Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Grow Into the Person Who Can - Part 2.

In August, I wrote a post about my transformation over the last couple of years, from a person who dreamed of running a marathon to a person who made a plan to DO it.


Since then, I have been thinking about that mantra, the words "Grow Into the Person Who Can" floating through my head now and again. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it applied to other areas of my life.  

With our travel to Colombia (hopefully) fast approaching and the impending addition of child #6, I have been thinking about this more and more. 

When people hear we have 5 kids, we get a lot of shocked looks. When people find out three are adopted, we get (for the most part) tons of praise (and occasionally awkward comments...). Add on another adoption and some would sign us up for sainthood.    "That's amazing, I could never do that." "I've thought about adopting but don't have the personality for it."  "You guys are incredible, your kids are so lucky."  

(I'm not intending to toot my own horn, people really say this stuff. It's awkward.)

 Now, I'll be the first to say that adoption is NOT for everyone. Nor does it somehow make you a better person or something.  *end disclaimer*

But if you are NOT adopting because you "couldn't handle that" or because you "don't have the temperament" or whatever...Or because you think we are somehow different people... Stop yourself and ask what the real issue is.

Most people are not born with the temperament to be excellent parents. Excellent parents perfectly balance selflessness with self-growth, organization with balance, love with discipline.  In short, they aren't real people. ;)

I am not an excellent parent, adoptive or otherwise.  Heck, I'm not even a "kid person." (for serious - volunteering in a classroom is like the 7th circle of hell)

But I try. And I grow. 

I was 19 years old when my first child was born. I was barely more than a child myself. In many ways, I didn't know WHAT to do with her!  There was a long stretch where we thought Grace might be an only child. We just didn't feel capable of parenting more. Couldn't even imagine parenting more.

Time passed. We grew. We grew UP and we grew as parents.  We knew we were ready for another child.  And Ally came along.  Well, you can't really ever be ready for Ally.  ;) But we managed. There were some tough months - colic is no joke. But we continued to grow. We added in the difficulty of managing a work-life balance.  And we grew.  It was sometimes two steps forward, one back.  But we grew. 

And we knew in our hearts that adoption was our next step. We were naive and foolish in our expectations, but trusting, and we followed God's lead. And he led us right to Abi. And then to Hana. And we encountered an entirely new ballgame, preparing for the adoption of not one, but two somewhat "older" children. Despite our mistakes, we grew as a family, now pieced together by love and effort, not just biology.

And shortly thereafter, He opened the door for Selam to join our family. We certainly didn't see that coming!  We were FAR from the ideal parents for her.  We struggled, learning how to parent a teenager, barely out of our 20s ourselves. 

We messed up. Again. And again. 

And we grew. 

The truth is, we aren't all that special. We will never win parent of the year. But, we are pretty good parents.  And we are infinitely better parents than we were 11 years ago. 

If you would have told me, 10+ years ago, that we would eventually have 6 kids from 3 continents, I would have laughed. I had other plans. Fortunately for me, God laughed at my plans.

I wasn't born the "future mom of 6 kids, 4 of which are adopted." 
But I grew into a person who could be.


  1. You're so inspirational, Cat in the Hat.

  2. What a great description of how you have grown into the plan that God has for you and your family. I need to keep that in my head when I think that I have figured out what our family will look like and how many kids we'll have (every other day til recently I was wondering whether we should stop at 2 or have more, but I feel pretty certain now that we should have more, just not right this minute:) I hope you get many opportunities to share your story with other prospective adoptive parents.