Last night, I watched Sassy jumping up and down in front of the digital picture frame in our living room exclaiming with such delight as the pictures scrolled, "My grandma, my grandma, my grandma. Then, that's my mommy, my mommy, my mommy." As I watched her joyful expression and listened to her voice, I heard her claiming us as our family. Two emotions simultaneously washed through through me. I was elated and delighted that we were indeed her family. That was her grandma and I was her mommy. I felt so lucky, so blessed for her to call me mommy with such certainty. With all of my flaws and shortcoming, I was still her mommy, and she was glad. The other emotion I felt was a deep sadness, for her first family and their loss. For the family that did not get to see her healthy, for the family that does not get to hear her giggle, watch her grow, see her dance. My heart hurt. Then, I was slammed with an even deeper pain. The pain of what would have been had we not said yes. If she were not in our living room jumping up and down around the Christmas tree, where would she be? Perhaps just in another family in cozy America. But then, I would not be her mommy and that photograph would just be of someone else's grandma. My heart hurt and in that instant I realized that a seemingly simple decision, to say yes, changed the course of direction for our entire family. That was all we had to do, just say yes...in all of our imperfectness, all of our shortcomings, and all of the ways that we don't measure up. In all of that mess, God could still use us.
A freshly cut Christmas tree, digital picture frame with scrolling photos of our family, and our dancing two-year-old princess. It was a beautiful sight, yet racing through my body I felt the pain and suffering that would exist if all of the families welcoming children into their homes had made other choices. If those families had thought they did not have what it takes (whatever that it may be). What would have become of their children? I know the answer to that because it is what is happening to the millions of children who do not have homes. It is an ugly, dark, horrid reality. God designed us to live in community and we need one another to thrive. In my opinion, family is probably the most critical part of the wholeness equation and without one, well, we can see how things begin to fall apart before the child is ever even given a fair chance.
As I watched Sassy claim us as her family, the mix of emotions was almost too much to handle. There is nothing special about our family yet we have been blessed beyond measure. I cannot bear to think of what would have been had we not said yes, if we focused on our countless shortcomings and reasons why God could not be asking us to do this. My simple prayer today is that if you hear God whispering that you could be doing something to help the millions of orphans and widows worldwide or the half a million of children in foster care in the United States, that you believe that He could in fact be asking you to say yes. Say yes to loving him by caring for those he holds nearest and dearest. Matthew 18:5 says, "And whoever welcomes one such a child in my name, welcomes me." When Sassy and Sporty arrived, broken, scared, and dejected, they brought wholeness to our family. God, thank you for giving us the choice and the courage the say yes. Thank you for blessing us through your love as it shines through our children.