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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Silence:

     My mother (82), stooped in her wheel chair, was blankly watching the TV. In the corner closest to the picture window sat my Dad (83), his head bowed, eyes closed, exhausted from carrying his burden and the visits to the nursing home twice each day. Caddy corner from Dad, my sister (53), whose epileptic seizures and mild retardation will never allow her to be on her own, sat engrossed in a book. No one heard me enter the small room.
     For a moment I stood silently taking in the profound picture of my aged parents. When Mom noticed me, a broad smile spread across her face. I hadn't visited in two weeks. She had been waiting for me to come trim her finger nails, groom her eyebrows, give her teeth a good brushing as well as take her outside for a stroll, bring her a milkshake, and lift her legs when she needed them rearranged.
     Before Dad and my sister left for home, I caught them up on all my family's news. A lot had happened in two weeks with my children and grandchildren, but my biggest and best piece of information I held until last: Bob and I had begun the paperwork for TJ's adoption. I feared someone may ask them about it in the course of a casual conversation. I knew I had to tell them. I did not want to. I was fairly certain I knew how they would respond.
     I parked myself on the edge of Mom's bed, with her next to me in her chair and Dad ever so slightly behind my shoulder. I came to the end of my litany of activities in my children's lives and the conversation came to a lull. "And . . . Bob and I have decided to adopt TJ." There it plunged like a block of frozen lead.
     Silence. Awkward silence. Dad stared at nothing on the floor. Mom looked at her knees. My sister continued reading, oblivious.
     "Well. OK then. We prayed about this for over a year. We weighed the pros and the cons. The truth is that this decision is not about us, but what is best for a little six year old girl."
     Silence. Suddenly I was thrown back not too many years ago, facing my parents disapproval. My mother, always vocal about her feeling and thoughts about me, did not have to say anything. I had heard it for decades: 'You're not thinking! You're so emotional. You can't handle what you have. You're not responsible. You don't have enough money.' and blah blah blah. I continued. "God puts the fatherless in families and we are TJ's family. Everyone deserves a good family."
     Finally, my Dad spoke up. "It's not right what some children have to live through and you are right, everyone deserves a good family." That is as close to approval I will get from Dad, but Mom remained silent.
     My parents will never hold me high in their esteem They are confounded by our decision to adopt, but God has knit my new family together in ways that they cannot understand and it is important to Him that both Anna and TJ be our children. That makes it important to me. I am hurt that my mother will never approve and I have to shrug it off.  My obedience to my Lord is so much more important.
     TJ has begun to refer to herself as TJ Lillis. Everyone she meets soon knows she is being adopted. She now has a home with a family who thinks she is special and her tragic past is quickly fading to a forgotten memory.
     God's plans are perfect.

   

Monday, June 13, 2011

Thanks alot, TJ!

"Momma, you look old today."
"I am old, TJ."
"Yea. But I thought all that stuff you put on your face is suppose to make you look younger."
"It takes a long time to work. How old do you think I should look?"
"82."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Tense Moment

     Please revisit "I Can't Tell Her the Truth," from July 6, 2010, before reading this post.

     Bob and I had known this day was not far away, yet we never discussed which direction our decision should take. We avoided the discussion with vague utterances of inconsequence, never addressing the question but well aware of the weight, breadth, and complications to either choice. The call had come. There could be no more stalling. After a short conference we reached a consensus and decided we had to talk to TJ.

     TJ, comfortably propped up on six pillows on our bed, was deeply engrossed in late afternoon cartoons. Bob and I anxiously entered our bedroom, neither of us knowing how to approach a sensitive and difficult topic with a six year old.  "TJ," I spoke quietly,"Daddy and I need to talk to you. No. You are not in trouble, but it is important." Alarm and panic seized her replacing her carefree expression with fear.
     I placed myself cross-legged in the middle of the bed, Bob sat on the edge, while TJ remained surrounded by pillows, eyes wide open, expecting the worst. I started solemnly. "We got a call from your caseworker today. There was a court hearing. The judge decided since Melissa is in jail for a long time it would be best for you to find a family that would be your forever family with a forever mom and dad. Daddy and I were wondering if you would let us be your forever parents."
     TJ's brow furrowed, trying to comprehend what we were saying. She laid her chin in her hand, thinking, her extended index finger tapping on her cheek. "Let me think about it." While she was thinking Bob explained she would never go to another home, her last name would change to ours, and she would still see her brother - who is also being adopted by another family. She thought some more, leaving Bob and I wondering what she would choose. Finally, with a heavy sigh, nonchalant tone she gave us her answer, "OK."
     That was it? 'OK?' We expected a little more enthusiasm then that! I cocked my head and gave a quizzical look when she bounced up on her knees and lurched toward me yelling,"I'm so happy!" We hugged and laughed and talked about her new last name. Her life is changed forever