The Beauty of Owning Their Own Story

October 7, 2018 adoption realities, Attachment, attachment activities, discipline, embracing their story, homeschool, large families, questions from strangers, Sharon, siblings, telling their life story, vacation 1 Comments


Our family just enjoyed another week at the beach, and it was glorious. The gift of time since coming home for each of our children truly has made a difference in so many ways. We are able to help them feel safe in a vacation home and enjoy new experiences together.

This particular trip gave us a glimpse into a new side of our adoption story. We witnessed the beautiful of our children owning their own stories. You might remember my vacation post back in June, and I since we’re just home, I wanted to share some things that happened to us while engaging with all the people around us.

Because we go to the same beach and condo, we often see the same people from visits before. They aren’t surprised when our parade of children make their way to the beach or step into the pool to swim (and wash off all the sand before going up to our condo). They have observed us before and made assumptions about us. Feeling comfortable, they approach us with lots of questions.



This trip I witnessed The Beauty of Owning Their Own Story; the fruit of all the questions we’ve tried to answer. The ones they’ve asked or ones we’ve felt they were ready to begin processing. The sweet ones. The awkward ones. The hard ones. The dumb ones. {“Are they all siblings?”}

Over the years I’ve begun to choose grace over correction.
Enlightenment over entitlement.
Love over judgment.

Because of all the private conversations we’ve had and the hundreds of questions they’ve heard me answer, our children have begun to answer for themselves with pride and confidence.

This past week we felt all the eyes on us everywhere we went. We really try to share our adoption family story in our daily walk without even saying a word. We want to share the love and joy we truly have for each other. The privilege we have to be called Mom and Dad.

As I stood by the pool watching the kids, I overheard a lady ask one of the boys if they really got along with each other. (Like we could go to a pool and pretend something other than what we really were.) I purposefully didn’t look over and before I knew it, he answered without missing a beat. “We really do! We are always together and have fun together.” She continued, “Do you ever fight or argue?” He answered, “We sometimes do but we try to work it out and be nice.”

Scott called them all out of the pool, and we waved goodbye to the wonderers. Later when we were upstairs, our son told us all about the questions. We took time to shower praise on him for his brave responses and how amazing it is they feel so confident.



Another day we were getting our stuff together to go in for the day and a couple that had been watching us all day asked The Question, “Are they all siblings?” Again, one child spoke up to say, “We are all from China with different families, but we are all siblings in one family now.” She went on to ask why they weren’t in school. They told her they were homeschooled, and we could do school any where we were.

It was amazing to hear them speak up for even the way we spend our learning time. I was able to share schooling wherever we are is a lifestyle we choose to live so we can give our children experiences any time we choose.

I think it is important that we take time to talk to people about issues like adoption and homeschooling. We may be the only positive words they hear about these topics. We want them to walk away being educated and enlightened about something they didn’t already know.

Being there in the fall, we mostly vacationed with retired couples, and I guess they were all watching our family and reminiscing of the days they were raising their own.

As I’m sure you know, everyone wants to talk about everyone they know who has adopted, and sometimes it’s hard to listen to it all but those are the times our children are able to hear about families like our family. It builds connections and bonds. They feel so strongly to share how well our children behave and get along.



One night we went to dinner at PF Chang’s, which is our favorite outing because we pair it with a visit to the bookstore. It is always a long dinner and, again, the eyes were watching us. I could actually feel the couple behind us staring.

Our youngest often had the hardest time by dinner and this evening was no exception. She squirmed, whined, and needed lots of attention but we managed. When the couple stood up to leave, the lady came over to say, “You should write a book on how to take children out to dinner and I would make my daughter-in-laws read it.” We smiled, and they walked away.

Scott and I confirmed to each other without even saying a word, they had NO idea how much love, acceptance, patience, long suffering, and tears it had taken to get where we were with our family. It is not written in a book. It is written in the constant heart work we do every single day to help our children feel safe, loved, and chosen.

The questions were asked everywhere we went, and I witnessed our children starting to own their own story… being confident in sharing it. This post is not meant to toot our horn or seem like we have it all together. We certainly don’t! We have diligently persevered through several tantrums and night interruptions since coming home this week, but that all goes with the territory and is to be expected.



Five Ways We’ve Helped Our Children Own Their Story:

1. Talking and answering every single thought they have had to the best of our ability.

2. Speaking goodness, truth, and beauty over them as we’ve talked and answered those questions other people have asked in their presence.

3. Encouraging a team spirit in our family and always finding ways to be a helper. I am constantly asking for a helper and someone always jumps in. Then I see them doing it for each other. A gift!

4. Telling them every day God is writing a beautiful story through their life, and He chose our family the privilege to witness the journey.

5. Their story is their story to tell in any way they choose. We all learn from each other, and I truly am a better human because of the life God chose for our family.

…..

One more story and I will draw this post to an end. We were standing out in our own driveway talking with some visitors when someone asked them if they were going to have any more children. They answered they thought they had all the children God had for them. (I snickered inside as I thought back to my naïve self 13 years ago).

One of our sons spoke up and said, “Have you ever thought about adoption? Lots of kids need a mom and dad!”

And you know the beautiful thing about kids? They don’t see the big picture or how their stories affect other people. They don’t even get how their story affects them truly, but it is the gospel spilling out of their hearts.

Our children, who came from hard places, challenging others to be brave and go. They know and believe and own the story God has written in their hearts. It was definitely one of the sweetest moments. That couple may never come to the amazing blessing of adoption, but I know my children are hook, line, and sinker sure they are right where God would have them to be.

Thank You, Jesus, for choosing me to witness it all!




One response to “The Beauty of Owning Their Own Story”

  1. Jody Hurlburt says:

    I love following your family’s story and stories. Thank you for being vulnerable.

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