Tuesday, October 18, 2011

31 Days: Letting Go of Control


It should go without saying that often the Letting Go is not our idea.

Often, it is something we would have never chosen on our own.

Can we be okay with that? Do we really trust enough to believe that our ideas are meaningless and that we are safe in the hands of the One who sees it all, knows it all, created it all?


I like to tell myself that I do trust like that, but then I start to think of heartbreaking things and terrifying things so I just stop thinking. I don't want to go there, because it's too complicated and it gives me the blues.


And then I think of my children, who were never asked if they were on board with leaving their birth families. They didn't sign up to be estranged from their culture or severed from their roots. They didn't agree to a life where they might never completely fit.

A few weeks ago the most precious little boy played with Silas and Ruby in the waiting room of the doctor's office. After several minutes, he looked up at me and said, "Are you her Mama?" I told him I was. His eyebrows scrunched together. "Then why she black?"

I had to laugh a little. He was so innocent in his asking. He had never conceived of such a thing. Ruby kept right on playing, but I know the day will come when she'll turn to watch my reaction. She'll stand in wait of what I'll say and tune her ear to how I'll explain it.

Just this past weekend, Calvin said to me out of the blue (as always), "Why do I have to be so different? I'm the only one in my class who is not an American." I assured him that he is an American, but I knew what he meant. I wanted to dodge the issue, if I'm being honest, because though it's always important to have these talks, it's typically not fun.

The questions come without warning and there are no easy answers. I understand that my babies experienced forfeit that they can't even wrap their minds around yet, and I know the day is coming when they will. Will they be able to trust that God allowed pain in their lives in order to bring about His full purpose in them?

My conversation with Calvin took a turn when he said, "Last night in the middle of the night I couldn't sleep, so I put on my head lamp and started to read." (fyi, this was news to me.) "I opened up the Bible and I read, 'Man looks at the outside, but God sees the true heart'. I turned off my light and went back to sleep with the biggest smile on my face and I couldn't stop thinking about it." I asked him what he thought as he fell back asleep. He said, "I thought, I'm different, but I'm perfect. I'm different, but I'm perfect. I'm different, but I'm perfect."

That right there is God showing up in the middle of the quiet night to make His power known in the life of one of his children. I had no idea that Calvin was struggling with these things at school, but God knew he was and He knew he would, from the beginning of time. He knew these days would come and that the questions would cast their haze over the hearts of my babies. These thoughts break my heart a little, but can I really, truly believe that they break the heart of Jesus even more? Can I fathom that His love for them puts mine to shame?

So He knew the pain would come, and still they sleep right now, just down the hall from me. Gifts that I did nothing to deserve. Gifts that I might not have asked for on my own. They are grace embodied, jammied up in little beds.

Sometimes God makes hard choices for us. I want to rest in that tonight.


*For the rest of the Letting Go series, click here.

78 comments:

  1. My heart swells when reading Calvin's words -- "I'm different, but I'm perfect." And the Lord leading him right to those words right at that moment (headlamp and all)... how truly great is our God!

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  2. I wish I had something really profound to say to these beautiful words. . . but I really want to say is how lucky you all are to have each other.
    I'm sure you did more than you know to deserve your children...God put them in wonderful hands.

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  3. And this post totally has me crying. It is just all so hard and so precious too. His hurt, his struggle - hard. His mama's heart, his turning to Jesus, his words - precious!

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  4. I'm tearful after reading Calvin's encounter with God in the middle of the night. That is so precious... and apparently for Calvin -- very timely. God is so good.

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  5. This is so completely precious. And oh so painfully and beautifully true.

    My hubby was married before me and his wife died a few months after their wedding. Now he and I have been married for almost 7 years and even though I wish our story could be more "normal" and usual, the Lord has given us a profound love for one another that wouldn't be there had the past been different, and had our story been normal.

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  6. Oh, just love it! This series has been a real & true blessing! Thank you & Calvin for sharing tonight.
    Traci

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  7. This is beautiful...the choices we have, the ones made for us, the ways we have before us to get through this world, how we have to parent through it and pray for strength through it. Man, it would be empty, gaping, and so forsaken without the ability to turn on the light and read the truth: I am different but I am perfect! AMEN!

