Is it just me, or do the years seem to pass by now more quickly? It seems the older I get, or perhaps the more kiddos we have, the more quickly life seems to speed up. And not only does time seem to go by more quickly, but we also seem to pack a whole lot more into that time as well. As shocking as it is, Jude has been with us for a YEAR now(to the date!) and every single experience with him these past 365 days have made this year not only one of our fastest, but also one of our best. This time last year we were embarking on a new life as a family of four but also on the treatment of various new medical conditions we had no prior experience with. Jude has seen 9 medical specialists, had countless shots and needle sticks, had his entire spine MRI’d, 2 Urodynamic tests, a bronchoscopy, kidney ultrasounds, several swallow and hearing evaluations, stitches, way too many x-rays to count, and undergone three major surgeries all in under a year.
All of these doctor visits, medical treatments, and hospitalizations would wear on any adult let alone a small child, but as I have stated before, our boy is a WARRIOR! He has faced each of these tremendously difficult tests and/or procedures with courage and unwavering bravery. What’s more, he has been able to complete what needed to be done and get quickly back to just living and loving his life.
This little boy was not “saved” by us as some have speculated and vocalized; we were actually the ones saved by him; and I would be remiss if I didn’t state that his brother had largely saved us as well. Both of our boys are hero’s to us and I hope to many who read this blog as well. They both have endured many hardships in their short little lives and both have revealed more about life and love to Jay and I than 30+ years of living in this world ever could. I spend a lot of time on this blog discussing our international adoption of Jude, but we have adopted domestically too. Both forms of adoption are hard, both come with some really tough stuff, and one is not “easier” than the other in any way, shape, or form, but that is a much deeper topic and I don’t want to get off track for this post. But what about our oldest son, while we’re on the topic? How has he been affected by our international adoption and his life in a multicultural family? Ya know, in a world full of racism, hatred, and ignorance, Jude’s life and adoption has taught Jayden the true ability to see past skin color, culture, and ethnicity. He has learned we are all way more alike than we are different, and more importantly that family is more than the blood running through our veins. People often ask how Jayden has adapted to having a brother in the house that doesn’t LOOK like him. Many times Jayden has been asked on the playground by other children why his brother doesn’t look like him and I love watching and hearing his response which usually goes something like, “He was born in China, we went there and I got to walk on the Great Wall, but mostly he is just my brother”. If we do nothing else as parents, Jay and I are striving to raise kiddos who are not only accepting of other people’s cultures, races, and backgrounds but people who grow up and change their world, people who leave this place better than when they were born into it, and people who teach others how to be respectful, tolerant, and loving as well (God knows many of the parents of kids asking Jayden these questions on the playground right in front of Jude were often too busy on their phones to help teach such important life lessons). We are immensely proud of our oldest son. He amazes us each and everyday. He watches out for his brother, accepts all of him with all of his medical conditions and is not bitter about them, he helps to make sure he is safe and healthily, and is proud of his little brother for being so brave in the face of all of his adversity. Jayden struggled at first, not with having a sibling from another country, or with the thought of another race infiltrating his home, possessions, and space; he struggled with learning to be a brother as ALL only children do. But he is an awesome brother and Jude thinks the world of him. We all do.
I personally always knew that love was powerful, but to watch how it has literally transformed ALL of our lives has been nothing short of breath taking. We have watched a little boy who went through a lot of very tough early life transitions grow into an amazing, intelligent, athletic, caring, funny, beloved son. We have watched another little boy who never knew the love of a family transform into a beautiful, smart, articulate, fun loving, gentle, much valued son. I say that last part because Jude in particular, knows exactly how we feel about him and he truly believes it too. That is so hard for an orphan to do who has never had someone place any sort of value on them or their life. Both of our adoptions continue to change me, my heart, and my family. I thought that it would be something great for Jude; being taken out of an orphanage, placed in a family, getting the medical care he desperately needed, and loved on by two people who were just trying their best after reading a bunch of books. But adoption continues to surpass my understanding of EVERYTHING, especially God, His Love for all of us, and our real purposes here. God made us to Love; even commands us to love, and He commands we care for these precious souls, and ya know why? Because He, the all-knowing, all loving God, knows it will be best for US to do so. That we, who answer the call to care for the orphan, WE will be the ones blessed by it. We are CRAZY nuts about both our boys (as my dear mother in law would say) and we thank God everyday we embarked on this journey WITH them. And ya know what’s even crazier? We are gonna do it again!(Yes, already!) God has done some amazing work recently in us, and we are getting ready to start this crazy journey all over again to add a little pink to our lives! We are all tremendously excited and can't wait to see what God has in store this time around. Here we go again!
(Another Adoption Paperwork Packet!)