How My Child Became OUR Child

Have you ever watched someone fall in love?  Had that moment when you look at two people and you just know that they are meant to be together, even if they don’t know it yet themselves?

That happened to me this summer.

Soccer Boy and my friend Stephanie fell in love.

I knew it at this moment, and I took a picture of it.    P1010810

We were at the zoo, and I turned around and saw them standing there.  And felt it.  I think Stephanie is his mom.

I lost my breath.  But…but…I thought that maybe *I* was his mom.

I was overcome with emotion that day.  What was I thinking?  Where did this come from?  As the day went along, though, it was clear that something was happening.  Stephanie got it.  She fell into his rhythms so quickly.  It didn’t matter that he spoke a different language.  It didn’t matter that none of us knew if we would ever see him again.  Having him here was enough for now.

She told me at the end of the day, “I think I love him.”

That day my journey changed.

I blogged about the zoo, and Stephanie called me.

“I felt it too.”

So this is what it’s like to see a family be born.

But.

This wasn’t the way it was supposed to be.  If God had a different family for him, I wasn’t supposed to love him.  I was supposed to endure my time faithfully and then advocate for him.

He wasn’t supposed to have two moms in America.  Two families here.

We talked.  A lot.  It was crazy.  This isn’t the way it is supposed to work.

So we went camping.  And by the end, we both knew.  We were both meant for this boy.

Stephanie said, “I never understood how someone could love a child they didn’t birth.  I supported it for other people.  But I never understood it, and I never thought it would be for me.  Now I get it.  I can’t let this little boy go.”

Neither could I.  He was hers.  And he was mine.

Stephanie was convinced that her husband, Bryan, would never understand.  He hadn’t been on these trips.  He didn’t feel it.  How could this possibly make sense?

So she walked into her house.  Saw him.  And he asked if she was okay.  She said no.

He said, “You want to host Soccer Boy, don’t you?”

And with that, we were one family.

It didn’t make sense in my head, really.  But in my heart, I knew I was home.  Soccer Boy had a family.

I had a family.

You see, one of my biggest fears going into hosting was being a single mom.  I have a great support system, and I knew God was calling me to this, so I would have everything necessary to be competent.  But I longed for the companionship and team effort that comes with hosting while married.  Of course, this was impossible.

But nothing is impossible for God.IMG_1473

In Stephanie and Bryan, I was given the blessings I thought I would have to miss out on.  I had a companion, a person to turn to with all my frustrations and fears, my joys and stories of my day.  I had more-than-friend.  I had a wordless family.  This wasn’t two families.  We are one family.  Soccer Boy’s American family.  God doesn’t need our definitions of family.  He makes them where he will.

We serve a creative God.

I’m sure that this is confusing to some of you.  We are so used to our ideas of family: parents, children.  Not a married couple with two kids, a single mom with one, and a boy loved by us all.

As I look back at our relationship, I see the way God’s hand has been in this since the beginning.  I have known Bryan since college,—we were actually swing dance partners in our younger, skinnier days.  He graduated before me and happened to get a job in my hometown after a nationwide job-hunt.  Knowing no one, he spent the summer hanging around with my family.  He saw us at our best and worst.  He joined my church, and I went back to college.  He started going to my parent’s small group, and there he met Stephanie.  They married soon after.  Meanwhile, I went to grad school and lived elsewhere, eventually returning home with my son.  I began to establish friendships in our church, and started hanging out with a group of women my age, one of whom was Stephanie.  Several years passed, and our relationship has grown.  We have vacationed together a few times, and I have seen them at their best and worst.  Stephanie and I have continued to find that we have many things in common, and we have become very close.

I never saw this coming.  Neither did they.  But God did.  And as I look back at the way our lives have grown together, I see a slow preparation for this moment.

I know that people might wonder at this.  Am I jealous?  Is she?  Is it a struggle?  How does it all work?

All I can say is that when God is in something, peace overwhelms everything else.  We serve a big God.  His house has many rooms.  We are simply a living embodiment of that.

