Do things that make the white guy at WalMart say, “Da** girl, how many baby daddies have you had? An adoption story.

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Everyday. That’s how often someone asks me about adoption.

Most people want to know- “Doesn’t it wreck your life?

I don’t think people ask everyone who has adopted this same question. I don’t think the person who adopts the cutie pie little baby is asked this question. I’m sure their most asked question is different.

I think it’s the people who adopt the older “un-adoptables” who are asked my question. Sort of like – everyone loves puppies, but the older pit-bulls- nobody wants.

The problem is:

They all wreck your life.

Big, little; nice or mean. HIV positive, healthy. Two months old, ten years old. Domestic, International. All of them. They all wreck you.

This is how I want to answer everyone who asks.

It’s hard. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Each day, everyday. It.is.hard.

It’s hard because when I go to the school and the kids in her class interview me, like they do all of the other MVP student’s moms,  they want to know: “What was her first word?” And of course, I can’t say, “Well, I only met her nine months ago… let me get back to ya on that”  ; )

It’s hard because when we celebrate birthdays in our home- we look at baby pictures. And for them, there simply are none. And the truth is: there never will be.

It’s hard because as much as you try to be mom and you really are- you simply are not the only mom they’ve ever known and you never will be because they still remember that mom.

It’s hard because as much as you tell them you love them- at first, they wonder if you’re for real.

It’s hard because, by this age, they really should know how to take baths, eat food, pour water or simply apply chapstick and lotion but they just don’t.

It’s hard because every now and then, they tell you stories of dark nights, no mattresses or food. They remember bugs crawling on them, and dogs hurting them. They have stories of dads yelling and people leaving. Over and over again.

It’s hard because as much as you love them- as much as they’re yours forever and you’d take a whole dozen of them. You still get really mad because someone did this to them.

And then I think:

Oh yeah, you bet we’ve been wrecked.

We’ve been wrecked by that sweet Jesus who makes all things new. Wrecked by this love He has shown us in real life by the true heart of adoption. Wrecked by this reality. Really? Is this the way it is? Jesus loves me? Me? Messy, abandoned me? Me? Always messing up, never getting it right, me?  He.adopted.me?

And now, out of the love of two broken people– two people He adopted into His family, that man of mine and little ‘ol me, we get to show the love of a savior to two kiddos? Two kiddos who, as you can tell, are totally “Gibson”…

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Let me give it to ya straight.

Adoption isn’t for everyone. I get that. I’m not saying it is. Fruit Loops aren’t for everyone either. But just so you know, I think they’re delish. =)

Here is something else I do know. God is moving in the hearts of His people to care for orphans. It simply must be the reason I am asked every single day about adoption. It must be the reason my email is flooded with questions from people I don’t even know asking me how to help with their hurting adopted kids. It must be the reason I am asked, almost daily, “How do I adopt.”

If you are someone who is asking that question allow me to share with you this:

Adoption is hard.

The paperwork is endless, the people involved in the process aren’t always the best. It will require a lot of work. Your house may need some changes- your perspective might need some fine tuning. Some kids are really messed up, they need your love pretty bad. Some people are rude to you- it’s just the truth. Like the man at Wal-Mart who took it upon himself to ask me “Damn girl, how many baby daddies have you had?” as my little crew of white and brown children trailed behind me– totaling six all together ; )

Yeah, he must be a real winner.

Who cares about all of that stuff.

Here is what really matters:

Today I watched my boys play basketball in the freezing cold wearing matching NBA sweatbands. And if the nerdy matching sweatbands weren’t enough to make this momma tear up- I heard Triston (who is adopted) say, “You’re the best brother Judah.”

Here is what really matters:

Two days ago we celebrated Ashley’s ninth birthday- it was her first birthday with us. The truth is, she doesn’t know what this momma was really celebrating. I was celebrating her surviving those first eight years and rejoicing in knowing she gets to live the rest of them- no longer surviving.

Those are the kinds of things that really matter.

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The hard paperwork and countless expenses associated with adoption will fade away.  In fact, some people don’t even have much expense or paperwork. The truth is- the scary unknowns don’t stay unknown for long. And who knows? Your house might be more ready than you think. Someone might answer you “yes” to adopting, rather than “no”. You just never know until you go for it.

