Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Warner Bros. new horror movie Orphan proclaims that it must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own. Let me tell you about how an orphan changed my life...
My "fourth child" is not an orphan, exactly. Her biological parents -- who warred against their own personal demons -- could not take care of her the way this child -- any child -- deserved to be.
My husband and I started "sitting" for her when she was 2, when her mother wasn't getting child support, and was working long hours to put a roof over her head. Over the years, "Miss Priss" spent more and more time with us, becoming more a grandchild than just a little one we "took care of."
She calls us "MrsEya" (Miss E-ya ... For Miss Eva) and "Dennis-Daddy." She always has, mainly because that's what her mother calls us.
In 2005, realizing that her mother's demons had reared their ugly heads in such a way that they demanded to be reckoned with, we attempted to get "Mom" some help. We made a definitive ultimatum. In the process, the courts got involved and -- shock of all shocks -- awarded us temporary custody of this beautiful (then) 8-year-old.
For the next 2.5 years we fought an unsual court battle. I say we "fought." Actually God fought it. We just ran behind him waving our banners. At one point I organized over 100 people who volunteered to pray daily for our little girl, for those who worked within the courts, for the biological parents, for the family members. The mother's family worked diligently beside us to continue raising this precious vessel. We felt and feel as much a part of that family as if we were born of their blood.
Eventually the parents signed off on their rights and we were awarded permanent guardianship. Many of our friends -- who, like us, are now grandparents, enjoying all that comes with it-- thought we'd lost our minds. "What?" they said. "Why would you want to raise a child again? DON'T YOU REMEMBER THE TEEN YEARS???"
But nothing could change our minds. We knew -- in our hearts and spirits -- that God had brought us into this world, brought us together, brought us our own biological children, just so we could rear this child. This beautiful, wonderful, funny, adorable, loving child.
She is now nearly 12. She is the bright spot in our day. She is the "sister" to our children and the "daughter" of our home. She fills this house with love and laughter. And, sure, there are times when we have to discipline, speak firmly, guide and direct. But, I have to tell ya ... she takes it all in stride. She grows from it.
And she loves Jesus with her whole heart.
"When I talk about my parents," she told me recently, "I'm not talking about the two that brought me into the world. I'm talking about you and Dennis-Daddy." Then she paused. "They gave me life," she said. "But you gave me A life."
For us, she just makes life so much more FUN! So much more rewarding. Enriched.
Sometimes I think about what life would be like -- what freedoms I might have -- were Jordynn not our daughter. But then I think, "Are you kidding me??? I'd rather NOT get to do something and rear Jordynn than to GET to do something and NOT rear Jordynn." She's worth everything we've sacrificed. Every day. Every hour. Every minute.
Rearing her is one of the top 7 honors of my life:
1. Being a vessel chosen by God to relay his message.
2. Being the daughter of my parents, the sister of my brother.
3. Being the wife of my husband.
4. Being the stepmother to my two wonderful stepchildren.
5. Being the mother to my biological daughter.
6. Being a grandmother to my grandchildren.
7. (Oh, yes ... Lucky 7!) Being "MrsEya" to my "Punkin."
If you have the opportunity to bless the life of a child, do it! It won't cost you anything at all, believe me. Because, in the end, you'll get back SO much more. No horror story here!
Eva Marie Everson