Sometimes you look at a child and think this kid isn't cute. They don't listen. They do things behind my back. They disobey rules that I'm sure they understand. They don't love me. They don't know me from some stranger at the Wal Mart optical center. They wouldn't care if they never saw me again, and, in fact, are probably expecting just that. They have no attachments to anyone in this world. They go from person to person winning them over with their smile and desire to be held then turning around and doing everything they can to manipulate that person right under their nose. This just isn't fun. What are we doing?
Then, in other times of pure joy, you have a moment. You get "that feeling." You think how could I not love this child that doesn't really know how to love? How can I ignore that this child had no life, no training, no love, no unconditional anything until a few months ago. How can I place blame or dislike a little person that smiles and has no idea that the first eight years of their life in a situation which taught them nothing about social graces, boundaries, love, affection... not to mention anything academic or educational in the least. And the smile changes your mind.
And your icy heart melts.
And you unclench your jaw.
And you take a deep breath.
And you hug the little one that came to sit by your side, on their terms, to get the attention that they crave yet they don't understand.
And you see the surface smile, but look deeper. You see the trust beginning to develop. The attachment beginning to form. You see the little person that doesn't understand why their life was turned upside down and who is happy in spite of it.
And you know what? You feel love. That unconditional kind that only a parent can really understand. The kind that loves and hugs and forgives even when a child just peed all over a new couch or threw their dinner plate on the floor or stole someone else's dinner or threw every toy out the window when you weren't looking or tackled their sister instead of hugging her or waited for you to disappear around the corner to steal toys that someone else is using. The momma love that overlooks the breath that doesn't ever appear to get better and the general body scent that hasn't yet gone away after the orphanage. The love that says I love you no matter what.
Know what else? Our Heavenly Father does it so much better, and so much more for us every day. He loves us despite our inability to show Him the love He deserves. Despite our mistakes. Despite our intentional things we do wrong. He loves us even though he knows we know the rules, and yet we break them. He can look into our very hearts and souls and see that little spark in there that really does love Him. The part that really wants to get to know him. And even when we've yelled at our kids or gotten upset over nothing with our husband... when we haven't done the dishes and instead turned on the computer to browse the internet... when we skipped over our quiet time and slept an extra 30 minutes and when we walk around knowing what He desires for us and we ignore it at the same time... He's still right there. That Papa love that doesn't stop loving.
Adoption isn't about doing what's good for us. It's about forever loving a child. And sometimes it is the best reminder ever that just like our new child who grins and disobeys and tries to get things to always go her way... I was once just as lost before I turned my life over to Christ. And now... I still fail. And He still loves me in spite of my bad breath and tangled hair :) Sins included, Jesus' love is unfailing.
I want to show that love, and I want to live in it every day.
Then you sing a song. And you read a story. And you learn to love all over again...