Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Miracle To Me

I am painted with a fresh coat of wonder that our children found us. Maybe by number three it should seem somewhat commonplace, but I hear them whispering down the stairs in the morning, and I am amazed. I brush their teeth, stir their oatmeal, fold tiny t-shirts - Amazed.

I have to look twice, sometimes. To me, they are Calvin, Ruby, Silas. They are just my babies. It's only when we get double-length looks at the grocery store that it hits me - our family does not blend. Only then do I truly remember that so many little ones look smack-dab like their mamas or daddies. It stings my heart that my children will never hear those words. Will they miss them? Will they notice?

A fistful of mornings ago, the "babies" still sleeping, Calvin launched into a story that began with the line, "Back when I was in my foster mommy's tummy..." I almost let it go. I didn't want to have this talk before I had even brushed my teeth. Standing barefooted at the counter, getting ready to stir the oatmeal, I said the words. "Calvin, you were not in your foster mommy's tummy. You were in your birth mommy's tummy."

A pause. A tilt of his head. A look.

I had very recently told Cory that I thought Calvin was confused by this. He and his brother hear about their foster mommies who cared for them until they could "come home". Ruby knows her birth mama by name, receives surprise notes telling her, "The world is more beautiful because you are in it." Their stories might look the same to passersby, but they are each different.

So, I explained again. And he really listened this time. I had the floor. He asked about her. And I told him what I knew in my heart, "Calvin, she loves you very much. She looked at your cute, round face and she kissed it so many times. She thought you were the most precious baby in the world. She wanted you to be in a family that could take the best care of you. And out of all of the babies in the world, and all of the families in the world, God matched us up. Forever."

Those almond eyes - they looked right into me. That chin quivered.

"I wish I lived in Korea because...."

And mama interrupted, "I know, because it's your country."

"No! Because it's my own, special habitat."

How does he know this already? How does he understand? He's right.

I rubbed that little back and we talked about flying across the ocean, one day.

I whispered one of the truest truth's I know: "Calvin, you were such a brave baby to come to our family on an airplane."

So often, people, in their own sense of wonder, maybe, or in their attempt to fill the silence, tell us how brave, wonderful, "good" we are "to do this". Without exception, I shove down the impulse to shout, "No, they are brave. They are good. They are wonderful. We got the easy end of this deal."

My pie-in-the-sky wish is for each of my children to wear their baby-bravery like a badge of honor. I hope it takes them places. I hope they learn, early on, that there is room in their hearts for all different kinds of love. I hope a tiny seed of courage grows in their hearts, even now. Life is easier when we trust enough to make the hard choices. This fine thread is woven into their very lives, stitched in place by three beautiful ladies who trusted so far beyond themselves.

And I am simply amazed.

74 comments:

  1. Oh girl I just love you. You have such a gift. Every time I read your blog I'm either moved to tears or giggles. I love your heart for those babies who were given to you by God. He knew exactly what He was doing when He entrusted them to you. Your understanding and patience with them is just precious.

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  2. beautiful words. and i am simply amazed too. god knew what He was knitting together...and it is beautiful.

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  3. You need to publish... because I'd be buying!

    Beautiful.

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  4. This post struck a chord with me... :)

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  5. such a wonderful thing to share. my heart understands a tiny bit of what it's like to talk to your babies about being different from other families and i think you did a marvelous job. so many people are afraid of being honest with their children and i think that does a disservice to them. your calvin is beautiful and smart and loved and those things will take his heart to amazingly healing places. blessings to you are your littles!

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  6. Calvin is such a precious, tender, old soul. Love him. Our children are indeed so brave. I'm continually reminded of all the losses in Lily's short life. We are blessed mamas, you and I, to have been give the gift of loving these amazing kids. Thanks for sharing this piece of your heart.

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  7. You write so beautifully and have such a wonderful outlook on life. You must write a book for us!

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  8. Your way with words is sheer poetry. Your story telling encompasses the innocence of your children and your amazing strength. I want to be a mom like you to my son every day. You amaze me....and humble me as well.

    Cheers~
    e

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  9. i echo the words here... you brought tears. you mother so beautifully. God shines...

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  10. such beautifully blurry words...when read through tears.

    so. well. said.

    can I cut and paste your words for future referrence??

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  11. Happy, amazed tears for you... God knew what He was doing bringing you all together.

    You are ALL wonderful!

    Mikal

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  12. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. What a wonderful mother (and writer) you are. Much love to you and your perfectly blended family.