When I watch this video- [the video just below]  I know it’s about a sweet baby and the fight for clean water. But I want you to know this:

When you adopt- THIS is the type of world, wonder, and opportunity you offer a child. A chance to see it all for the first time. A chance for them to fulfill their “If I had a mommy and daddy list” and believe me.

They have that list.

“Once I knew only darkness and stillness… my life was without past or future… but a little word from the fingers of another fell into my hand that clutched at emptiness, and my heart leaped to the rapture of living.”

-Helen Keller

May we be the hands that clutch at emptiness, friends.

All my love made possible thru Him,

Kati

Related Posts:
Jesus can love thru a crazy person like me?: an adoption story.
His grace covers even the drug addict, time and time again.

 

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some people don’t need to hear about jesus

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When we got there, of course, it happened again. Looking around in amazement, I thought to myself, “Just get busy and get rid of some of this stuff.”

She seemed to walk fine to me, playing with her little puppy outside. In fact, when we got there she was walking around her yard on her cell phone. Why does she need our help, I wondered.

I unloaded my little children into the cold evening air expecting to finish in two hours only to reach the gate and know it would take much more than a cold evening, this would take another day.

She had replied to an ad we had placed in the local paper offering free leaf raking help to local people 55+ who either needed help or needed us to do the job for them. We were there to rake her yard. A simple task. After all, her yard needed major help, it hadn’t been helped for several years.

When you walked through the gate, you could see her life that once was. Play toys, flower gardens, sitting areas, and even a pool. At first glance someone would think…

“This person doesn’t need help, she just needs to clean up her yard.” 

 That is what I love about our Jesus. It’s not always the person who needs help he’s helping, it’s usually me. 

We worked hard that night, doing as much as we could.  The kids we’re having a blast, there were so many leaves to have fun in, making piles, running and jumping. Discovering treasures that had been buried under the mess of leaves for what looked like, years. 

I always do it. I judge. I make excuses for why someone isn’t worthy of my Graces. Why I don’t have time to help. Why my help won’t make a difference because I’m just one person- we’re just one family.

I really am a mess. 

As I worked that night, I couldn’t stop thinking about Grace and how absolutely desperate I am for the precious gift. I also thought about how so many people look to me like they don’t need [or deserve] it.

 I stopped and chatted with *Ms. Martha for a bit. She told me of her grandkids who once swam in the big pool (now overtaken with weeds) and how long she saved for that patio furniture nobody sits in anymore. She shared with me about all the pins in her back, the countless surgeries she had endured and how she was preparing for yet another one. She said thank you countless times. When we left, her eyes filled with tears and she said,  

“Nobody ever helps.” 

 

She had experienced Grace and I don’t really know how it happened. I mean, all we did was rake some leaves. My goodness, the kids even argued a few times over the rakes. 

How does grace show up looking like some crazy kids and a tired mom? 

Of this I am always reminded: when we love people, no matter how big or small He does all the rest. He moves and stirs their hearts the way they need stirred. The way only he knows. He uses our crazy, messed up lives to love and help people. 

It’s how they know, He [that magnificent jesus of ours] cares. 

They know He cares because you came. Because you sat and chatted, because you touched them. Because you hugged them, cleaned their house, talked them away from their addiction one more time, took them into your home one more time, or perhaps forgave them once again. 

I realized that night, for the first time. Some people are just ready to see Jesus.

Some people don’t need to be taught about Jesus; they don’t even need to hear the Sunday sermon. They’ve heard it all before– they know all about our Jesus. They’ve heard the stories. The heartbreaking truth? Some may even sit in a pew all their days and never really see Jesus.

I’d like to tell you it’s always easy. I’d like to tell you loving on people always brings contentment to your soul, always fills your voids.  I’d like to tell you everyone I’ve ever touched was nice. I’d like to tell you my kids understood yesterday when I denied the homeless man a dollar but then he denied me the opportunity to buy him lunch or even bend to pray with him. I’d like to tell you I’m totally content where I am in serving others and I’d like to tell you I  don’t pray each time I read Katie’s  updates that He would send me there to help. I’d like to tell you, I don’t question God and beg Him to let me do something more. I’d like to tell you I’ve never had to stop and pray before we step foot out the door- headed to help- asking that sweet Jesus to forgive me for yelling at the kids or being impatient when we’re trying to get out of the house. I’d like to tell you I didn’t have to ask for peoples forgiveness time and time again.

