Monday, February 22, 2010

When Love Takes You In

She spins and she sways to whatever song plays, without a care in the world…

My children, Mary Susannah and Max, had convinced me to take them to a Steven Curtis Chapman concert, even though I wasn’t crazy about the concert world. It wasn’t a hard job for them, because I was feeling very connected and sorry for Steven Curtis Chapman. As an adoptive father, he had started a foundation to help fund adoptions, and as an adoptive mother, I had heard of him. His wife had written a book I had bought for Mary Susannah. This concert was also a fundraiser for a crisis pregnancy center and I had always been prolife.
And lastly, only a short time before, his little five year old daughter, adopted from China, had been run over and killed in his own driveway. As a mother of a large family, my heart just bled for him. I could hardly imagine a worse thing happening. I wanted to go, just to show my support for all these things.
I was teary as soon as he appeared on stage and began talking about the things he had been through lately. Then, at the half way point, he told us in the days just after his daughter’s death, he felt like he could never sing his song that had recently reached the top of the charts, “Cinderella”. But that he knew that if he really meant the words to the songs he sang, if he really trusted God, then he would have to continue to sing this song.

So I will dance with Cinderella while she is here in my arms. Cause I know something the prince never knew. Oh I will dance with Cinderella, I don’t want to miss even one song Cause all too soon, the clock will strike midnight and she’ll be gone…

Such haunting, and almost prophetic words. The tears flowed down my cheeks as this brave man sang this song.
But there was another thing that made me cry as he sang.
Only a couple of months before he lost his little daughter, I had also lost a little daughter, a foster child that I loved dearly.
Now foster parents know that the children they keep have a very good chance of being returned, and we are supposed to guard our hearts. But that’s like asking us to quite breathing for a while. You can’t do that. You can’t care for a child in a mommy capacity, and not love the child who clings to you and trusts you during the hardest time of their lives. So I had loved MiMi, knowing her family was working towards reuniting with her, and twenty months later, when she was 26 months old, she was taken from my foster home and place with her great aunt in another state. My clock had struck midnight, not like Steve Curtis Chapman’s did, with death, but as MiMi’s time in foster care ended and her biological family welcomed her back home.
Six days after MiMi left, Child Protective Services asked me to take the baby brother of my adopted daughter, Angel-Leah. Although I was reeling with grief over MiMi’s leaving, I knew I wanted to take this little boy. So less than a month later, almost six month old Tommy moved in with us.
Tommy was tow headed, fat and cute. But unlike MiMi, who spent her days cuddled up in my arms, Tommy was suffering from drug withdrawals, and from having too many mommies in his life – we were his third foster home, and he wasn’t even six months old. Tommy had attachment problems. He was stiff and pushed me away when I tried to hold him. He wouldn’t let me comfort him when he cried, or let me rock him to sleep. Although we had been making progress, it was slow going. I was having trouble making sense of the whole thing. MiMi and I had loved each other completely, and even though I knew Tommy needed me as much as a little boy ever needed a mommy, he did not seem to like me or want me. I missed MiMi, I wanted her back, even as I worked to make a bond with my new little boy.

When love takes you in everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart
When love takes you home and says you belong here
The loneliness ends and a new life begins

The screen onstage glowed with the video they were showing. They were playing a song Steven Curtis Chapman had written about adoption, “When Love Takes You In.” I had heard it before, and had even seen it on YouTube. It showed children walking alone in fields or on an ocean shore, and eventually, someone comes along and picks them up or takes their hands and carries them away. It’s a powerful video. But this one had been changed up a bit. In the place of the scenes where Steven Curtis Chapman plays the piano, they had added yet another child. This time, the video showed a fat little tow headed baby boy crawling through the fields. It flashed to him several times throughout the video. Towards the end, the baby pulls up on a pair of legs, and hands reached down and picked him up.

When love takes you in, it takes you in for good…

Tears flowed from my eyes even harder now. I felt like God had shown me a confirmation. MiMi was back safe in her biological family. Tommy was meant to be mine. In the days that followed the concert, I tried unsuccessfully to find a YouTube version of the song with the little towheaded boy, but I never did. It made it seem like the one I watched that night was even more of a message from God.

Tommy did get over his drug addiction and attachment problems. He’s now a little tow headed toddler who loves to cuddle. He kisses me and recently said he loved me for the first time. MiMi’s family sends me pictures of her once in a while. She looks good, and seems to be happy. Both children have families who love them. Sometimes, the best things in life are the things that are hard in coming. The best things in life are the things we have to work for as we sow in tears, and reap with songs of joy (Psalm 126:5).

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
I had cheerfully sown my love into a little girl named MiMi. But I reaped love generously in a little boy named Tommy. It’s not the first time something like this has happened. Long years ago, I sowed love in another foster child. Although I lost him too, I reaped six sons when his leaving convinced us to begin having children again.

God is so good!


  1. Carla,Tommy is the cutest little boy and brightens our Tuesdays.

  2. I too, love his songs...their names are household words in the China adoption community,but they would hold true to anyone in the foster/adoption world


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