Yesterday, on the way home from church, my 15 year old foster adopt daughter, Miss C, was telling me how diligently she has been taking notes at church. She was telling me some of the things she had learned and mentioned "I never knew until today that it was hard for a rich man to go to heaven!"
We talked about why that might be so for a while, and I mentioned the above quote by Doug Phillips. And of course, that has set my mind to thinking ever since.
I have always loved children. When my father died, a sister made us all a CD of Dad's old home movies. My brother in law mentioned to another sister that my love of children showed even when I was very young: as a little child in the home movies, I was always holding a doll, and as I grew into a teenager, I was the one getting my younger sisters out of trees and holding their hands.
I longed for a large family as I grew up and married, and was so pleased when I read the book "The Way Home" (you can buy a copy in the store on this blog) and learned what I had always felt in my heart was true, that children are a blessing, and God actually WANTS us to have large families.
As my family grew larger and larger, I was so happy - first with my seven biological children, then again as I began to adopt my littlest ones. My heart soars when I see them all together and realized that they are MY children.
But as my family grew larger, I began to be criticized for it. I couldn't really understand that - the children are all happy and healthy, I don't ask people to babysit or to give me money. "I" take care of them, I enjoy taking care of them, and I believe I do it well.
One day, after someone had doubted me and fussed at me for my latest two additions, it hit me, and hit me hard: not everyone loves children as much as I do.
Now I know that should have been obvious to me all along. But for some reason it wasn't until that moment. The fact that the Bible says children are a blessing is not something people are catching. If I had been working in an office and making more and more money, people would have smiled at me, approved of it, and even envied me. But because I am adopting my 11th and 12th children, some people - not all, there are a few that understand - think I am crazy and even, amazingly, selfish...
I wish they could see what I see: the beautiful blue eyes of a daughter that loves me very much, even though she is nearly 16 years old. The brown eyes of a grown son who is very excited about starting a new business adventure. A grown son who has excelled in his life and brought me much credit as a homeschooling mother (it does take a while, you moms who are just starting out, for your fruit to show. Hang in there). The fact that I am one of the first ones my oldest daughter calls when something happens in her life. Seeing my second oldest raising a bunch of smart children and the good job she has done - even though she was only 18 years old when she had twins and one was handicapped. That handicapped child is excelling, too, along with the rest of them. Listening to another grown son telling me his exciting plans for the future. Watching my 19 year old grow into a Godly, mature beyond his years young man. Be privileged to watch my new 15 year old daughter overcome all the trauma in her life, and still have a smile on her face.
And then there are my wonderful little ones. Cute, quirky Luke. Beautiful Angel-Leah. Sweet, kind, little Tommy. And spunky Miss S.
Half of my children at the parade last week. Hopefully as soon as the end of November, Miss S will be an adoption placement rather than a foster child, and I think I'll be able to show her sweet little face!!
I think all twelve of them are beyond wonderful. I think I am the luckiest, most blessed mother in all the world.
Me, with my little ones. Now do we look stressed or crazy? Put a crochet hook in my hand, and I'm off in another world:
At the homecoming parade last week: Luke, Miss S, Tommy, me and Angel-Leah:
(Here's Miss C during the above parade, she's the one with the red jacket around her waist, she plays the flute in the band at school):
As I add the latest two, there are challenges that are different from our other three adoptions of very young children. Especially with Miss S, who is 6. She does not understand adoption. She tells my other three young ones that I'm not their mommy, that their birth mothers are. She says they should not call me Mommy, they should call me Miss Carla like she does. And last night, she broke my heart when she told me that she has been adopted twice already, and it didn't work. That's not true. She has been a foster placement twice. I tried to explain to her that those were not adoptions. That when you are adopted, you go to a judge, and he makes you a family (yes, I know it's really God who does that, but I was trying to explain it 'with skin on'). I wonder how long it will take before she feels secure, loved, and permanently in our family? Before she feels secure enough to call me "mommy"? In my heart, she has been my child since the day I was called and asked if I was interested in giving the girls a home. I knew I loved her even then, before I had laid eyes on her. She is the sister of Luke, and I adore Luke. Miss S has the same squinty eyes smile, and little gap in her front teeth. She's mine. Forever. And I'm glad, even when she is naughty, which is often! :o)
So when you see me and my large brood, know that while, yeah, I might be just a touch crazy, I am also very happy in my insanity, and I can say like Jacob: "They are the children God has graciously given your servant." Gen. 33:4-6
God says children are a blessing from him. God said it, I believe it. I am so thankful for this life I am living. Yes, it's hard sometimes. Yes, sometimes I think I can't do it on a given day. But I do it anyway, and I'm always glad I did. God sometimes calls us to do hard things, and when we obey, they are the things that bless us the most.
So next time you see me with my brood of children, smile, because I am happy, and pray, because I have been entrusted with the teaching of many eternal souls. And remember, God says children are a blessing, and I am a witness to that!!
It is well with my soul.