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  13. Tears for me too. I'm such an emotional baby when it comes to a beautiful story like this :) God sure loves you guys!

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  14. So beautifully said. Isn't it amazing? I look at my Izzy, and I just see her as mine...our daughter, who God matched with us. She is ours..every little bit. Her story is her story, and my other three have their stories too. Your family is absolutely beautiful....

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  15. Thank you for putting words to my feelings. You summed it up exactly. My little guy is just now getting to the age where he is asking questions about his journey to us, and I am doing my best to help him understand all of his story. :)

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  16. You know how much this means to me & max...

    XOXO

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  17. Shannan, that was the most beautiful thing I have ever read. You and your babies are so BOTH blessed to have each other!

    Perfectly stated.

    ~mary~

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  18. Shannon ~ First off let me start by saying that I am the crazy girl who "stalked" you @ PV a few Sundays ago. I hope you don't think me coo-coo!? Now that the introductions are out of the way ... thank you so much for your post! I truly feel every word you said as we have had that same, yet different, talk w/ our son Bennett. Tomorrow marks the 5th anniversary of standing in that hotel in Guatemala City, laying my eyes on him in person for the first time and his skin touching mine. I didn't know then that I would love so much yet hurt so much during these types of talks. Ours usually happen at night, sometimes random, sometimes after a visit with his birth sister. The talks can be hard and you are right, THEY are the brave ones! I thank God everyday for granting me the privelage of raising such a brave boy, of loving him, loving his birth family, his birthcountry. I know the feelings of the eyes "staring" when to you and I they are just our babies. I tell Bennett this makes him even more special .. to smile like they are paparrazi! :) Thanks for the words of encouragement that truly help me along. We are truly lucky to have our children ... each and every one!

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  19. Thankyou, farmgirl... such precious thoughts, ours favor us, nobody ever wonders... but I see the birthmommies faces, and know. I wonder so many times, what a bio-child would look like of ours, I think I caught a 'glimpse' of her the other day. But of course it wasn't, it was a look into another world that isn't mine.
    thanks for your encouragment to be brave in whatever circumstance, to look into the eye of the hurricane and get on board.
    ....

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  20. Sweet Calvin! What a beautiful post about matters of the heart. Love your writing!

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  21. I hope you get your wish. I think you will. So amazing, why not expect more miracles?
    Thank you for this. You guys are in my prayers.

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  22. What you said to Calvin was perfect. He has so much wisdom. I think he gets that from his mama. You and Cory are wonderful parents and your three littles couldn't be luckier. I don't want to make light of their "losses" but their gain is so much more! And the stares in the grocery stores...Honey, you've got BEAUTIFUL children, of course we're going to look! I pray that you always have the wisdom to answer the hard questions that they have for you.xoxo

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  23. You are creating amazing human beings who will do great things in this world! :) They are each a mighty miracle for sure...
    Hugs,
    Rhonda

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  24. Thank you so much for sharing these intimate moments w/us. They are beautiful. I admire and agree with all your honesty.
    You know what strikes me the most? That he trusted you with his heart - he told you just what he was thinking/feeling and trusted/knew that you could handle it . . . and still love him . . . just BEAUTIFUL! I think this kind of Love and Security is what we all long for.
    God's Work . . .

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  25. That Calvin is just one of a kind. I love his heart. And it makes me so happy that he is betrothed to his slightly older friend, Emma. Your babies are brave. And you are both so lucky.

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  26. Thank you for sharing these tender moments. As a mama who feels led to adopt, you've blessed my heart.

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  27. This made me tear up. From the phrase "stings my heart" to Calvin's questions and your incredibly wise answers. You have such good perspective on the whole situation.

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  28. You are so right. You are better for being thier mommy and daddy. They are better for finding you. And we are all better for you sharing them with us. Love you cous. XOXO

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  29. Beautiful. It seems to me God knew exactly what He was doing when he placed those precious babies in your loving home!

    Hugs ~

    :) T

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  30. Children just know things. I work with many adopted children, and the ones that ask questions and have them answered are the ones that adjust the best, love the most and understand things beyond our own imaginations. You are doing a brilliant job. We must always remember to look back at ourselves and to know wholeheartedly where we came from - there is peace and contentment in that. Your children, too, will find that in time...

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  31. Please pass the Kleenex! You're all so blessed to have each other!
    xoxoxo
    Char

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  32. Wonderful post. You have such beautiful, thoughtful children.

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  33. Beautiful post and your family is a true inspiration.

