You ever have one of those moments in life, stuck at a traffic light, or sitting at your desk while listening to horrible elevator music because you're on hold with a service provider and suddenly you have a moment of shame creep in while thinking back on some small decision you regret having made in your life? Like that time when you were 13 and stole a lipstick from a local drug store only to be caught by your momma and forced to return it and face the humiliation of your actions? Or that time you kissed that drunk person in the back of the bar because you were lonely and had no better options, only to sober up the next day and realize you kissed a toad and please don't ever let your family find out because they'll never let you hear the end of it?
Well, now that y'all know I'm a reprobate, this post is NOT about those type of small moments.
Not that we don't all have those type of moments, whatever they may be. We all make choices and do things we wish we hadn't. But like those moments we cringe over, we also have moments that have changed our lives for the better. Small leaps of faith that are life altering. I often think of the one choice I made which turned my family upside down, inside out and almost whole once again.
The decision to adopt.
I don't remember the moment we decided to adopt a child. One day I was talking at my husband about adopting and the next day he was conversing with me about going forward and proceeding. I like to think it's proof that brick walls have ears but he likes to say he just played his cards right to make me think it was my idea.
Po-tay-toe, po-tah-to. We are two sides to the same coin, him and I.
But as I always tell my kids, easy doesn't always mean right and the rightest thing in the world was welcoming this little boy into our family.
The process of adopting a child is long, intrusive and overwhelming. Much like gestating a child and giving birth. Bringing a child into your family is hard no matter the way you do it, no matter the way you slice the pie. But those fruits of your literal or figurative labor? They're positively magical.
When we chose to adopt we decided to adopt through the foster care system. For our family, it felt right. We wanted to adopt a child who wouldn't easily find a home and we knew there are thousands of children available for adoption in Canada and the United States through the public child welfare system. We didn't know who we were looking for but we knew we would find him within the foster care system.
And we did.
He is every bit the blessing and the pain in the arse that his siblings were and continue to be. He fits right in with our crew, even if he looks a little different.
There isn't a day that goes by that I'm not thankful that I chose to push past the fear of the unknown and just trust that we'd find the love. Choosing to adopt a child who has been placed within foster system can be overwhelming. These kids have often suffered neglect, abandonment or abuse. I worried whatever child we brought home would be too broken to love or wouldn't love us back.
I fretted he wouldn't like us. I fretted my kids wouldn't like him. I worried, and then worried some more. And yet, somehow, we just kept moving forward, through all the obstacles and all the fear.
I'd like to look you in the eyes and tell you all that worry melted away the day we brought our new five-year-old son home, but my momma didn't raise no liar.
The worry reared it's ugly head every time Knox cried and I didn't know what he wanted. Bringing home a five year old is most definitely not the same as bringing home a newborn. I worried I had missed half of his childhood and the time which was lost was insurmountable.
I just plain worried.
But while I worried, I parented. Because mouths needed to be fed, baths needed to be given, and Disney videos needed to be watched, on a loop, endlessly, until it felt you were losing your mind. That's the hard work of parenting.
Something magical happened through all of that. We fell in love with this strange new boy who we didn't know and who didn't look like us. We bonded. Our fractured family became whole again, glued back together with a new love that strengthened us all.
We are all better for having one another.
It was definitely a top five decision, alongside choosing to have his three siblings and marrying their father. It certainly makes up for all the moments of dumbassery I've had in the past, including that one time I attempted to do a u-turn on an ATV while in fifth gear, and lost control of the vehicle, then somehow managed to half fall off while driving it up over myself as I landed in slough, darn near drowning myself, all while my brother-in-law watched in equal parts horror and amusement.
This is my family's story. And while we are not the poster family for adoption, we could challenge any family on depth of love, togetherness and commitment. I realize not every family is in a position to adopt but I hope that if you are looking to start or increase your family, you'll explore the option of adopting from your local foster care program. My experience is here to tell you, in the end, love really is love, no matter where it was born.
And today, Tuesday, November 15, whether you want to adopt or not, you can help children in foster care just by eating dinner. In recognition of National Adoption Month, customers who visit a participating Wendy's will have 15 percent of their total bill donated to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption®, an organization committed to finding permanent, loving homes for children waiting in foster care.
Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy's was a child who spent time in foster care and he believed (as our family does) that children in foster care "aren't someone else's responsibility, they are our responsibility." Today, Wendy's remains committed to this belief and mission and supports the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
Go buy a Wendy's hamburger and grab a Frosty while you're at it. Because today, you'll be helping children like Knox find families like mine.
That's worth your weight in hamburgers and ice cream, and then some. It is definitely a decision you won't regret.
This post is sponsored by Wendy’s® .
Help foster kids find permanent families while helping your taste buds out at the same time. (That isn't a Wendy's official motto. But Knox nodded his head yes and seems to dig it, so I'm going with it. EAT WENDY'S, DO IT FOR THE KIDS.)