I travel often for work. Enough that the whole experience is a fairly routine one for me. Airports, car rentals, hotel rooms, even long security lines and flight delays — I’m fairly numb to it all now. It’s just a means to the end of getting where I need to go. However, a recent trip to Chicago was anything but routine. My oldest daughter came along with me and it changed the entire dynamic.
I’m learning to release the beliefs in this life that once kept me tethered. Perhaps, the most confining of these beliefs was the one that placed a large amount of importance on what others might think of me.
I’ve spent a good part of my life in work that goes hand-in-hand with public critique and opinion: television ratings and rankings, book reviews, and feedback down to the color of my blouse. It’s part of the territory.
I’ve been told that I’m too humble with my words; that my writing needs more sex appeal and less God appeal. I’ve been judged, by some, for being an adoptee who has also adopted. And, judged, by others, for writing books that express a beauty in adoption. I’ve been celebrated for my writing, and I’ve been castigated. I’ve learned a lot about life, through the experiences of both.
If you could have your perfect day, what would it look like? Would your day be filled with the rush of business matters, making phone calls, or ticking away at that to-do list? Would you disappear from sight and take to binging on social media?
What would you do?
I pose this question to myself, as well, as we welcome in the month of June. Summer is upon us; kids are getting out of school and I sense the excitement of an expansion in time. The days are longer, and I even get a break from filling school lunch boxes in the early morning hours! This, alone, fills me with an anticipation equivalent to that of flying off to some tropical island! There’s just something about the summer months and the marvelous thought of slowing down.
Difficult to place.
These are the three words that social workers used to describe me while in the care of the United Kingdom’s foster care system. In other words, these three little words equaled one giant judgement about my worth. The social worker assigned to my case believed that finding a family for a child like me would be, yes, difficult.
I was seen as “illegitimate” and “ethnic” within the system. My foster papers described me as the “extra-marital daughter” of a woman who indulged in an affair with a “dark man.” Adding, “The child is dark, like her father.”
I study the effect of media on children and families and recently finished a study on the effect of the superhero and princess culture on children. If you have ever been around a preschool child, you know that both superheroes and princesses are very popular with this age group. In fact, many children this age say that they would like to be a superhero or a princess when they grow up. I’ve pondered on how being a superhero or a princess might relate to our royal identity and what this might mean for the way we see ourselves in an eternal light.
“Let your faith be bigger than your fear.”
It’s been pinned thousands of times. We all understand that we are supposed to know and feel and believe that God is bigger than any challenge, foe, or bump in the road. But what is supposed to be, and what is, isn’t always one-in-the-same.
How do you practically “let” faith be bigger than fear? Speak it? Pin it? Chant it? Stick a post-it to your bathroom mirror? Make it your phone home screen? Get a cool graphic tee that let’s everyone know that you just, “LOVE you some Jesus?”
I was planning to write to you from Africa this week, only, God had other plans. It’s a long story, really, so I’ll try and break it down into one, simple paragraph. Here goes!
I was booked on a flight to Johannesburg, South Africa, leaving on Thursday, March 23rd. While connecting through Atlanta, all of that changed. On two consecutive nights, my flights were bumped. To make matters more interesting, the airline could not get my family on another Johannesburg bound flight until the next Monday or Tuesday, which put us some five days behind on an already tight Spring Break schedule. How could we keep this holiday moving forward?
I adore reading with my seven-year old daughter, and I cherish any opportunity to explore books with her that share the central beliefs of our Christian faith. Recently, I had the pleasure of reading a book by Danielle Hitchen called, Bible Basics: A Baby Believer Counting Primer. (Catechesis Books, 2016)
Although this book might be considered a “young read” for my advancing 1st grader, I still found my daughter captivated by it’s beauty and simplicity. Counting from 1-10, children can explore clearly presented scriptural truths as they delight in twenty pages of colorful and inviting illustrations, by Jessica Blanchard. My daughter, especially, enjoyed reading about the 8 Beatitudes. The floral illustrations, in this section, caught her eye and sparked lively conversation about what it means to be merciful and peaceful children of God.
In my work as an adoption consultant, I have the honor of walking alongside couples on their journey to building their family through adoption. I partner with adoptive families for the entirety of their adoption: starting with the home study and sometimes for years afterwards. I watch in awe as they pray, wait, dream, and work to answer the call they have to adopt. We pray together for birth families and babies, and we laugh together at God’s crazy timing and overwhelming faithfulness. My role as a counselor, educator, and advisor has been incredibly rewarding.
How you came into this world is not who you are.
I mean that! There has never been a more important time to make clear, to every adoptee living and breathing today, that you are not the sum of your earliest circumstance.
So often, we can become trapped within the earliest story of our lives. I call it the “primal story.” It’s real and, for adoptees, the primal story can relay messaging that we are not safe, loved, wanted, or worthy of being heard and seen.