Friday, September 26, 2014

Labor Day

Joshua was born on September 1st, 2014.  
Labor Day.

I spent two days in labor (and in denial) and landed at the hospital just in time.  Just a few hours before he was born, I was timing contractions on an app while walking around Bass Pro Shops with Paul and the kids, wondering if this would be the day.

It was.

While the kids were playing outside with Paul, my cute little contractions rolled over into massive, falling-on-the-floor-waves while I was on the phone with Belinda (I was trying to convince her I was probably in false labor) and suddenly my house was filled with neighbors and friends and babysitters, all helping Paul and I get out the door.

Delivery was fast, and I found myself staring into the face that was the result of a thousand miracles and even more prayers.  

The next day, friends who had been waiting to meet Joshua began pouring into the hospital.

This picture of Becky meeting my son, the same one she and I mourned together in the Chicago hospital, brings me to tears every time.

And finally, it was time for him to meet his siblings. 

He belongs to all of them, equally, and they know it. 

 After coming home, I have seen each child care for Joshua in their own way.  Lilly and Daisy are "Little Mamas" and are such a help to me.  

Coming from a place where children are often the caregivers of other children, Haven is very protective over Joshua.

Aaron makes sure I know when Joshua is crying, and he insists I pick him up right away!  If I do not get there quick enough, I often find a toy car or block sitting on Joshua's chest.  He wants Brother to know we are here for him.  

Birthing a child after 4 adoptions has changed my perspective.  I am more appreciative of the privilege of caring for my newborn.

I find myself comparing my children's institutional life - and what they lost and missed in these early weeks and months - to Joshua's life.  

For example, now that Joshua is 1 month and weighs 9 pounds, 
I have not forgotten that this was what Mimi weighed at 1 YEARS old.  

As we hit that 1-month mark, I think of the pain and loss that 3 of my babies were ALREADY experiencing at this point in their lives, and how one son's life can differ so much from another's.

But that was Before.

And this is After.

I praise God for giving us all a picture of how it SHOULD be - of babies wrapped up warm in the love of their family home.  I know seeing this played out in our family serves as healing for my adopted children.

Every child deserves this.

And someday, when Christ returns, the fact that there are more children than there are parents in this world will be remedied.

 He is coming to set things straight and claim His children as sons, and adoption and foster care will no longer be necessary

(Come quickly!)

Until He returns, all of these children are stewarded to our earthly care.  They are worth fighting for, they are worth our time, our attention, our sacrifice, and our patience.  They are the only earthly treasure in our homes that we have any chance of bringing into eternity.  

They are arrows to be shot out into the world to reflect His Glory and tell His Story.  They are the future rulers in the Millennial Kingdom.  And they are a picture of His love for us.

And as we fumble our way through this life as the parents of seven of these treasures, we cling more than ever to the saving Grace of Jesus, freeing us from the standards and expectations of this world - and from the Law - which we can never appease.

We could never deserve this.  

And we thank Him everyday for a seat among Princes
and for this abundant heritage.

"He raises the poor from the dust, 
and lifts the needy from the ash heap; 
He sits them with princes, 
with the princes of His people. 
He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children."