Because Layla looks so much like Bryson and Jordyn…and because we have so much love in our hearts for her…it FEELS like she’s our biological child most of the time. Sure, she has some issues that are different than Bryson and Jordyn…but that doesn’t mean much. We could have given birth to a child with those same issues. In my head, she’s just ours. In my head, there was never a time she wasn’t ours. I forget.
The kids have been wanting to see the new Annie movie since it came out. Our schedules have been crazy though and we haven’t had a chance to take them. I finally decided I would take them one day after school. But first-they should see the original. It’s a classic! I thought it’d be fun to see the original and then see the new one so we could discuss differences and similarities. I remember watching Annie when I was a kid. I played it on Netflix and just as I expected, the kids were in love. They are musical little things just like I was.
But then Layla turned around to me and said…”Will I never need to get adopted again? Like if I was really, really bad would you take me to a place like that? What if you AND daddy both died, then would I have to go a place like that?”
And I was instantly reminded that Layla IS adopted and she might view stuff like this movie from a different lens. Although we tell the kids all the time that we are crazy about them, the innate security of unconditional love does not always come naturally to Layla. I hate that. With all the love and security, all the hugs and kisses, all the bedtime tickles and talks, there is still a little corner of her brain that processes things in the perspective of: “You needed to be adopted once….what if that needs to happen again?”
I contemplated not sharing this story, because I don’t want to portray adopted children as broken. She’s not. But what I want to acknowledge, although it’s hard, is that in all of the beauty of adoption, there is tragedy that is still apart of the story. Instead of avoiding it, we need to accept it and then focus on the restoration that can happen from there. Whether a child was adopted from birth or as a teenager, there was some kind of hard circumstance that lead them to need a new home. Yes, God planned for Kevin and I to be Layla’s Mommy and Daddy. I believe with all my heart that it was His will from the start. It’s beautiful the way He brought us all together. But the first part, the hard part…that’s a part that she lives with, too. I think every child who knows they were adopted will have to deal with the hard part at some point or another. The part that says that they aren’t with their biological family and leads them to ask why.
Of course, my answer to her was, “Baby, you are ours forever and ever. God made us your Mommy and Daddy and we will always be your Mommy and Daddy. There is no amount of bad that you could do that would make us love you less…in fact, we love you more and more every single day!”
And in those words, it occurred to me that we do the same thing with God. Treading lightly as though we are one mistake away from invoking His wrath. Like He’s just staring down waiting for us to do the wrong thing so He can say “That’s it…enough is enough…I don’t love you anymore. You don’t deserve to be my child.”
How adoption has helped me to understand the heart of God!! The moment I knew Layla was going to be ours I fell so madly in love with her there was no turning back. And I’m human. Fallible. Imperfect. How much more does God feel when we make the choice to be His? Layla is mine. I will spend my whole life making sure she knows love and security; joy and hope. And we are HIS. Can you even fathom it? We are not that different Layla and me. As she grows to learn the word unconditional in our family, so do I in my walk with God. I’m so grateful I get to grow with her.
Until the next blog…be blessed!