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  8. i love the calvin story, oh my goodness, that is the most precious thing ever. i think that's what i am going to be thinking of when i go to sleep tonight. i'm different and i'm kinda perfect, too : )

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  9. I will always cherish this story. How wonderful to know God never slumbers or sleeps, He is always there for us.

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  10. I'm different but I'm perfect.
    AMAZING.
    Crying.
    Every day you make me cry.

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  11. Amen to that Calvin!
    and you were so right when you said we learn from our children.
    xo
    C

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  12. What a comfort it must be to you to know that when Calvin is scared he turns to Jesus. And how precious to see the Spirit ministering to him in the middle of the night.

    Thanks for sharing :) I have a giant smile on my face!

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  13. okay, so this made me cry.
    Is that not the most amazing thing ever? (the story, God, not my crying)

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  14. Your precious boy. He is perfect. Tears and a smile at the same time from me.
    And do you know how quotable you are? I just posted something from you today on facebook, and now I need to tape this to my fridge or mirror. "Sometimes God makes hard choices for us." We are in the midst of hard choices God is making for our family - some I am processing through right now, some I want to pull the covers over my head about and process another day. Blessings to you for your beautiful reminders to let go.

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  15. I think Calvin just stole my heart! Such a wise little man to turn to Truth for comfort. May God richly bless and comfort you and your family as you go through these uncertain times.

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  16. Shannon,
    I read the title of this post and thought "oh, boy, I can't wait to see what she has to say about this (may I also tell you that is it 1 a.m. and I have to get up at 6:10 a.m. to get ready for work?) (I blogged and you were the first updated blog on my list and I just had to see what you had to say)...and, if you aren't a FOR REAL teacher, you should be. Are you getting this "letting go" series from a book or from your head or from God or what? All I have to say is that it has been wonderful and has given me so much food for thought.
    CALVIN is a child way beyond his years...which is just a reflection of you and your husband.
    I have a similar but different situation in my life...my granddaughter has two mommies. Already a little girl has said "no daddy." We smiled and said "that is right." (this is my daughter and her wife)...I have come a long ways in being a mom to a gay child but there are times when I am with them...my daughter, her wife, the baby, I feel myself bracing in public, even against looks.
    o.k., I have to get to sleep. Keep teaching us, o.k.? love, Cheryl

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  17. i love this testimony. the unmerited favor of our lord will never cease to blow my mind. for that i am grateful.
    your calvin is right, reading and believing god's word like that. so freely. i want to do more of that. recognize the spirit speaking and then REST there.

    i love you and miss you! praying {i will never stop}

    xo ps it is twenty-nine degress here right now.

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  18. awe so sweet your little ones:)

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  19. Oh Shannon, God in his infinite wisdom placed those babies in a home where they would learn his word and be able to turn to it on sleepless nights. As the mom of grown up adopted children I know the path will not always be easy, the questions get complicated but Calvins answer is the best one I've heard to date...I'm different but I'm perfect. God wouldn't have it any other way. Many blessings sweet momma. Patty

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  20. Makes me cry. We have talked to Blaine about this so many times. Not different, just extra special!
    Michelle

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  21. Dearest Farmgirl/Rentalgirl, thank you for always sharing your story. I weep, but I'm always comforted.
    ~G~xo

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  22. Oh my goodness, (choking down huge lump in throat in true Brit fashion), he has worked it all out at his tender age! What a kid! I made my motto "Vive la difference" in my twenties, Calvin is already there. All different, all fabulous, because that's how God planned it.

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  23. It is so wonderfully awesome how God speaks to us through His word, no matter our age. I can just see Calvin with his head lamp on, opening his Bible and finding this gem straight from God to him. Then turning off the light, snuggling down with a huge smile on his face. I have done the same thing. Right now my heart is swelling with love and thankfulness to Jesus/God for the way He lovingly cares for all of us.

    Love and hugs to you and yours ~ FlowerLady

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  24. Oh my- what a great little boy you have there! Hey Calvin, I'm different, but perfect, too! :) Thanks for the reminder, buddy!