But I can’t

I can’t because I am desperate. So, desperate for His Grace. I can’t because I’m broken. I’m broken and only complete in Him.

Like so many, I didn’t deserve grace. I was a liar and a thief.  I was an unwed mother at 17. I was selfish,  mean, and full of hate. I was broken.

But grace? That gift I don’t understand one bit? I fell into it hard. And when it caught me, it changed me. It didn’t take away my struggles- no. It gave me a hand to hold thru the struggles. It gave me hope of a day with no struggles. It gave me peace.

It said, “Hey you. I really love you.”

And He has to say it over and over again: “No, no, no. for real. YOU. I love you. Hey Kati- I know the world says you’re no good or not good enough. I know your mind says you have to get it all right before I’ll love you. But no, for real. I love you now. Messy yard and all. Messed up plans, dreams, and hopes- I’ve got that. Wrong decisions, damaged relationships- I’ve got that.”

Someone really loves like that? Yup. He sure does.

Reminds me of a story:

John 8:1-11

New Living Translation (NLT)

A Woman Caught in Adultery

8 Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”11 “No, Lord,” she said.And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

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I bet she thought she was a total loser ; ) And He just loved her, showing grace in abundance. He’s pretty cool like that.

May you fall into grace today and everyday friend and rest there peacefully. May it cause you to be a crazy bright light- shining for Him everywhere you go. And when you fall and stumble? Like I do every.single.day. may he gently help you up. dust you off. and make you new.over and over again.

All my messy, broken love~
Kati

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*ms. martha’s name changed for story

His grace covers even the drug addict – time & time again.

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I remember when it finally hit me.

Sitting at a mexican restaurant eating lunch, with a twenty-something aged man named Dan. Me, only 17. There’s a baby car seat sitting at the table with us; my little Alli is only weeks old.

He’s telling me how good of a mom I am. How would he really know?

A few nights before, we had sat up all night long. Alli laying next to me on the sofa at my friends house- all of us as high as could be. Who knows when we had slept last. I had met him there, at my friends house. She thought he would be a great “fit”.

He was nice. You would never guess. Responsible adult by day, drug addict by night.

I was nice. You would never guess. Responsible momma by day, drug addict by night.

At lunch that day, both of us dressed our best, wearing our “responsible look” he says to me- “So, you do drugs, huh?”

What? I do what? Oh, that sounds bad.

“Well, I… I… I... wouldn’t put it that way. I mean, I just do the one kind, well… maybe two.”

That day, it hit me. I had never thought of it that way.  I know it seems strange. But when we’re caught up in something we like, something that makes us feel good- we don’t always know we’re caught, do we?

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I sit with women each week on Wednesday afternoons. They come in. Grey stripes, neon orange slip on sandals, worn eyes. They usually didn’t know.

They were caught. And more than one way. They were caught living a life that had them fooled. They were caught doing something I’ve done countless times. They were caught doing something someone all of us know and love does. Drugs, DUI, past due fines, stealing, fighting, abuse. The list goes on and on.

There they are- Alone. Lonely. Dirty. Ashamed. Some, ready for change- others ready to resume life as it was. All in desperate need of a saviors love. Someone in their life saw it just like Dan did that day. Someone knew what they were caught up in. I guess we always see what others are caught up in though, don’t we? We just don’t always see what we’re caught up in ourselves. 

This is the beauty of  Jesus. The way he makes us new.

I still crave it from time to time. The rush of doing a line. The endless days, getting everything done- never being tired. Just because you surrender your heart to Jesus doesn’t mean you don’t still struggle with those old ties of pleasure. The difference is- he is now your strength, your rock to help you conquer those desires. Even now, I can hear a song from that time in my life and all of those emotions come back. I can see a person here in my little town and I am brought back to all of the secrets we shared. And just like that- Jesus has to save me all over again.

This is the beauty of being caught up in his unending love. To think, he loves me. Me, the way he does. He knows my heart, my desires, my struggles, and he still loves me. He’s always loving me through evil thoughts, painful desires, judgmental attitude; and self – righteous ‘christian’ pride. He loves me through all the things in get caught up in. Time and time again. And each time- the story of his grace gets bigger and my struggle gets smaller.  Each time, I’m redeemed all.over.again.

What amazing grace.

“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3: 4-7 NIV

Surrendering daily,
Kati