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  34. I am speechless, That was incredible.
    Kristin

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  35. fpfg...i wish you and me could sit down and have a talk about all of this. it is so in my heart right now. i have so many questions. but your words are awe inspiring to me, and i'll take what i can get. every day i feel this tug from somewhere...i'm not done with babies yet. even if i'm not the one to give birth to them, i have a lot of life in me to share! thanks for the great post! happy monday!

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  36. Beautiful words. YOu need a book of your blog writings. Someday the kids can all read them and will know the love you have for them.

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  37. *now sniffling* what an insightful little boy you have! We just don't give credit where it is due sometimes. Children are much wiser than we think - they just have a difficult time expressing their thoughts. Calvin expressed his profoundly in that moment.

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  38. Beautifully spoken, and an amazing little boy. You truly have a gift for writing...

    just so you know, as a mom parenting her biological children, I frequently feel that same sense of awe- that God entrusted that precious little soul to us. I look at my two girls and amazed that we were chosen to parent them.....

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  39. Hi there...you have lots of comments on this post, so I'm not even sure you'll read this one, or, as I'm about to ask, respond...but, I'd love to hear your story...how you came to adopt 3 little ones. You commented on my blog a few weeks ago, I think...thank you.
    I was a foster care social worker awhile back (now i work with kids at risk in romania) and I remember my boss talking about a family who adopted several foster kids...they had this celebratory party and lots of people were telling the parents how great they were and then telling the kids that they'd been adopted into a great family. my boss said she wanted to stop everything and say: do you know how blessed you are to adopt such great kids?

    :)

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  40. Amen, sister friend!

    Kylynn too talks about Jack being in his foster mommy's tummy, Jack is yet to grasp the things we say. I thank you for your words that you said to him, I might just print them out and memorize them to say to him someday.

    Nothing makes me grind my teeth more than when someone makes me into Mother Theresa for adopting my baby, you are so right that my part was the easiest, all I got from it were blessings and more blessings, it is my children that will feel pain from the complicated way they became mine.

    Thanks for the connection to your world today. Love your beautiful family!

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  41. Shanny, what can I say?? I wish you only knew how many times I have said to Dad,"Well, no wonder, Shannan had nose bleeds too,Shannan asked the most amazing questions too, or Shannan was so sensitive too at that age." So many many times I completely forget that they don't resemble us outwardly,but they are MY grandchildren, and they are absolutely you and Cory's children. I too have am reminded that others see the difference right away, but I praise the wonderful Lord we serve that I only see three wonderful babies(sorry Calvin),that were hand picked by the hands that hold the whole world in them. You are an amazing Mommy, and I am so proud of you!!

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  42. Oh you put me to tears there & so did your mama's comment above. I think your kids are incredibly brave & that you are ALL blessed to have God match you up together so perfectly. I can't imagine the talks that you have had and that are to come, but I know you will conquer them all together. You are their Mommy regardless of appearance and genetics - you wipe their noses & tears, give them hugs & kiss, read their books, and do their bedtime prayers - that's what a Mommy is made of!

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  43. Beautifully written. Love this post. Printer-worthy.

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  44. the domestic fringeJune 14, 2010 at 6:31 PM

    You brought tears to my eyes. One of your best posts (that I've read and they are all good)! I think you are all brave and the picture of love. It's wonderful how you have these conversations with your children. You are amazing parents!
    -FringeGirl

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  45. Love your blog - follow it daily! Keep up the good work with those babies!

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  46. What a beautiful woman you are to realize what a huge, beautiful and selfless choice those ladies made for their beautiful babes.

    Totally got me tearin' up. Hugs, The Lady

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  47. what a beautiful heart you have- I love this post.

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  48. Well, thanks for that. We have two homegrowns, and one store bought... from Korea, just like Calvin, as you know. We have had a sun-shiney experience up until this point, and I know one day he will wonder... You are so good at explaining things... But, rest assured: your family is his habitat. No where else would be a fit, b/c that is where God made him for, where he should fit. He might be older, and have to go experience different places, even Korea, before he realizes it fully. You are his perfect match, God said so.
    Glad to have your family to go on this journey with...
    Love and Hugs.
    Missy

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  49. You have such a sweet and loving family! And you have such an amazing way of expressing your love toward your kiddos. They are very lucky indeed.

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  50. Shannan, I have been "lurking" for a few weeks now... I am a high school classmate of Keisha's and was catching up on her blog and recognized yours from hers. My maiden name is Westfall (if that helps). That is irrelevant, but I wanted to let you know how I came to read your blog.