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  25. That right there is seriously powerful and that Calvin is wise beyond his years. Or mine even.

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  26. I literally got goosebumps all over when I read what Calvin read. God is faithful to His children, praise Him!

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  27. Precious boy! How wonderful that God literally illuminates His word straight into Calvin's heart. And now my heart too:)

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  28. What a precious family you have! God Bless!!

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  29. Again, beautiful words, perfectly timed. God is so good.

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  30. How cool is God that he talks directly to our kids with the answers they need? Calvin is a wise little man to turn to his Bible for answers. You have taught him well! :)

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  31. Wow...God's perfect timing is revealed once again.

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  32. It's posts like this that help me with my faith. I have a hard time sometimes, but who else but God could have shown that passage to Calvin. What a smart, sweet, beautiful boy.

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  33. Wow, what an amazing child he is! So wise.

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  34. Tell Calvin I really needed to hear that today.

    Thanks for sharing it!

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  35. So beautiful and profound.

    Calvin is lucky to have such great parents- that's the truth! It was you who taught him to read the bible and it's so great that he knows where to turn when he needs comfort.

    Isn't it amazing how wise children can be?

    Good job, Mommy!

    That was heartwarming.

    I've had many not-fun convos about race and death with my 8 year old nephew Emerson. I can relate to your feelings....

    Have a great day!!

    xo~

    TT

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  36. I have stopped over via Faded Prairie and am so glad i did, as i sit here with my teaary eyes i am once again amazed at the power of Gods love... the passage that Calvin read was just what he needed at the time to lull him to sleep. God bless you for the love you share and the teachings of faith that you have given your children. i am your newest follower. t. xoxooxo

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  37. I love how God speaks to our little ones. So perfect. Side note=good thing there weren't headlamps when I was growing up. I would have never slept, but stayed up reading all night myself!

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  38. I love it more than anything else when God speaks to my children. I love that Calvin has a headlamp. I love those colorful babies of yours.

    Lily is dealing with some sadness this week about her past. It started with, "I have two mothers." And then ended with, "Mothers are supposed to take care of their babies. Why didn't my birthmother want to take care of me?" Her hurt hurts me.

    Letting go of control for me means being reminded that my children are not mine. They belong to God, and I can't take all the hurt away or be the fixer. Or make them into who I think they should be. I can only love them and point them to the One who will never fail them, and He will fix/heal/develop/mold/LOVE/forgive/lead...

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  39. Typing thru tears...thank you for these beautiful words that you shared with us...your pain...your fears...your children's pain...and that God is ALWAYS with us...even in the middle of the night!!!

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  40. Loving your 31-days series! Children are so honest and open-minded - even when it may not be the right time for a conversation. It's one of my favorite things about them. (Other than the time my 4-year old ask me an anatomy question in the packed grocery line) :)

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  41. Um, what Calvin said? WOW! That is truly amazing, and gave me chills.

    By the way, I just started reading a book that's reminded me of some of your recent posts. It's called One Million Arrows by Julie Ferwerda, and it's a mission to raise our children to be world changers. Thought you might be interested.

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  42. "I'm different, but I'm perfect" this? brought tears. so beautifully written.

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  43. Give Calvin a big hug from me. I love that God met his need when he had it. God coming up with answers when we don't have the right words...love it. You are doing a wonderful job of raising your children and they will be blessed by you following God's call on your life.

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  44. When I start worrying about my children I pray and God always reminds me that he loves my boys more than I could even come close to....Such a great reminder. This post is so touching!

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  45. This is so heart-warming! I feel weird saying that, as though I'm saying "this makes me feel good" (as if my feelings matter more than conviction of the Spirit), but that's the best word I can think of for it! Praise God that your little guy is learning at such an early age to lean on Christ for his acceptance before the Father!

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  46. He does, indeed! Our trusting is worship.

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  47. Beautifully said.
    Although my children physically resemble my hubby and I, they experienced many little traumas when they just didn't fit in. Being different has many different hurts. And it takes awhile for the little ones to realize where acceptance should come from. I'm still dealing with my own differences!

