Several of my posts this month are aimed directly at sharing the desires of my heart. I have too much to write in just one post so I will spread them out over a few and link them together in a series somewhere on my blog page. The overall series link will be entitled People.
Anything worth having is worth fighting for. Same can be said for relationships. My aunt recently adopted 4 children. They are all fairly young, one is a little baby, and the rest are elementary-ish age kids. Due to the very delicate nature of their past I can’t say too much more about my new cousins specifically, but I would like to share about what I have learned through the family journey.
They are all very lucky to have each other. She, my aunt who used to spoil me rotten, has become a different person, only the change motherhood can make, through the love of those kids. When me and Chris were driving home from our min-vacation this morning, we talked about how nice it was to have a few hours away from the kids. It had been so long and we have both been working so hard that our little overnight excursion was probably the best time of the year. I relaxed, had so much fun, and got to hang out with my best friend instead of “work” with him. As we agreed that the break was awesome, we talked about how empty our lives would be without the boys. Naturally each of our sons came up in conversation and we settled that without them, Chris wouldn’t be happy and I would be severely depressed. They bring me so much joy. It’s hard to notice that blessing when I am teaching them over and over again how to tie their shoes or how to clean the dining room after dinner… for a year now.
When my aunt adopted, it would have been natural in today’s skewed view of the world, to mention how lucky those kids are to have her. She’s a good mom and works very hard to make sure they are healthy and raised right. They are lucky. And they deserve to be… every child deserves the right to be loved and cared for by grown ups. Whether born into a family or brought together by love, all children have that right. When I was little there was a long-standing joke in our family that my Dad only married my Mom because he loved me and my brother so much and wanted us. Do you know how good that made me feel growing up? I knew I was fortunate to have my Dad because of how fortunate my Dad felt towards us. I think it’s the same deal with my aunt. Those kids are soooo blessed to have a new family because my aunt has been beaming with pride and joy over her kids. She is a wonderful mother and I am so happy it all worked out the way it did…
Many kids in America are sitting in the foster care system right now believing that they will never be adopted. And many of them are correct in that assumption. I will never forget the night one of my friends a few houses down from ours was taken from her home after telling me that her grandpa was climbing into bed with her at night. I told my parents and they called child services and she was gone that night. I never got to see her again and its not fair at all that “T” (my friend’s name began with a T) got taken away. She did nothing wrong. But just like all the other kids who get abused and “taken,” T was the one to be punished right along with the offender. Should I have not told anyone? Why did she have to tell me? Was getting sent to a foster home worse than what she was going through in her own home? I’ll never know because I didn’t get to say good bye or see or talk to her again. Pause while I maintain composure here…
I learned a lot about the state of America’s children through the passionate and informative initiative my aunt took in letting others know the joy of the less conventional way having children. At her official Adoption Day party, it was said my aunt made an announcement that taking kids out of the system and giving them a safe foster home and adoption is desperately needed. She left resources out for guests to look at should they feel the tug in their hearts to begin the process. She went from filling out papers to having children in her home in a very short amount of time. In addition to having the children’s medical needs taken care of immediately each time there was a need, she didn’t have to give an arm and a leg. She wanted a baby, but was willing to love any child who wanted to be hers. Oh, and btw, she did adopt a baby girl along with the boys:)
The awful lives foster children (both orphans with no living relatives and children taken from their abusive families) are living is unimaginable. I had loving parents, aunts, uncles, g-parents, and so I don’t relate to that, but it breaks my heart none the less. As I am reveling in my current state of love with my own children, I have to wonder how much love would I have for more children? Each time I had a child my heart grew and love I didn’t know was possible began to flow through me. How much more would life be blessed if I had another child in my home? Would it be too much work? Could I handle the extra responsibility? The extra cost of living? How much more of life would blossom if another person came into my family, into my house? I wonder…
One of the most exciting nuggets of information my aunt gave me as she excitedly shared her story, is that when adopting children who have been through hell and back through “the system” is that the state will cover costs of any extra help in the way of medical care or emotional and mental healing needs. Most need it. My Mom worked as a guardian ad-litem for a while several years ago and I will never forget a story she told me about a family she worked with. She was a volunteer- not to toot her horn here, but she did this very, very difficult job out of the desire to help kids… after hers were grown and gone. Her job was to speak for the kids. She had spent decades working in the legal field and knows family law so this work was right up her ally. She did not side with the courts or with the parents, she was a voice for the kids. I will never forget the story of the girl who found her sister dead of a heroin overdose. It had been two days since anyone had seen the older sister and my mom’s girl had walked into her older sister’s bedroom to find her there dead. She had been there for two days. And no one noticed. Talk about screwing a kid up… I wanted to take that teenager and bring her home and care for her until she was old enough to go to college. I wanted to take her in and everyday tell her about her worth and her ability to have any life she wanted for herself. But in the end, the system always wins. And foster care, orphanages (which are called something else now, but I can’t remember) and the dangerous homes are where these are taken.
My aunt’s adoption journey is one of the most inspiring stories I have ever known. There are details I can’t reveal, as I am hesitant to write anything more including the date of the adoption, the party, or even the awesome picture I have of the new family. But just know that all the pain and suffering the kids went through is over. And the desires of my aunt and “uncle” have been met. Also, I am stoked to have new cousins!!!
What I hope to pass along is this… there are some seriously hurting children in dire need of places to sleep. Tonight. Some are being molested, raped, neglected as they are starving and sleeping in urine soaked beds. Some need medical attention or therapies that would give them a shot at having a normal life one day, but they aren’t getting it due to neglect. I have been reading a lot about this thanks to my aunt opening my eyes to this need, and some of the stories are vomit-worthy. It’s hard to believe anyone can be so calloused to a child, let alone their own children. Unfortunately Chris and I would not qualify as foster parents right now… personal reasons. If we did, when we do, I would/will open up my home in a heartbeat. Not to give some lucky kid a Charlie’s chocolate factory golden ticket to be taken in by a savior… but to share the mutual hard work, appreciation and love that being a family affords us. We win by getting them and having our hearts grow (like the Grinch on Christmas) and the kids get what they deserve… a family. People need people.
Thanks for reading. Enjoy those little sticky-fingered, caveman-like, rambunctious kids of yours… it’s a marvelous thing to be a parent. Have a good one guys.