Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pure Joy

The past 5 months have been full of so many challenges that it's been easy to take our care free 13 year old, Stephen for granted... suddenly, I am reminded of the tremendous blessing he is to our family.
 I felt the need to just celebrate him.
When we began our adoption journey to our 4 children, we were cautioned by our Social Worker, our Agency Case worker and several friends and family members to reconsider bringing home a teenager to our family.   None of us expected him to be the least of our worries.  Several months before we met him, I began grieving for all the losses he had and would experience. I shed many tears and wondered how resentful he might be to us for taking him away from friends, extended family, food... everything that was familiar to him.  It was painful, but I needed to grieve with and for him.  It was my way of connecting with him and preparing myself as his mother.
I had no idea of what was beneath this beautiful gift.  
Our son has been nothing but pure joy to our family. Since the first day we met him in Ghana, he embraced us as his family. His heart of love and thankfulness opened the doors for us to enter his life and welcome ourselves as his parents.  There was never an ounce of resentment or fear.
It was literally a fight to bring him home.  What if it we didn't stick it out??... he spent his life longing to belong to a family,  to be cared for and have the resources to learn and succeed.  Although his childhood was full of grief and loss, he chose to survive very differently than his siblings.  He stopped fighting and learned to accept his circumstances with hopes that God would provide for him. 
I can still recall the picture of the Ghanaian police suddenly dragging my husband away from us and how our son grabbed on to his belt and yelled out in Twi " You cannot take my father away from me!!" With his strength and mine combined, we were able to tear my husband away from them.  How could they argue that this child was so deeply blessed and loved by his father?  As much as we fought for him, he fought for us. 
I get emotional when I think of the fears and anxieties we had of adopting an older child.  It was a risk. There were so many uncertainties. Who would have known that this child would adjust so comfortably to our family and immediately embrace us.  Who would have thought that he would love and care for his adopted siblings so deeply and be more loyal to them than his siblings from Ghana.  We would have never imagined Ethan (our biological son) to be so attached to him.  The competition of "who's the oldest?" never developed because they both know they are together, the oldest. 
Sometimes he jokes and says that he is half Ghanian, quarter Persian and quarter Chinese. 
I have often wondered and challenged him to be real with us.  As the eldest, we didn't want him to carry the burden of perfect performance and people pleasing.  With all the other challenges that his siblings brought, we anticipated a difficult cycle with him.   His response to us has been nothing but "mommy, why should I complain? God has blessed me so much." 
Pure Joy. Pure Gratitude.
I'm so glad we chose to say 'yes' and didn't allow our fears to stop us.  On days when parenting is so difficult and hope gets blurred, God uses Stephen to remind me that it is all worth it. 
We have 4 and a half years left with our son before he goes off to college.  We will make the best of it with him and trust that regardless of all the years we have lost with him, he knows that in a heartbeat we would fly across the Atlantic Ocean, get arrested and detained in a Ghanaian jail... all over again... just for him. 


  1. Thank you so much for sharing about your amazing son. What a blessing it is to hear about his transition into your family

  2. Love thing!! Amazing to see how God perfectly placed Stephen in your family. Pure joy!

  3. What an awesome testimony to older child adoption. Your son is a beautiful young man, & I have to tell you it was pretty intense to read this while "I Will Rise" was playing on your blog!

  4. Thank you so much for posting this. As a parent who adopted an older child this summer, I am rejoicing in this truth. I have often felt uncomfortable sharing just how amazing our boy is. I can't tell you how often I hear "you do realize that is not normal" or "what, did you get the best kid in Africa?" We have been so blessed by him and are so thankful God has allowed us to be his parents.

  5. What a beautiful post and thank you so much for sharing with us! You have a beautiful family and are very blessed. Praise our Mighty GOD!!

  6. Definitely Beautiful, full of grace......and wonder! A true miracle of God!!!! PRAISE GOD for him and for his open arms to you his family.

  7. Thank you for being real. I share your story with many. Praying for your family.

  8. Such a good adoption process story. Thank you for sharing and doing what you do.

  9. This was so beautiful to read. Thank you for sharing!