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  48. Wow, I'm sharing this with my friend who is also the mother of two beautiful children adopted from Korea.

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  49. Silas looks angelic and very content.

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  50. Oh I love Calvin!! If only I could have faith like the little man!!

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  51. My precious daughter (adopted from China) just started asking more questions about adoption and what it means. I answer the best I can and know that there will be an internal process for her that I will never fully know or understand despite my desire and earnest attempts. I consider her to be the bravest person I know. To give up your country, your birth family, your language.....to come to the arms of people who adored you since the first thought of you but are strangers to you....is there anything more brave than that? I do not pity orphaned children. I feel they are some of our greatest teachers. Will we sign up for the class? That is the real question.

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  52. Thank you for writing with such honesty. Those questions that come out of nowhere can be so tough. My youngest is adopted from China. I try so hard in the moment to hear her and answer the best I can, praying the whole time. Usually, I walk away to cry when she's done talking. I don't have all the answers but I can keep pointing her to the One who does and the One who can fill every empty space. That way, in a quiet moment in the middle of the night, she'll turn to Him too. There have been so many moments throughout this whole process where I've been amazed that I could feel joy and pain at the exact same time. Keep sharing your heart, it blesses so many of us.

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  53. I am crying because your son just taught ME something. We are different but we are perfect. Thank you Calvin for helping me to see that today. And thank you FPF for being his voice and telling us so.

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  54. Calvin's story made me cry.

    Thanksalot.

    I love that Calvin chose his Bible over any other book.

    I love that He read it, and he listened.

    He LISTENED.

    How many kids do you know that understand how to listen to God?

    Calvin, that's who.

    Shan, you and Corey are doing things right. Keep following God.

    xxoo

    P.S.- You melt me like butter over that swoony Siley-boy.

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  55. Shannan,
    Listed you on my blog today as one of my faves with the 31 days series. Love how you share your heart and world here.

    Keep on writing, girl.

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  56. You need to put this series in a devotional book. You inspire me every day.

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  57. i am so, so, so very glad i read this tonight.

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  58. I'm not sure what to say. You said so much in so few words about such big things.

    I'll say this, I adore Calvin, and can't wait to see what God is doing in his little life, I am different but I am perfect, he amazes me.

    And the fact that these gifts, our children born of their first mama's body, are gifts we might have never asked for, is so true, it makes me weepy. Isn't that enough to make me trust Him, his plan was so much better than mine....

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  59. Wow. Shannan - I share your feelings. My Hudson - who is four now has recently asked (more then once), "Why is my skin darker then yours?" He doesn't like it - he wants to share the same skin tone as me. Of course, I love the way he is - I love, love his chocolate brown skin but he just wants to be the same. I love Calvin's words too - wow! Just another testimony of God's faithfulness. I love Him and am so thankful I can trust my kids and their hearts and mine too to Him. I will rest in that tonight too. I just love your blog, my friend!

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  60. Your words flow as if you are sitting next to me having a conversation. I feel like i know you, have known you for years. You are such a gifted writer.

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  61. you are SO real! I love the feeling I get that you are in some ways so much like me, that you show me that being a Christian does not mean you and your life are going to be perfect. You are teaching me so much from the lessons you learn..Thanks so so much for having this blog x

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  62. Wow...from the mouths of babes. A good lesson for every child...no matter how they joined a family.

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  63. For some reason, lately little folks are asking many questions about our twins being adopted (and noting that they look different than us). We have been used to the stares for years, but the questions sometimes throw us for a loop. Hard to put into words.....Silas did a great job of that!

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  64. This series is amazing and that exchange with Calvin is beautiful in so many different ways.

    May I ask what Bible he has that put that Scripture so accurately but so easy to understand, even for a child his age? In working with children in AWANA so often their Bibles aren't understandable to them. I took to carrying one in my tote bag that was much simplerc but alas it was lost in a house fire.

    How wonderful that he was able to find comfort -- on his own, no less -- from God's Word. That will only strengthen his spiritual muscles for the next time he faces questions. Love it!

