Thursday, December 10, 2009

Do You Know What I Know

This post has been weighing on my mind for awhile now. I thought about it every day in November, because it was National Adoption Month. I knew that there was a post needing to be written-- I knew who was wanting me to write it. I felt Him encourage me to do so, but I felt so lost every time I sat down. I do not consider myself a writer. My heart can feel so deeply and it wants to let people in, but I cannot find the words to match the feelings.

Then I heard this song, arranged by Paul Cardall (one of my favorites!) Go ahead, turn up the volume and enjoy it-- it is beautiful.

I know the title is “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

But as I first listened to this arrangement a few days ago, the phrase that went over and over in my head was “Do You Know What I Know?”

I had the most powerful feeling sweep over me, and knew once again that there were words needing to be written. It may not be for you, but it is for someone.

Do you know what I know?

Do you know that there are roughly 150 million orphans in the world. 150,000,000. One hundred fifty million. It is overwhelming no matter how it is written.

Do you know that these are not just nameless, imaginary children? Because I think that’s what I once thought. It was easier to just somehow think that they weren’t real. That those pictures I looked at on adoption websites were somehow pictures of children who really did have homes. I think, even up until the day we first held Elli in our arms, I almost expected it not to be real. That this little file I had reviewed was not actually a child without a parent to tuck her in at night.

Do you know that right now, right this very instant, there are thousands of photolistings of children who will not have Santa visit them this year?

Do you know that even if “someone else” adopts them, that there will always be others.

Do you know that EVERY time we have adopted, we have wrestled with many of the same questions and concerns you may be thinking of right now?

How will we come up with the money?

What will it mean to the children we already have?

How in the world will I meet the needs of everyone entrusted to my care?

How will I know if it’s right for our family?

Wouldn’t a mother with less on her plate be a better fit for this child?

How can I adopt a child who I cannot even communicate with?

Can I love another child as much as I love the ones I now have?

How can I consider special needs I know NOTHING about?

How can we fit another child in our home?

The short answer to all of these questions is the same. And it has everything to do with God. A God who has billions of children, yet knows each of them perfectly, loves each of them perfectly, and meets each of their needs perfectly. It is about a God who so desperately wants each of His children to know the love of a mother and a father. It is about a God who, if can move mountains, can surely show you how to make adoption work, if it is His will.

Then there are the long answers.

How will we come up with the money?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t really know anybody who has thousands and thousands of dollars to spare. I don’t know anyone who can adopt without sacrificing financially. I DO know that there are dear, dear families who make much less than we do and find a way to make it work. I do know that there is an $11,000 + tax credit to be used toward adoption expenses. I do know that some companies (thankfully ours is one) subsidize adoption. I do know that there are many grants available for families in need, and I know how to help you find them. I do know that yard sales and bake sales and pizza sales are all common ways that families raise money to bring a child home. And I do know that HE knows your situation. And, like I mentioned, HE can move mountains. (By the way, we are trying to move mountains for one very special, beautiful family who so desires to adopt and is struggling with the financing. If adoption is something you can't consider, maybe you can help us help them!!!)

What will it mean to the children we already have?
Well, it can mean lots of things. It can mean sacrifice and sharing an already shared room. It can mean spending two weeks away from your parents as they travel to pick up a new brother or sister who may or may not be scared, ornery, unwilling to share, and who very well might monopolize your parent’s time. For awhile. It can also mean pure, unequivocal joy. It can mean learning gratitude and charity and Christlike love. It can mean that a six-year-old little girl will learn to pray EVERY day for miracles for her blind sister. It can mean that a ten-year-old boy will tell you he has never felt the Savior’s love so strongly in his life as when he watched his new brother get sealed to him. It can mean an eleven-year-old girl has someone to speak her native language with, someone who looks like her and who she adores. It can mean a nine-year-old son will become the most sensitive, caring soul you have known as he watches over his adopted siblings. And I can tell you that it WILL mean that these children will have an abundance of blessings. Their sacrifices will not go unnoticed by the One who numbers each and every sparrow.

How in the world will I meet all the needs of those entrusted to my care?
I have no idea. I was overwhelmed with one child. I was overwhelmed with two. I am overwhelmed with six. I have never felt “on top” of all my responsibilities. I do not have a perfectly clean house. I rarely cook gourmet meals. I often go to bed and think “Ah, I wish I would have spent more time with so-and-so.” My kids are often fed cereal for dinner. In otherwords, I am very normal. I am like most mothers with 3 children or 8 children or 1 child. It is impossible to meet everyone’s needs perfectly. But I have six VERY LOVED children.

