become the man that God created Him to be? Or are your burying him, holding him back, not investing in what could be? If you are not, ask yourself, what if you did?
I found that when my children are the most difficult, it is because they simply want me. They want me to love them, to give them my attention, my affection, my love, my assurance that they are ok, that we are ok. I will be honest, being a parent is hard…and I am not a parenting expert. I pray daily to become a better wife and mother, to love my children the way that they need to be loved, to help guide them, and not hinder them, to lead them, to be a better example of Christ’s love, that my husband and I would raise them to be the men and woman that they were created to be – to love God, to serve Him and to tell others about Him. That may seem like a lot, but that is my heart. That is the sum of my prayers for my family. That I will be a good mom, and I will help them, not hinder them.
There are so many times that I feel, inadequate, that I am not equipped, that I am not enough for them. I wrestle with the call to be a mother, and the need to work outside of the home. But the Lord is so faithful to remind me, that I am enough. I don’t have to be everything. He hears my prayers, and He is everything that I need, and that by simply surrendering to Him, He will do the work. I am enough, because He is more than enough, and He is all I need.