We make choices for our kids. All of the choices at first. Then we start involving them in the decision process. Eventually they learn to think for themselves and decide for themselves.
We asked Jackie if she wants us to be her mommy and daddy. She was there years old. She said yes with a huge smile. For a month we pursued her heart, visiting her in her foster home, listened to her, played, shared of ourselves with her. She accepted her new name. She accepted her new home, not because the old one was not good. On the contrary. It was a good home. But the foster parents who cared for her, poured in her the confidence that she will be ok, and that her home is with us now. We are her family forever, to give her a name and home to call her own.
She’s always had a say. Because she has a strong voice and strong opinions. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable. But good.
She chose to go to school this fall even though she had the option to stay another year in kindergarten because she is born in October. We observed her. We got input from her teacher. She had a comprehensive evaluation which she passed. But it was all fueled by her drive.
I try to not make anything a power struggle, by giving her freedom in many areas, and reserving my executive power in the things that I am responsible for, as the adult and the parent I am.
It’s tempting to second-guess decisions. I wondered if adopting her is better for her. I waited patiently in line, for someone else to decide for us. When we were matched. We listened to the professionals’ guidance and advice. We enlisted others support and help. We earned their trust.
We adopted her and gave her our best. And have never regretted a minute of it. She had made us better people chiseling away our selfishness and stretching and strengthening our abilities.
Her presence in our lives is so normal, we forget she is different, because she was grafted into our family, and as a whole we are more fruitful.
On this family camp, we naturally brought up her adoption. We answered questions, we took a few trips down the memory lane. I love how it was so ordinary and yet so extraordinary. I relived the moment we met her, the first months together, what it took to adopt her. And how everything felt like grace, and how we walked with open hands through the entire journey.
We made the decision to adopt her. And changed her life. Changed her name.
And while I felt a sense of complete relief in saying sorry to her disgruntled question as to why I changed her name, just a few days later I feel the clarity to own it. I adopted her. And in front of God, I did and do the best I can.
We take her to Church, we make friends who live by a certain set of principals, with morals and solid belief. We go on family trips, take her to a certain school, live in a certain neighborhood.
She has American relatives whom we visit, is entitled to American citizenship, she is prayed for and we are going to adopt her biological sister.
I love her to the moon and back. She is our gift from God and everything we give her has been gifted to us. We are not hoarders of gifts. Everything we have is blessed and multiplied when we give it away freely.
One day she may rebel, she may be ungrateful. She owes us nothing. But she owes her life to her Creator. And that’s not negotiable. Meanwhile, gratitude is learned through the small things.