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  65. Bless his heart! Wish I knew you in real life, because that really makes me want to hug you, or him, or just somebody! May he always rest in the knowledge that he is perfect in Christ's eyes. And may I just say, all three of your kids are just stinkin' adorable!

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  66. It's so hard being a mama sometimes. My baby is 17 yrs old now, but I can remember when he was a small boy....no daddy around, very skinny, shy little boy. Not rambunctious (spelling?) like typical boys. It didn't take long for some of the other boys to start picking on him. Because he was different from them (more artsy than athletic) they accused him of being gay. Aren't kids so mean? They talk about things that they shouldn't even know about. The bullying got so bad that year that I decided to homeschool him for two years after that. That was the best decision I ever made!

    Long story short, he did go back to school after 2 yrs and has done very well. He still walks to the beat of a different drum, but has embraced his differences and loves a diversity of people in his company. He's a super sweet guy with lots of friends, but his best friend is Jesus :)

    I'm so sorry I rambled on and on.....I just couldn't help but think of those hard times as mothers when our children aren't treated fairly. But God is with them and will not leave them. I spend alot of time in prayer for my boy....as college comes up soon, I'm sure I'll spend twice as much time talking with the Lord :)

    God bless you and your sweet family:)

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  67. Honestly Shannon,
    I'm not generally a teary person, but this, this made that lump in my throat a good one. Calvin, oh my, how can you not thank God for placing that boy in your life, and down the road he will be thanking the same big guy for giving him someone who gave him the wisdom to open up that big o'l book in the middle of the night to find answers. This is a wonderful place to visit.
    Dana

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  68. I can totally relate to this post. I'm not "normal". I lived in a small rural town in the middle of nohwere in Texas...did you get all that? I'm 1/2 Filipino. I lived with my very American paternal grandparents. My unconventional childhood made me who I am. I won't say it was all easy, there were times of soul searching and questioning. Somehow it's all worked itself out and I thank God for how it all did.

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  69. Shannan...
    Wise beyond years. Sometimes it is the differences which draws us so close. Your Calvin is perfection with flaws so pure that he brings laughter to my soul. Children have such innocence that we often forget and mistake their honesty for something that it is not. While they are just inquiring and asking what they believe to be something simple it typically is much more to us adults.
    why can't life just be simple? Time and time again. Your words remind me, and bring a smile to my face. Thank you.

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  70. wow...I'm different, but I'm perfect...wow wow wow...soul stirring....

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  71. He made me cry. How beautiful that he realized something so important at such a young age. You are truly blessed with a very special family. I feel honored that you share them with all of us.

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  72. Michael,age 9, has Septo Optic Dysplasia and slightly autistic. He says"I am special" then asks everyone are they special also. Jer. 29:11 and Phil.4:13 are his verses we pray over him and he has had them memorized a long time. He may not fully understand their meaning but God is giving him acceptence and friendships by so many people. Whether we are different or special God loves us, no wonder Calvin and Michael can sleep.

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  73. Such a blessing to know Calvin knows to go to the Word and his heavenly Father for comfort. That's a lesson some adults haven't learned yet. Control is a struggle with me. It takes a conscious decision to let go of what I deem control which is in no way "real" control.

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  74. As the mother of an adopted daughter, this post put a big fat lump in my throat and brought back so many memories of the early years. From the beginning, and before she was old enough to ask a single question, it is important that adopted children hear they were not an accident, nor an afterthought, but an answer to our prayers. Eventually, they understand, and it is so beneficial in those inquisitive years when they want to know everything (and deserve to). Honest answers are the only way they can embrace who they are and understand how much they are loved and were wanted.

    Raising children (adopted or biological) is filled with those letting go of control moments. In the end, it's all OK, but, yes, it can be terrifying and heartbreaking.

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  75. bless you, calvin. i so needed that.

    ps still praying (and loving you right up) today. :)

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  76. Jesus' love for our children puts ours to shame. Oh. How I love that! How I love how He ministered to your precious boy in the wee hours of the night. How this post makes me feel safe in His love for my children and His love for me.

    Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful.

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