Sunday, May 26, 2013

Beauty for ashes


"To all who mourn in Israel,
    he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for his own glory."
-Isaiah 61:3(NLT)
April 21st, 1999 - Sol and I shared our visions, dreams and hopes to one day adopt.  Little did we know that clear across the Atlantic Ocean, our son, Stephen was about to be born.  A hardworking, young mother was ready to give birth to her firstborn while a young dating couple was sitting in a coffee shop colliding their dreams and visions together. 
14 years later....
this same son is sitting in our living room....

He suddenly shut down. The same talkative son that lives each second of his life with pure joy and gratitude was completely out of words.
" Son, are you okay? Is there anything you would like to share with us? "
Silence. No response.
After 3 hours, it finally came out.
"Tomorrow is May 2nd." he said.
We paused and suddenly I remembered... It was the anniversary of our children's birth mother's death. I nearly hurt myself from forgetting. How could I forget? 
Suddenly, the tears came.  Our son broke down and wept like a baby in my husband's arms.  It was the first time... the first time he had ever allowed himself to weep and mourn for her. 
As we grieved and cried with him, we were also proud of him.
Proud that he was embracing the pain.
Proud that he let his heart go there and felt comfortable to cry. 
Something happened in our living room that night.
Something so amazing and transformational.
We were able to walk down memory lane with his birth mother... laugh, cry and grieve.

And then it was time for my husband to speak hope back to our son...
"Stephen, God has given you a second chance. Your new mom will never replace the mother that birthed you into this world but she has CHOSEN to love you, walk with you and call you her son.... FOREVER. What a gift that God has given two special mothers in your life that have sacrificed and chosen to love you.  You have made them both proud. " - said my husband.  
Our son gave the sweetest smile.  He received it and embraced the both of us.
Beauty for ashes. 

The other day, Stephen came running into the kitchen to help me with the dishes and blessed me with the most beautiful words. " Mommy, you're the best mommy in the whole world! There's no other place I'd rather be but with you and daddy!" 
What a gift!   
I don't take it for granted.  God has gifted him with a heart of gratitude. 
This morning I woke up ready to go back to sleep and bury myself under my covers...  the past 45 days have been emotionally exhausting trying to connect with children that only want to detach and resist our every effort to love and nurture them.  Each down cycle has me wondering how I will ever find the strength to keep on keeping on... but then God speaks to me through a child quietly telling me:
       " mommy, I think you need a break."
       " mommy, what can I do to help you? "
       " mommy, why don't you go rest and I'll keep an eye on my brothers and sisters
         for you?"
       " mommy, you're the best mommy in the whole world!"
I walked out of my room this morning and was greeted by our 14 year old who quietly said:
 " Good morning mommy, how did you sleep last night? "
Suddenly, I didn't feel the urge to crawl back under my covers. His sweet greeting was enough to energize me for the day ahead filled with soccer tournaments and a birthday party. 
There's nothing else that I would rather be doing. 

As messy and dysfunctional as our family may seem sometimes...

I genuinely believe that God uses my kids to bless us in amazing and humbling ways.  He didn't have to grace us with such a sweet 14 year old son, but He did only because He knew that we would need the extra sanity to keep running this marathon of attachment and parenting.

Happy 14th Birthday Stephen!
I cannot wait to meet your beautiful mother that gave you life and brought you into this world.
You are truly a miracle from God.
 We will always be proud of you
and proud to call you our son. 




  1. I love reading your blog! It so touches my heart and it also aches for you. I hope and pray that all of your adoptive Children turn around and love you as much as Stephan does. What a wonderful boy you have there. You are blessed and one day you will meet his birth Mother as I hope to with my daugther one day.

  2. Its almost 3 am! I've been reading through your blog for hours. I have a heart for children, especially ones that are yearning for love. Your blog is inspiring.

  3. Haven't seen any entries from you for awhile. I hope you are all doing well. I know that you have a deep love for your new children but know you also face huge challenges. .......I am praying that God will give you the strength and encouragement that you need for this journey you are on.

  4. Hi there! I'm Heather- I have a question about your blog. Could you please email me when you get a chance?!