Five years ago this month, we got “the call”. To say it was unexpected would be an understatement.
Our dossier wasn’t logged in, the check marks on our medical needs list were few, and the shared list had been released earlier in the week. When I checked the caller ID on my cell phone I remember wondering what in the world our agency could being calling about. On the line was the program coordinator and within minutes I was staring at the most beautiful child I’d ever seen.
There on the computer screen – dressed in a puffy pink shirt and riding a tricycle – was the boy who would soon be our son.
So many moms have a beautiful story of how they had dreamed of adopting since they were a young girl. Not me. You see, I’m quite type A. I like neatness, order and predictability. In fact, I may be the least spontaneous person you will ever meet.
My life before adoption was just that, predictable. My husband and I had one son and we were perfectly content. I had it all figured out (insert sarcasm here) and was able to be my organized and obsessive self, all while having a happy marriage, a beautiful son and a great job.
I’m not sure the exact reason, but in the spring of 2011, my husband and I began to talk about adoption. Although we had talked about it briefly in earlier years and also knew several families who had adopted, I really can’t pinpoint a single event that sparked the conversation. What I do know is that God laid adoption on each of our hearts individually.
However, in our typical fashion we had to analyze, reason and research. God, knowing the stubbornness of both myself and my husband, spoke to us through a sweet soul whom he knew we would listen to without question: our now eldest son, Jackson. As we rode along in the car one day a little voice chimed in from the back seat and spoke these simple words, “I don’t care if it’s a boy or a girl… I just want a sibling.”
We applied to our adoption agency in August of 2011 and the rest is history. Ten months later we met our son Finnley.
God knows every part of our being, our strengths, and our weaknesses and in this case just how to get two stubborn control freaks to listen to his calling.
Flash back to our beautiful son in his pink shirt. We read his file, sent it to an International Adoption Clinic for review, and prayed. Of all the things that were scary, one of his “needs” (the fact that he was a boy), was simply a non-issue.
When we set out on our adoption journey, we prayed that God would give us the child he had for us. For the first time in my life, I surrendered control, that thing I had always held so dear, and gave it all to God. In fact, we all did. It was that surrender that gave us a sense of peace throughout our adoption. When it came time to mark the gender section on our checklist, we marked “either” and never skipped a beat. Leaving it in God’s hands, just as in a pregnancy, was what felt best to us.
Looking back, those checklists seem so trivial now. The moment I held my son for the first time, those checklists became ancient history. Each day, when I see my son Finnley, I see the face of the child I know God meant to be my son. In Finnley, I see the smiles and hear the laughter that brings joy to his father’s heart and I see the boy who shares a love that is fierce and pure with his older brother, Jackson.
Finnley fills a void we never knew was missing until we experienced the joy that is him! For “God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy,” Psalm 68:6, NLT.
I assume life with only boys is vastly different than life with girls. However, one thing I know is the same is the love and happiness that any child brings to a family. Sure, I’m terribly outnumbered in my house, even my pets are boys. But honestly, I wouldn’t have in any other way. I adore my sons and couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday in the spring than watching my guys play baseball.
As a family we love all things baseball and football, spending time at the lake with family, scary roller coasters, good food, and most of all… each other’s company. Sure, boys may be labeled as being loud, messy, and trouble makers. But it’s been my experience that boys make awesome snuggle buddies, dance partners, and are hilariously funny!
Since adopting Finnley, our family has learned many, many things from him. Finnley is wiser than his years. He’s incredibly funny and silly, yet thoughtful, intuitive, and oh so caring. He’s a charmer and wins over the hearts of everyone he meets. He’s insanely determined and incredibly patient.
The thing that I think we as a family have learned the most through Finnley is the redemptive power of God’s grace. When I think of our journey, the many twists and turns, the ups and downs, I’m reminded of the lyrics from Unspoken’s Call it Grace….
It’s the breath that’s breathing new life,
Into what we thought was dead;
It’s the favor that takes orphans,
Placing crowns upon their heads;
It’s the hope for our tomorrows,
The rock on which we stand;
It’s a strong and mighty fortress,
Even Hell can’t stand against;
Some may call it foolish and impossible,
But for every heart it rescues it’s a miracle;
It’s nothing less than scandalous,
This love that took our place;
Just call it what is is,
Call it grace.
Countless examples of God’s grace are written throughout our journey. I am a firm believer that God “doesn’t call the equipped… he equips the called.” I’m a prime example. Before we started this journey, if you told me I was going to relinquish control and adopt a child from the other side of the world, I would have likely laughed in your face.
If I hadn’t witnessed it personally, I would never have believed what we call the “tricycle story”…
Our friends gave us a brand new tricycle that had been collecting dust in their attic. They had never opened it, but thought maybe Finnley could use it. Well, it was the exact tricycle from Finnley’s referral photo. It was waiting for him in his room when he came home forever.
God’s grace is always sufficient and through him the seemingly impossible happens.
This Christmas season, we made a “thankful chain”. My boys each wrote things that they are thankful for on strips of construction paper, and we linked them together to form a chain. The thankful list ranged from God and family to deodorant and soup (apparently some middle schoolers haven’t discovered the need for deodorant, ha-ha). As Finnley was coming up with his list he said, “I am glad Mommy and Daddy came on the airplane to bring me home from China.”
How I held it together in that moment, I’m not quite sure. What I do know is that every day I thank God for my children and literally thank heaven for little boys.
I don’t have the answers to why the statistics are what they are. I don’t know what drives adoptive families’ preference for girls and I’m not here to pass judgment on someone else’s choice, even if it may be different from my own.
What I am here to encourage is fellow adoptive parents to follow their hearts. If you feel that whisper… consider how wonderful your life might be if it included a boy.
I may be partial, but bear hugs, home runs and a fascination with fast cars have made my life with boys even more wonderful than I ever dreamed it could be.
Corrie is a Southern girl, born and raised in Alabama. She loves dark chocolate and anything involving her boys, and can often be found at the baseball field, cheering loudly from the stands.
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