This morning there was a precious exchange which I would love to share in a minute.
I know many people wonder about adoption. They wonder about adding to their family. They wonder about how older kids will feel when considering adding more. They even wonder how grown kids will feel when adding more.
Older folks may even wonder what it would have been like if they had pursued adoption when they were raising kids.
Friends, I am convinced that the entire culture of adoption is fostered in the heart of the home. The way it is presented from the very beginning. The prayers prayed together as a family for the next person(s) that will sit in that empty chair or empty bed.
For literally a year, as I would tuck the boys into their bunks at night, we would pray, aloud, for the person who would one day come to fill that bunk. No, we didn’t know about Vern, we had no idea. But during those prayers, God was cementing in my young warrior’s hearts that the boy on that bunk would be a blessing! That he would have fun with the boys, in fact that he would be an integral part of our family.
So bringing home a just-about-to-turn-14 year old in a wheelchair was a no-brainer for them. They had been praying for him for over 2 years when he landed in Phoenix with Liberty, Birdie and I. They could not wait for him to arrive!
And his wheelchair? The things he needs help with? Each need is quickly met from one of his brothers or sisters! Never once have I heard anyone complain about helping Vern with anything! I’m sure the “honeymoon” is long over, but the eagerness to help remains.
Why wouldn’t it? They prayed for him before they even knew him!
I am confident that the more a family prays together, with expectancy (get it!?) for the blessing that God is going to add to their family, the Lord covers over a multitude of potential problems by making everyone’s heart soft, pliable and tender.
Obviously, I’m not trying to say that life has been blissful, that there have never been any disagreements, arguments or offenses that needed healing. Of course there have been. We are very human over here in Phoenix!!
What I am saying is that the “welcoming and assimilating” into the family has been a smooth adjustment. Almost flawless. But only because we bathed it in prayer for years before he and Birdie came home.
Anyway, this morning there was a beautiful exchange and it went something like this:
Elizabeth was the first one up and she was comparing my essential oils order with the packing slip. In walked Elijah who asked, “Mom, did dad tell you my idea?” I told him he had not, but I would love to hear it.
He continued on, “Well I was thinking that maybe I could work for you and dad and earn money and then treat the boys, even Graham, to Star Wars.”
I told him I thought that would be really cool, but would take some time.
He then did the math aloud as I listened to how much he would need in total, how much he already had and how much more he would have to earn.
About that time, Elizabeth mentioned that she thought Vern might not be able to go because, depending on the theatre, it might not be handicap accessible.
At that moment, Elijah piped up, “Well, it’s okay if it wasn’t. I know Graham would carry him.”
It made my eyes well with tears.
How did he know?
He’d seen Graham do it on more than one occasion.
And one of those times, I happened to have my big camera with me….
While at our old home place, friends generously invited us to go out on their boat with them. Vern had never been on a boat and was thrilled. Heck, we all were thrilled – such a wonderful, glorious treat!!
Their gorgeous year-round home is right on the lake and the front lawn to the lake is steep.
And without any discussion or question, Graham took off with Vern…
And in that moment, big brother was modeling just how much our heavenly Father willingly carries broken-us.
Large adoptive families?
Hardly perfect. But perfectly thankful for all the intricate lessons in life that couldn’t be taught in a book.
Like carrying each other.
I often read your blog, but don’t usually comment. I just have to share… our tenderhearted 12 year old Samuel is very often seen carrying one of his 9 year old sisters in order to help transport them from one place to another. One sister (with neuromuscular disorder and severe scoliosis) is more limited in mobility than the other (with Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome and an amputee). What’s more remarkable about his assistance is that their loving brother doesn’t have use of his left arm/hand due to brachial plexus palsy. But his right arm has developed some mighty muscles and he lovingly (and cautiously) provides piggy back rides for the girls. God has truly blessed us with siblings that care for, encourage, and protect each other.
My eyes welled as I read about your treasure Samuel. If only everyone really understood the beautiful things adoption does for all of us. Bless you friend and thank you so much for sharing!
Thank you for this beautiful post. As another large adoptive family, it’s so nice to read the life lessons we all learn together in adding to our families via adoption, foster care or marriage!
Bless you my new friend Kim. I love “meeting” other large adoptive families!
This is so precious! And I agree! When adoption and foster care are “normal” that’s just how things roll. My big kids, all in their 20’s are often over heard arguing on who gets to have their adopted, special needs brother when they get married and they move into their own place. It melts my heart to hear them argue over who “gets” him! And that has trickled down because my sweet son, when asked if he’s ready to share his things and bedroom with the foster kids that come into our home, he says (with a roll of his eyes) , “Mommy! Of course!” Love it! Yes it can be hard on many levels, but God is good and we are all the better for having them in our home. Thanks again for another great post.
Absolutely – WE are better people because of them!! xo
eyes welling with tears. precious. thanks for sharing Linny.
You are so welcome! Thank you for your sweet comment!!
What precious, caring children you are raising and have raised. The younger ones have so many good role models to learn from and follow.
I have a precious set of treasures. And trust me, I never, ever did anything good enough to deserve all these blessings! He has been so good to me!
Linny, you have a beautiful family! It is awesome when kids grow up with siblings with special needs. It’s so normal for them they don’t really give it a thought when that sibling needs help. My mom and dad fostered for years and years and when they “retired” my family took over the care of my foster sister who has severe cerebral palsy. She uses a wheelchair, is tube fed and nonverbal but there’s that sparkle in her eye. She understands everything! She has an amazing sense of humor and loves to tease. My 10 year old daughter thinks nothing of helping lift her and has recently learned how to prepare Jessica’s feed. What a gift and a privilege it is to take care of someone with special needs who depends on you for everything and yet gives so much in return!
Oh, and your Vernon? I smile everytime I see a picture of him. He has the greatest smile!
We get “the sparkle”!!! Ruby is our sparkle girl and everyone adores her!! She brings out the tender-love in each of us. Dw says when he is gone and comes home, his greatest relaxation is seeing Ruby’s smile! And Vernon? Just as delightful as that smile of his!!
Oh the Glory of the Lord shining through Graham and Vern, when we share each other’s burdens Literally! Thank you for sharing, and what a blessing to see a picture of Jesus carrying us!
God bless you and yours!
It really was such a picture of our gracious Lord!! He carries broken us with such love!! God bless you friend!
As always, thank you for sharing this beautiful story. You guys are my inspiration, Thank you Heavenly Father. Blessings to you all
Thank you Mary Ellen. God has been so very good to us!!
Well there you go again making me cry. Made me think of the song “He ain’t heavy, hes my brother.”
Oh friend! That’s *exactly* the song that comes to mind each time too!!
Just an idea… Do you think you could write a series on the most important lessons you’ve learnt in raising your kids? What do you wish you’d known when you first started out? You and Dwight has such a wealth of experience and as someone who’s interested in adopting in the future it is such a blessing to learn from you!
I’m so sorry Alex!! I didn’t see your comment until today! But crazy as it might sound, about a week ago the Lord began to impress on me that I need to write a book about the most important lessons we’ve learned in parenting!! So it might not be a series, but a book, but yes, there are some things that I would definitely do different!! There are some things I wish I had done more of! And there are some things I totally wish we could do over!! Thank you for suggesting it!! Pray as I write it. I am currently writing book 2. It will not be about the parenting stuff…but one that is desperately needed for all of us to be reminded of! Thank you again!!