We have officially had Luke in our family for a year! Before I get into the past year, I wanted to recap how we got here:
- In 2012 we welcomed Emma to our family
- In 2013 we welcomed Jake to the family
- In 2014, we welcomed Luke to the family
As many of you know, Luke came to us angry, sick, and confused. For the good part of 2014, this kid was on constant alarm. He was in fight or flight mode every day. His blood pressure regularly dangled about 120 (which is dangerously high for a child). He would scream and yell when he woke up -- I mean every single morning. And every single nap. He would wake up and you could see it on his face "oh no, you people again?!" He would throw his food in anger to the ground because we didn't understand what he wanted. When he was really pissed, he would give us the Chinese 'index finger-hook' symbol for 'die' (see here for more information on that crazy thing!). This kid just plain did not want to be with us. He wanted to go to what he knew - his foster mom, his foster sister, his home.
All that said, since Thanksgiving (about 3 weeks after his last surgery), Matt and I see a new boy. A boy that loves us. A boy who wakes up and then says 'brother?' and goes to Jake's room to look for him. A boy who pushes Jake a plate of donuts to make sure he gets one before taking one himself. A boy who wants to teach his little brother how to put on his coat. A boy who loves to read books. A boy who loves hugs and wants to give them to me when I come home from grocery shopping. A boy who is healed.
I don't know if Luke turned a corner now because we have been home a year, or because his final surgery is over, or because he is almost 3 (ie leaving the terrible 2's). In the end, I don't really care why we are leaving this phase.... I just know that this boy has redeemed my soul. And my love for him is more overwhelming then I ever could imagine.
Some people say that I am 'pro adoption'. I am actually not. I am pro the reduction of orphans. My preference would be for that to happen upfront in the process -- before the child is abandoned. But once a child is abandoned, adoption is the redemptive action that brings wholeness to the child. It understood this fact a year ago but I am now realizing that it also brings wholeness to the parent as well!
Reflecting on 2014, it becomes obvious to me why Luke was chosen for our family. We need to grow, to be challenged and stretched. Most importantly, we needed to learn to depend on God. I can't say I was grateful for that opportunity during the year but I certainly am grateful now. Now we have a son who we love, who is healed, and, in addition, I am much closer to God then I was a year ago. I think that was His point the entire time perhaps. Have I made mistakes this past year with him? You bet. But I can literally see His handiwork shaping and molding me to be a better human. I am not done growing yet!
I also should mention.... when we brought our 4th child home, I was so worried that my other children would have to 'give up' something. Give up playing a sport, give up their bedroom, give up time with mommy, etc. The reality, now that we are home, is that Luke has taught them so much more then anything they had to 'give up'. The girls now understand hurt, compassion, how to grow in love, orphan care, and even the art of redirection of a toddler. :-) My 4 year old asks about the orphans left in China regularly and what she can do for them. She wants to make the world a better place. I mean adorable, right?!!
For those of you just home with a new child (biological or adopted), keep up the good work! Parenting, toddler life, adoption, and special needs are challenging. But that is the point, you will come out the other end a stronger and better person.
Merry Christmas from the Lillie Family!!
Oh how I miss that cleft!!
One year ago today, flying home from China with Luke!!