I have known great love in my life. I was cherished as a child. My husband has lavished love upon me. My relationship with Jesus is a love affair of the soul. There is another great love story in my life and none of you that know me even a little will be surprised to know that it involves the remarkable love of adoption.
We have adopted seven children. Three were infants when they came to us as foster children – 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months. We had the great joy of being able to adopt them after they had been with us and after we had grown to love them. They, being very young had no real say in the matter but, as they also had grown to love us, it was a welcome and beautiful turn of events for us all.
Our other four children would be what is referred to as older-child adoptions. The youngest of those came to us at 3 years of age and when the adoption occurred he was 5 but, still too young to have much of a voice about it. He knew he was loved and he knew he was safe and he loved us back with great abandon. That was enough.
The other three were indeed old enough to have an opinion. Having joined us as foster children at ages 6, 7 & 8, each arrived with adoption as the plan. The adoptions happened when they were 9,10 & 9 yrs old. They were young but, they were a part of the decision to be a forever family.
I’d like you to stop and think for a moment of children you know that are 9 & 10. Think of the emotional fragility of that age and the tender hearts, the feelings that are stirring as they become tweens, the dependence upon the adults in their lives for guidance and self-worth, the way they need affirmation and encouragement. Then, I’d like for you to think of them, uprooted, unsure, traumatized, confused, frightened and ‘in the system’. I know that wasn’t pleasant. There’s nothing pleasant about a child, any child being in such a place. You’ve just imagined the real plight of thousands of children.
If you’ll bear with me there’s a point to these thoughts. One more thought path. After being in such a terrible predicament, think of them having to answer the question of ‘will you be mine’? Think of the enormity of it. Think of the trust required, the risk taken, the courage needed.
I hear a lot of concerns about the risks that accompany adopting older children. I’m not going to tell you it isn’t risky. Love is risky business. Love leaves you vulnerable. But, the risk is just as real for the children being adopted as it is for the adults who are adopting.
Once, many decades ago my Henry asked me ‘will you be mine’? I answered yes. Once, maybe more than once, in your life time you have heard Jesus ask you ‘will you be mine’? You should answer yes. The day may come when a child who needs a family will ask you ‘will you be mine’? Will you answer yes? If you are blessed beyond measure as I have been, you may one day draw a child into your arms who has every right to hesitate to trust and ask them, ‘Will you be mine’? They will hopefully say yes.
We chose to adopt all seven of our children but three of them also chose us. This is the great love that we will celebrate this weekend and every weekend of our lives. The celebration of a question asked and the answer given.
“Will you be mine?”