Sunday, April 21, 2013


What can a child expect from a parent?  Food.  Shelter.  Clothing.  Perhaps most basic of all:  love.  Why do parents love their children?  Simply because of the titles “child” and “parent?”  Flesh and blood bonds?  Because a child is so cute and perfect and helpless when they first arrive in this world?  This morning I read something that resonated with me.  “The deep love that binds parents to their children is forged by service to them through their period of total dependence.”

So how does a parent forge that love when their child comes to them long after the period of total dependence is over?  How does one welcome a 9-year-old or a 12-year-old into their home and instantly love them?  Can it be done?  How? I am sure that the answer is different for virtually every adoptive parent.  Some parents are more patient than others.  Some may have a greater capacity to love.  Some parents have an innate ability to see past difficult habits and behavior patterns a child may have developed and see right into the heart of the child. 

For me, I look at this journey as having two distinct parts.  First of all, I recognize that I have a duty, an obligation to love my children.  I’ve talked to enough dads that I know I’m not alone in this.  When our first biological child came along, I most certainly loved him.  Taylor was beautiful and precious, a gift from heaven.  But he was also smelly, cranky and an awful sleeper.  After a couple of months, I realized that my bond with him was less than I had hoped a father-son bond would be.  I loved him as a son, but the deep, meaningful relationship that Christi seemed to have with him just wasn’t there for me.  I felt kind of like a failure, and here I was just a few months into this whole parenthood thing. 

But I persevered.  Christi was patient with both of us.  I tried to do my duty and serve our little Taylor.  And then something happened.  He started to recognize me.  He got excited when I came home from work.  We could play one-year-old games together.  He began to talk.  I could make him laugh.  Suddenly, part two of the journey began to fall into place.  Part two is simple: time.  Time with another human being allows a deeper, richer relationship to develop.  Time allows mutual understanding to occur.  Time gives opportunities to serve, to help, to coach.  I’ll never forget something my brother Matt said when he came to visit us in our home in Spanish Fork.  He and Carla brought their only child at the time, a three-month-old son, with them.  Matt saw me playing with Taylor and made the comment:  “Oh.  I see you got the interactive model.”  Matt’s dry humor is something I’ve always enjoyed:).

I had a beautiful moment with Graci yesterday, and she had no idea it even happened.  When we first got Graci, I loved her.  I was grateful for the opportunity to bring this precious little spirit into our lives.  But I quickly realized that although she was about the same age as Taylor and Parker, I didn’t and couldn’t have the same relationship with her that I had with them.  While I could fully love her as my daughter, I had not had the chance to spend the time with her that I had with the boys.  It was impossible for an adoption certificate to recreate hours and hours and years and years of parks and parties, lectures and lessons, cuddles and comforts.  An adoption certificate simply can’t replace nine years of life lived together.

Yesterday morning as we were reading scriptures, I was sitting next to Grace.  She’s not big into hugs and such, but I put my arm around her and pulled her close to me.  She stayed cuddled up next to me.  As I sat there, I suddenly realized that the time barrier was gone.  We had spent enough time and gone through enough life experiences together that, for me at least, we could round up to a “lifetime” of being family.  It was a beautiful realization.  I’m so glad we get to spend the rest of our lifetimes together.



  1. Ok that was really beautiful. Yours are some truly blessed kids! What a great dad.

  2. Morning guys - nice retro on the last adoption trip - love seeing that and floods me with great memories!

    Now Jer - I get this whole bonding thing too. I'm wondering if a part of it isn't really just one of the many (and God Ordained and Blessed) differences between men and women too. It takes me time to develop that report with our kids too....

    But then again - maybe it's the amount of "investment" that we have to make to "get" to that place in our relationship with our kids that makes the place all the sweeter!

    Love it - and love you guys - hugs around -

    aus and co.

  3. You expressed that so beautifully! Thank you for the insight.