Much like writing a paragraph called "My Summer Vacation" upon returning to elementary school each fall is the post I am preparing to type. Any blogger worth her salt will have an entry on what she is thankful for today. Is is, after all, Thanksgiving! All facebook statuses that I have seen thus far today echo the same sentiment - mine included. I am SO very thankful for my walk with Christ, my family and the provisions we have. I am bursting with thankfulness at the prospect of being allowed to adopt Francis and I am eternally grateful for the living and active word of God that strengthens and challenges me each day. Those are things I would hope we are all thankful for daily. This year, Thanksgiving is a little different for our family and, although I blog unabashedly about all things adoption, I do seek to protect those inner most parts of my family from too much scrutiny. I am going to share the one thing I am most thankful for and please know that I have wrestled with sharing this for many reasons. Here it goes: our 12 year old adopted son has been spending time in a residential treatment center since early October. He came to us at 8 years old already significantly challenged by his early life experiences. We KNEW we were getting in deep with this guy just by reading his file but we also knew that when God calls, He equips so we pressed forward. I could fill novels with the approaches we've tried, the tears we've cried and the prayers we've prayed over him.
I could talk for hours about the ways we've mishandled this young man in his struggles and erred on the side of imparting justice when it should have been mercy.
This is my private little shame. For many years I have considered mothering my profession and have strived to do it with excellence. I also like to think that I know a thing or two about adoption and that our family could work wonders with even the most challenging case. THIS child has been used by God to humble me in ways I can not explain. Now that I've confessed the hard part, let me get to the THANKFULNESS . . . he is home for 5 days for Thanksgiving and I can see the amazing work that God is doing in him and in us. The bonds that have always felt tenuous are
strengthened! The child who once lacked the ability to articulate anything positive is laughing, smiling and the eye contact . . . it is 100% improved . . . there is a genuineness there that I have never seen in him before!!!!! All of these changes have been prayed for for years. For the first time since he came into our family, I have genuine belief that he is going to be "just fine." He has always belonged here, he has always been "mine" but there are parts of him that are so hard to reach. I was learning to settle for a mediocre, lackluster relationship with this child and, praise the name of Jesus, I now know that he is going to thrive in this family. I am eager for him to come home full time (in just a couple of months) and
take his rightful place as 3rd oldest, big brother, friend and most of all, son.
Of the many lessons this relationship teaches me, I am most thankful to be reminded that "God is not slow in keeping his promises as some would count slowness but he is PATIENT". The prayers for this child felt unanswered for years and yet, God was waiting for just the right time to show HIS power in our son's life. He made sure to do it in a place that we could not even begin to take credit for it . . . yes, there is much to be thankful for!!!!