Wednesday, July 14, 2010

This is not for Your Enjoyment

Posted by Mandy at 8:48 AM
It's for them.

I'm adopted. I came to my family straight from the hospital as a foster placement. No one suspected I'd stay there forever, but I am so thankful for my then foster parents' YES. Because of them I have a wonderful family. I was never bounced around from home to home. They were willing to suffer the heartache of loving me and letting me go so that I could have the best life possible. Thankfully, that heartache never came. I share their last name, and I know that I am loved. Adored. Gushed over. Squeezed tightly and held sweetly. I am loved.

This is my big sister. She was born from my mom's body. Some people probably thought, or even said, that helping kids like me would harm her somehow. It would take away from her. She looks like she's suffering, doesn't she? Do you know my sister? She's the spunkiest kid in the world. I'm pretty sure she'll end up with 5 biological children and at least 4 adopted "chocolate" babies. I am so lucky that this vanilla family always wanted a chocolate baby just like me! I was a special request from my sisters, before I was even born.

I wish my sister's eyes were open in ANY of the pictures Mrs. Mandy took because you would not believe how stunningly beautiful they are. Very unique.. not a dime a dozen. Anywho - she's also adopted. Like me, she came as a foster child. Sadly, her story is not like mine. It's no one's business what my sweet sister had suffered in her short 3 years of life before she came to be with my family, but it definitely was of no fault of her own. Unlike me, she was bounced around before finally finding her forever home here with us. This left her with some serious attachment issues... and who can blame her? When love has only ever hurt you over your entire life - how do you readily accept it?

If there was a poster child for attachment disorders, she'd be it. If there was a poster family for dealing with attachment disorders, my family would be it. Unconditional love. She's never known that before my mom and dad. She's come so far. She is a very loving and caring sister. She adores me... and lets me take all of her toys and looks at the same books with me over and over again, just to see me laugh at my favorite part. I'm so glad my parents were able to put their yes on the table for my big sister! What would my life be like without her?

This is another sister of mine (Yes, I have 5...) and she can best be described as a laugh a minute. EVERYTHING is funny to her. She's a really good friend, and I love to follow her around to see what types of things we can get into together. She is the absolute best at getting into stuff.

My sweet sister here also came into our home as a foster placement (at age 1) and is now adopted. Her story is also quite sad, but thank God for people willing to say "yes" to providing happy endings! If my parents wouldn't have taken her in, where do you think she'd be today? I don't know for sure, but I know she wouldn't be with me. I know I wouldn't be with my family. Being that I'm a black little girl... I might not be with anyone. No one wants kids that look like me. We're considered "hard to place."

Why is that? What's so bad about being mocha colored?

 I think I'm just beautiful.. and so does everyone I see. At least that's what I hear them say all of the time. I've heard around town that little boys that look like me are the hardest kids to place with anyone. Even as babies. Phone call after phone call for a newborn, black baby boy from his caseworker met with "no" after "no" after "no." As he wonders why he's not being held. Why no one is looking into his eyes and telling him how precious he is. What a gift from God he is. Isn't that what all babies should receive? I'm glad I got that from my parents! Even though they thought they'd lose me in the end, and they thought that from the start, they still poured their hearts out for me. They wanted me to be snuggled, to be held, kissed, talked to, and spoiled absolutely rotten.

I don't know if my parents would feel like something were missing if they would have never said yes to any of us. I don't know if somewhere there would be a hole in their hearts or if God would be whispering "there's something more." I wonder if they would be able to live a normal life with their three biological children without ever giving a thought to us. Would it be like we didn't exist at all? Would anyone see us? Would we be real to anyone in this world? I don't know. I do know that if they wouldn't have said yes, I would feel like there was something missing. There would be a hole in my heart and God would be reassuring me that "there's something more."

I'm just a sweet little toddler, but what an impact my little life has had. My sisters and I have encouraged at least one other family to put their yes on the table. We put a face to the nameless children in the system. We took a lot of the fear away with our hugs, kisses, smiles, and silliness. We gave reality checks when needed to what issues we have, and what issues we don't have.

Yes, I'm sure that my parents have struggled more than I'll ever know by being foster/adoptive parents. The heartache of the children that have come and gone, and friends lost, the rejection from family and society because our family doesn't look like a cookie-cutter, straight from a magazine, family. The heartache of having "friends" refuse to take care of our children because they don't want their own kids around yours... the worry, the tears, the stress. The doctor's appointments, the therapy, the ongoing battle with RAD and who knows what else.

I'm also sure that my parents have received more love, blessings, grace, mercy, and knowledge about what it means to really love as Christ does because of this journey. They've TAUGHT others how to do the same just by living. Just by being obedient. It's amazing how one family can create such a wave of action. It really does just take one.

My friends the Mosses are starting this journey now. My mom and Mrs. Mandy are already plotting my future marriage to the "hard to place" black baby Mrs. Mandy is sure they'll be raising. Mrs. Mandy thinks that plan may go out the window because her vanilla boy Samuel is already in love with me. We'll see.. I like to keep my options open.

You can visit my mom's blog to read more about all 6 of us kids. We're all girls! Find us at Sugar and Spice. Let her know how much she rocks for being who she is. And, my dad, too. It can't be easy being the only boy.. even the cat and dog are girls... but he handles it well.

Taking care of children without families isn't a special calling - it's a calling that God gives to all Christians. Would you leave a homeless child sitting outside of your front door? Make a hundred excuses as to why it just "isn't for you" or why you can't help her? Or would you open your door, feed her, clothe her, and love her? These children aren't out where we can see them in today's time.. but the problem is still the same. Please, pray for homes for these children. Pray for healing. Pray for support for the families that do say yes. Pray for action. ACTION is the only answer.

"All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke


Reagan on Wednesday, 14 July, 2010 said...

WOW! What a tremendous post. I was so encouraged to read this! Matt and I have thrown fostering/adopting back and forth ... I'll share this with him!

dean on Thursday, 15 July, 2010 said...

mandy... this was beautifully written! having been in children's home ministry for 8 years, the last 2 at an emergency shelter (and most recently having just completed MAPP classes), this hit real close to home. i'll be praying for you as you begin your own journey. God bless you!

Brooke on Friday, 16 July, 2010 said...

thank you for sharing this post!! God has been stirring my heart for foster care....and asking me to be a "YES" person in regards to babies.

Mommy Spirit on Friday, 16 July, 2010 said...

Mandy, What a beautiful and inspirational post. I've always thought about adopting/foster care/ or at the very least, Big Brothers/Big Sisters. There are so many children who need our help. Your blog is so inspirational--all your entries. Like Dean said, it's beautifully written.

Dalia - Gen X Mom on Saturday, 17 July, 2010 said...

She is such a wonderful post. So well written. It should be spread all over. Thank you for sharing.

Maury on Saturday, 17 July, 2010 said...

I cried as I read this post b/c I love these girls and their momma, and they are all so special!!! I also cried b/c you really tugged at my heart for my own babies. I also cried about all the other foster/adoptive children I know, some with wonderful homes, and some that don't have a home. I cried b/c I am so excited that you are about to begin this journey with us, and very soon you will know this love that we feel for these beautiful children.

Mandy on Sunday, 18 July, 2010 said...

Maury, I wish I had pics of your beautiful kids to share, as well. I thought of you the entire time I was writing. You and Brandy have been my rocks through this journey! And, we've not even begun, yet. :)

Zeemaid on Thursday, 29 July, 2010 said...

This brought tears to my eyes. I can't imagine someone turning down a precious baby just because he/she was black. It's crazy.

thank you for sharing this. It was very beautiful!

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