How will I know it’s right for my family?
Ah, the million dollar question!! I will say that I do know that adoption is not right for everyone. I do feel strongly, however, that it is right for more people than actually adopt. It isn’t just for those who struggle with infertility. It isn’t just for those who make a lot of money. It isn’t just for those who feel a gaping hole in their family. It is often for busy, full families like ours! It may be for you!! How will you know? Well, we are taught that every good thing comes from Christ. I don’t know of many things more “good” than bringing an orphan into a loving family and teaching that child the gospel of Jesus Christ. So adoption is good. Is it good for your family? You’ll just have to get on your knees and ask! (;

Wouldn’t a mother with less on her plate be better for this child?
I must say that I have wondered many times if Elli would have developed more quickly and fully in a home with a mother who had less children and more time. I have wondered many times if Graci would have felt more special as an only child. I have wondered if I am doing enough to meet the medical needs of Xander. I have not wondered if they would have been more loved somewhere else.

How can I adopt a child who I cannot even communicate with?
Xander used the word “actually” two times today, within five minutes, and used it correctly. He’s been home less than four months. Enough said. (:

Can I love another child as much as I love the ones I now have?
I have a story I used to tell Taylor, about when I found out I was pregnant with Parker. I told him how I was so very worried that I could never love my new little baby as much as I loved Taylor and how I was worried that the new baby would take up some of my love for Taylor. Then, how I miraculously loved that baby so completely and SOMEHOW loved Taylor even more than I had before. I told him how it happened again with Jessica, and how my love for each child grew with the addition of another. I didn’t know how much he had taken this to heart until a few days before I left to get Xander. Taylor came up to me with the sweetest smile and a hug and said, “Mom, are you so excited?? In just a few days you are going to love me even more than you love me now!” He knows the truth of parenthood. That a parent can love a new child perfectly, and somehow finds that his love for his existing children grows. Maybe that’s how our Father in Heaven loves each of us so much!! And yes, adopted children are every bit as worthy of that love as biological.

How can I consider special needs I know NOTHING about?
I still cannot explain Graci’s heart condition, nor pronounce Xander’s syndrome. In college I studied sign language, not Braille. I guess it’s the same as any parent who has a child born to them with special needs. You learn as you go. You ask lots of questions. You rely on the expertise of those around you. You google a lot. You realize that the Lord knows in detail the special needs of your child and you take a deep breath and enjoy the ride.

How can we fit another child in our home?
Well, we have three boys in one small bedroom. Two of them love it. One of them accepts it. (: We would love a bigger home and I’m secretly (or maybe not so secretly) crossing my fingers that we get one. But ours works. Yours may too. (;

I am not na├»ve. I know that there are many concerns I didn’t address. I know that there are some pretty major ones, like marital issues. And some pretty minor ones, like the mountains of paperwork. I know that adoption will quite likely be the hardest thing you will ever do. I know it will bring unique challenges to each family that embraces it.

I also know that when adoption was placed on our hearts for the third time, we were in the middle of one of the hardest times in our lives. I had NO IDEA how it could possibly be a good thing for us. I was terrified. But every time I looked at little Dang Xu Chu’s picture, I just knew. I knew that we had to take that HUGE step in the dark-- for him. A child of God. A sweet, four-year-old boy whose file said he wanted a mommy and daddy and a brother and a sister. And I know that from the day we took that leap of faith, a spirit of peace entered our home. Our problems did not go away. It was so much like the saying—“Sometimes the Lord calms the storm. And sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child.”

He has been with us. Every step of the way.

And two weeks ago, as we entered the Oquirrh Mountain Temple to have our sweet, perfect little son sealed to us for all eternity, He was there. I believe everyone in the room felt His presence. I know our children did. I know Xander did. He could not understand what was going on and yet he could. His smile did not stop. And as our children gathered around us, dressed in all white, I had a glimpse of heaven. I am still riding high from it. I knew that so little matters when compared with the joys of having an eternal family. So little matters when there are others out there waiting for their own.

Do you know what I know?

Now you do!(:

PS I am usually a private person. I blog so my children can have a record of our family life and have insight into my heart. I don't write so strangers can read my posts, BUT if this post is something you feel to share with your readers, absolutely feel free to put a link to it. After all, I am determined to reach that "someone" out there who is waiting to read it!!! (:

If you want to contact me directly with questions about adoption, my email is