Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Not Blind Sided, Blown Away

- Have you seen the movie The Blind Side? You have to see it. Now. Today. If Batman won't go with you, I will go with you! - My sweet friend Jilly Girl (if this is your first visit, everyone has super anonymous nicknames on my blog) said this to me last Monday. Batman & I went to see the movie, and it was like we were watching our life unfold on screen! But we didn't feel like we were being Blind Sided so much as we were being Blown Away! Blown Away by the fact that we realize more and more with each passing day that we just can't out-give God. We think we have experienced all the goodness He can possibly have in store for us, we've been so richly blessed, and then it's like he's our daddy on Christmas morning & he's more excited for us to wake up than we are because we've grown warm & comfy in our beds. We re-enter consciousness knowing that God is good, and anticipating that He has a little something for us under the tree, but really we aren't expecting much as we sleepily tip-toe down the stairs. We have no idea the magnitude of love the Father has for us.

So here's what happened:

I went to the local grocery store for my morning coffee on Thanksgiving. You know how God works in mysterious and wonderful ways...? I ended up having one of those *divinely appointed* conversations with a sweet 19 year old girl (Sorpresa Bellísima - "Bella" for short) and her friend (Super Estrella) who work there and that we've been getting to know over the last year or so. It went a little something like this (in a very tiny nutshell, because in truth I am never this efficient with words):

Estrella: Sra. Smith, you have to tell Bella about your kids and how you got them!

Me: Well, we adopted the boys out of foster care, and Hermosa was a private adoption who came as a complete surprise.

Estrella y Bella: Do you still want more kids?

Me: Oh, sure! In fact, just 2 weeks ago a pastor got our name from a friend & called to tell us about a baby boy, but it didn't work out. It happens once in awhile, because people know we are open. It doesn't get us down too much when things don't work out, because we sincerely believe that God divinely ordains families to be together, and even in an adoptive situation God already has a family chosen for that baby or that child. So if it isn't us, we just wait. We don't worry about missing out on a child that is supposed to be ours because we know God will work it out.

Bella: I am so glad you told me that story! I actually grew up in & out of foster care.

Me: Oh, wow! And were you adopted?

Bella: No, I wasn't.

Me (fighting very hard my desire to go around the counter, grab her and take her home with me immediately, instead attempted to calmly ask): So are you in touch with your family? Where do you live? What are you doing for Thanksgiving today?

Bella: No, I am not in contact with them. I rent a room from a couple in town, and I am spending the day with a family who has been more like family to me than anyone. I mean, they're not my family, but they say they're my family and they're really great.

So, knowing she was taken care of for the day, and also knowing that if I stayed around another minute I was for sure either going to cry or go grab her and bring her home... I said, "Happy Thanksgiving" & left. When I got home & told Batman he couldn't believe I didn't bring her home right then :) I couldn't even go hug her neck after she told me because I knew I wouldn't be able to let her go if I did!!

Well, long story short... that conversation led to us inviting Bella to church & lunch the next Sunday and then spending pretty much every moment of free time we had together over the course of the week. She got to be in our house both clean & not clean, with the kids both behaving & not so much, and nights when I cooked as well as nights we broke the diet & drove through Taco Bell. We wanted her to really see us as we are and have a glimpse of an idea as to whether she might be able to see herself in our family. Then, on Saturday night after much prayer and seeking, Batman and I asked Bella to join our family through adoption (you can legally adopt a 19 year old, who knew?!) and she said YES!!! We moved her in Sunday, and now we are in the process of getting her settled & preparing to spend our first Christmas together. In January we will begin the legal process of making her ours forever.

Bella is a dear sweet girl, who had endeared herself to us already over the course of many months. She grew up in & out of foster care, and ultimately petitioned the court for emancipation at 17. She's been on her own since then, living with friends or renting a room from a couple who's children are grown. She is a full-time college student, and she has a strong faith. God has protected her in so many ways, and she has done a great job of taking care of herself. We just want to lighten her load & let her be taken care of for a change :)

The night we approached Bella with joining our family, one of her many questions was "why?". She said she knew why it made sense for her to want a family and to want to be with us, but that she didn't know what in the world would make us want her, especially at her age. I thought for a second of how to respond, and then it came to me. I took her by the hand & brought her to the dining room table. I told her that that one seat had been empty for way too long & that we thought it just felt right when she sat there. We're simply a better family when she's here. I think she got it then. At least a little.

It is now my hope and prayer that I remember being her age well enough to be able to be there for her in all the right ways. Help her make good decisions, guard her heart, finish school, etc. Obviously parenting a teenager is new to us, and we will soon have 2 of them as Capitán turns 13 before she turns 20 :) but we are buckled up for the exciting ride and holding fast in prayer and scripture to guide us. Already she has added so much to our lives and hearts. We are blessed indeed.

Oh, and if you haven't seen The Blind Side yet, go see it asap! We really did feel like we were watching our lives unfold on screen in many ways (except for the part about the parents being uber wealthy and the kid being a big black football player, that is!! wink.)