P1020312I’m not jealous.  I’m grateful.  Soccer Boy’s relationship with Stephanie is markedly different than the one he has with me.  It is evident that he loves us both, and he expresses it to each of us in a different way.  Stephanie is showered with hugs and kisses.  I have entire conversations with him simply through eye contact.  My time is filled with singing, good and loud…dancing, too. Special songs of love.  Stephanie’s is filled with cuddles, close and sweet.  But he teases us both, and performs, and tells such stories.  Buster Keaton has nothing on this one.

(Oh my.  How I miss him.)

And Bryan.  It is so clear that Soccer Boy is hungry for a father figure.  He begged for chances to be with my dad.  I spent many days confused as to why God would let him come into a home that doesn’t have a built-in dad.  Now I know.  He was holding out for Bryan.  And there are few men I admire as much as Bryan.  What a glorious answer.

So what’s next for our little family?  Big things!!

Bryan and Stephanie will be hosting Soccer Boy come Christmas.  Their faith is growing, and they are counting the days until Soccer Boy is back with us.  Only 140 days, give or take.

As for me? I will be a back-up family.  What’s that?  It is a family prepared to support other hosting families.  If another family has a crisis and can no longer host, the children come to a back-up home.   I am beyond excited for this prospect.  My faith has grown so much through this, and I’m ready for more.  I hope that he brings children to my home that I never would have chosen myself.  I hope I get to see more of his goodness and his sustaining mercies.

And I already know I will be hosting next summer.  Maybe it will be my turn with Soccer Boy.  Maybe he will be with Bryan and Stephanie again and I will get to add more children to our family.  But I know that hosting again is in my future.

But we can’t do it ourselves.  We need your help!  We need to raise money for these adventures God is calling us to.  And we know that our family doesn’t end with just us.  We live in a community of believers.  And I hope you will become a part of this, too.

To jump-start this, we have three big announcements:

  • We will be having a yard sale to bring Soccer Boy home August 23rd & 24th at my house.  We need your donations, and we would love your hands to help!  More information to come.  But gather your donations now!
  • Calling all knitters!!  Stephanie and I are putting our hobby to work and will be knitting decorative mittens for sale.  Would you be willing to make some?  We will provide the supplies and the pattern; you provide the love!  We will even be having knitting nights to work together.  More information soon.  But if you are willing to knit, please contact one of us as soon as possible.  We’d like to start a list of those interested.
  • We have started a Facebook group called “Big Fundraising in Little Indiana” to keep you updated on our fundraising efforts and send out our prayer requests.  It is a closed group so you will need to be invited.  If you would like to be added, please contact one of us.

Thank you all for what you have already done to give Soccer Boy the love of a family.  I am so grateful.  And I’m overwhelmed at a plan I never saw coming.  What love.  I never knew what I was missing.  Now I can’t get enough.

7 thoughts on “How My Child Became OUR Child

  1. Jocelyn

    I just can’t stop the tears. I remember the conversation about Stephanie figuring Bryan would say no. I just thank God. It was what I prayed for. Something big. Please add me to the Facebook Page.

  2. This is amazing. Our God is amazing. And I really admire your trust and ability to share one of your children. You are an exceptional mother. Not everyone could do what you are doing, and God knew exactly that. I want to be in the Facebook page too!

  3. I can’t stop crying…God is SO good! He is so beautiful…and I am grateful that He has not only used you to bring Soccer-boy and his “forever family” together, but that He has blessed you with the most amazing voice, with which to share his love and his mercies. You are such a gift, my new friend, and I consider myself fully blessed to know you. 🙂

  4. […] beginning.  When the photo listing went up for Christmas several months ago, I had other plans.  Soccer Boy would be coming to Stephanie and Bryan’s house, and I would be a support team, for them and others, too.  If a […]

  5. […] it didn’t stop there. I longed to have a friend here with me, in person. And Stephanie came. And friends became family, and we loved a little boy together. And the bittersweet of life was tasted together, and my heart […]

  6. […] she is braver than I.  I have a Stephanie.  My boy would be near me come Christmas.  She didn’t know where Sprite would be…who would love him.  But she trusted anyway.  She […]

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