Our time here is short and but a vapor. It passes more quickly than we often realize and, more often, would like to slow down. We blink and our children are grown before our very eyes. As it's been said so many times before: The days pass so slowly, but the years so fast.
Four years ago today, our younger son arrived in the United States from Ukraine.
There are many who might be surprised by this, but when I think of Cava, I don't think of him as my "adopted" son. No, I only think of him as my son. It's hard to imagine our family without him in it.
Too often we hear how much we must have changed Cava's life, but what people fail to grasp is how much he has changed ours. Cava has brought an infectious enthusiasm and joy for life that has infiltrated our very dynamic. He is brave and kind. With the latter, this year there's been a girl who has bullied him and other kids at Cava's school. Whenever something like this occurs, it takes Cava out of where he is and puts him back in the frame-of-reference of the orphanages back in Ukraine. He has a hard time with cruelty and meanness in others. This girl tormented him. Recently, she was sent to another school. To my surprise, Cava was worried about her. He, in fact, was the one who suggested we pray for her that night before bed. There is a compassion in him that reaches out to the very ones most of us would choose to hold an anger towards.
When there weren't enough snack cakes at a party, Cava offered up his to someone else because he didn't want them to go without. That staggers my imagination that a child who grew up where children were all about self-protection and getting for themselves because no one else looked after them, that he is caring and concerned about other kids.
Watching him interact with others and seeing how they love him is amazing. People are in his corner and root for his success. He draws the embrace and tenderness of those who meet him. We go to a lot of doctors' offices and, not too long ago, as we were sitting in the lobby of one, one of the young assistants came rushing out to see Cava. She knows how much he loves birds and, using her own money, she bought him a beautifully illustrated book on the subject. "When I saw this," she smiled, "I thought of you." Cava returned that smile with his own big grin and then with one of his big "Cava" hugs. As his play therapist says, "He has everybody here wrapped around his finger."
Cava is truly a special and unique child. Not a day has passed that I have not, with a heart filled with gratitude, thanked God that He allowed us to have this blessing of a boy in our family.
No, it's not always easy. Adoptive children offer their own set of unique circumstances and issues, but those challenges only makes the successes that much sweeter.
There is a light and a life in Cava that inspires and makes me want to be a better, more kind and compassionate person.
Yes, he has grown and changed a lot in these past four years and he has helped us to do the same. He has broken open our hearts to the hurting and least of these in the world.
For anyone considering adopting, I will say that it can be hard, challenging, difficult and you will have times that you feel like you're overwhelmed and drowning, but I would give up my comfort and my daily routine joyfully for this child. Nothing of any great value is ever easy or simple. Adoption is a lot of hard work and even more patience. To those who make the excuse, "Oh, I could never do that." You can. When it's your child, you find a way. You find the strength. And you find God in a way that you never did before.
God commands, not asks, us to take care of orphans and kids in foster care. Scriptures are filled with verses calling us to do so. God does not give us the option out, so we must take a good look at ourselves and admit:
1. We believe what God commands.
2. We don't.
3. We just don't care.
We have to decide. There are far too many kids in orphanages and foster homes that need forever families to love and care for them, to love them into the kingdom of God. How can they see the love of a God they can't see, if they can't see the love of people around them who they can see? We are to be the hands and feet of Christ to these children. We can offer God our obedience or our excuses.
I pray that the journey our family is one will, through Christ, inspire others to overcome all fears and trepidations, so that they, too, can step out in faith to adopt or foster kids who desperately need someone in their corner to remind them they are loved, they are special, they are of value and they are of worth. That is what God does when we are adopted as His sons and daughters, so, too, must we do that for children who are meant to become our own sons and our own daughters.
Please prayerfully consider adoption or becoming a foster family. If you aren't called to adopt, find a way to come alongside those who are. Find a way to mentor or sponsor or help the fatherless of this world.
Trust me, when you do, nothing makes it all worth it than to see a child go from forgotten to favored, from loneliness to love, from despair to dreaming, from emptied to embraced, from abandoned to adored.
Nothing changes you like seeing a child begin to grasp their meaning, their purpose, their worth and to hear them call you "Mommy" or "Papa." To hear them say and mean it, "I love you."
If you do, your life will never be the same again - thank God!