You are working toward adoption with your foster son. How did you know he was yours?
At the risk of sounding un-romantic, this answer will probably disappoint you. If you’re picturing an open meadow with wildflowers waving gently in the breeze and my husband and I running in slow motion toward our son, with arms flung open and soft smiles across our faces, and dreamy looks in our eyes, then you’re picturing a scene from a movie, not real life.
When we began this process of fostering and maybe adopting, we trusted God (and ARE trusting God) to bring us children who needed homes both temporarily and permanently. We knew from the start that we would have children come and go, and that we would have children who would be able to call our home their forever home. So how do we know the difference?
Some of it comes down to practicality. That sounds harsh, but let me explain. One long weekend, we kept a newborn baby for five days. Fresh from the hospital! He was precious and perfect and we had so much fun caring for a newborn for the first time! Hashtag no sleep. But it was so worth it. He was sweet and wonderful and we knew that he would fit well within our family. He fit perfectly for five days. However, he would not have been able to go to daycare for five more weeks! There was no way I could have taken off work for five weeks! And we don’t have anyone close to us that could have babysat him for that long. We knew that the timing was wrong and he would have to move on to a family that could accommodate his needs better than we could. Had he been six weeks old and there had been space at our daycare? We would have kept him in a heartbeat!
But sometimes we jut know when a child is not meant to stay with us. So how do we know when one IS meant to stay? And even stay forever?
Really, I equate this with falling in love with my husband. When he first asked me out on a date, we were just friends and neither of us expected to get married. (Does anyone go on a first date and expect it to be their last first date?) During that first date, I was sure he’d never call again! Ha! But he asked me out for a second date before the first was even over! And I couldn’t wait to see him again! We spent more and more time together, we had the conversation (you know the one) where we decided that seeing other people was not something we were interested in, and, over time, we fell in love. It’s not something that happens all at once. It’s a mutual growing together and realizing that God uses that other person to make me a better person. It’s realizing that we fit so well together. It’s feeling that I’ve bonded to this person and I don’t want to be away from him. It’s knowing that if he weren’t a part of my life, I would have a huge void that could not be easily filled.
Y’all, I’m teary just thinking about that.
By the time Cody asked me to marry him, I had known for a long time what the answer would be. When you know, you just know.
So when a child comes in to our home and we form a bond with him or her, over time, we fall in love and there’s a deep connection. I didn’t make a place in my womb for that child but we made a place in our house and in our hearts. And when that child becomes available for adoption, we are the first ones in line saying, “We have loved this child. We WILL love this child.” Sometimes the Lord shows favor and we are chosen by the courts to adopt. We are so thankful to be where we are on this adventure.
In all honesty, there are children who come in to the home with whom we have little connection. There are some kids that we just don’t bond with. Don’t get me wrong. We love them and care for them, but for whatever reason (likely because they don’t spend months and months with us) we just don’t connect on the same level.
You know that guy that you went on a date with in college but you just didn’t feel the connection? You had fun and you enjoyed the conversation, but when you went back to your dorm room and he went back to his dorm room, there was nothing stirring in your heart? Maybe he didn’t ask you out on a second date?
Truthfully, that happens with kids sometimes, too. And that’s okay.
When you know, you just know.