    I have been so touched and inspired by your blog. Some nights I read it like a novel (or a collection of short stories I suppose). I think I've made it to mid 2009 now. Still have a bit to go. I have been waiting for "the right post" to comment but knew that I would comment eventually. Well this one did it. Absolutely moved me to tears. My husband and I are just starting to consider adoption. Initially because of struggles with infertility but now because God seems to be drawing us in that direction (regardless of whether we can have biological children). This post was just so encouraging and inspiring. I would love to ask you more questions about your journey, but I am guessing you don't have a lot of free time to chat with a (mostly) stranger. At any rate, I just wanted to let you know how encouraging your posts have been to me. Your blog has absolutely helped me in this fledgling journey towards adoption. I'm sure you need no extra motivation, but please do keep blogging. It is making a difference in my life and heart. The truth, beauty, and humility in your writing is awesome. You should consider writing a book. Now I'm rambling.... just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts!!

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  51. I have no idea now how I came to your blog but I am so grateful. Thank you for sharing Calvin's conversation with us. I won't forget it.

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  52. This post made me weep. Exactly why it touched a chord in me is a mish-mash of lots of things that aren't really ultimately important -- but... thanks for sharing those words. They are beautiful, and wise beyond measure.

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  53. I'm in tears after reading this. Sweet, sweet babies. You are right. They are brave.

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  54. There's joy in my heart just from reading this post! Your family is truly blessed! Thanks for sharing.
    ~Holly

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  55. Thank you for sharing this post. You have no idea how it touched me~

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  56. well shoot if I knew I was going to cry coming here today, I surely would have had some extra tissues on hand...**sigh** you are one amazing mommy...and they are brave, and you are brave for loving them, cause that kind of love can hurt and heal at all the same time...and so worth it! muwahhhh....thank you for sharing...your little is darling...oh wait all three littles are darling! ;)

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  57. What a perfectly wonderful family that was selected just for you... my heart is mush reading your beautiful words.
    xo,
    LuLu

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  58. God picked each of them... just for you! I think that is both amazing and beautiful. What a touching post!

    Stopping by from Chatting at the Sky! :)

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  59. the most beautiful way to start the day. Not only is your heart lovely and kind...it is so, so wise!

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  60. Shan ~
    I don't even remember what this post was about....I just caught the sight of that first photo of Cory and Silas and feel like melting. It is such a beautiful photo of father and child.

    Have a great day!

    ~Heather

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  61. Teary eyed as I say those children are so very blessed to have you as their momma!!

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  63. You are truly an amazingly blessed woman! You have such a gift with words I haven't been following your blog for a while and decided to take a peek today and I forgot how much your blog touches me so much!

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  64. this is such a moving post. so, so beautiful.

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  65. That was lovely. So lovely. Babes come to mamas in all different ways. And then the stories tell themselves....so cool that we get to witness our life through their eyes, no matter if they look a thing like ours or not. I think there is a lot of bravery and beauty in you, dear mama, as well as your kids.

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  66. This post was truly the most amazing, beautiful, touching, not a dry eye in the house post. You are such a great writer and you wanna talk brave. I think you and your husband are two brave people flying across the country for your babies. I think it takes special people to adopt and God knew that when he picked you and your husband three times!

    Megan

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  67. Truly. Truly, I can promise you I have never been moved to tears reading a blog. Ok, wait, maybe ONCE.... until today.

    This just squeezed my heart.

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  68. That was the most amazing blog, it totally grabbed my mama's heart. I can't imagine how sweet and tender that moment was, and I bet you had a hard time getting those words out! YOU are so blessed, and so are those wonderful kidos.

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  69. Hello my Bethany adoption friend! Just had to go back and read some of your adoption posts. Don't know if you go back and read comments on old posts, but oh well. In any case, thought you'd like to know that my husband has 2 Korean sisters, each has children who are half-Korean/half caucasian; his brother has a Korean son and a Scandinavian one that came the old-fashioned way, and our son is from the Philippines. I truly forget, sometimes, what our family looks like to strangers. I think it's a foretaste of heaven. Also, my baby girl/bride-to-be forgets, sometimes I think, that she's adopted--asking me questions about pregnancy, childbirth, and nursing--like I would have any idea! So you have that to look forward to. What a lovely family! Blessings.

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  70. wow. that is all i have. wow. I love this blog, i love your story. i love your kids. congratulations on such a beautiful family.

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  71. I'm in tears right now reading your words. I just wanted to say that the world is a more beautiful place because you are in it.

    God bless - Rach

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