I walked into the children’s receiving home with my husband that crisp fall morning six-and-a-half years ago, my heart galloping in my chest. This was the day we were going to meet our children for the first time. Our social worker told us about them only the day before, and we hadn’t seen pictures or received much information. All I knew was a two-year-old boy and his six-month-old half-sister waited for my husband and me somewhere in that sterile government building. Waited for us to scoop them up and take them to safety and be their forever Mommy and Daddy. That was what my galloping heart pounded out, loud and clear and urgent.
We approached the front counter where the receptionist was safely positioned behind bullet-proof glass. I gave her a cheerful (if not nervous) hello, my voice sounding loud as the foyer echoed with the private whispers of the few people awaiting their appointments in those early morning hours. I didn’t know if they were biological parents waiting to have a supervised visit with their children, or foster parents or adopting parents, but I knew every single person there had a story.
The receptionist handed me a sign-in sheet, and as I filled it out, I felt a tap tap tap on my leg. I looked down to see a little boy with tight brown curls and big brown eyes holding a blue block up to me.
“See block?” he said, his little voice curving higher at the end to punctuate his friendly question.
I smiled and crouched down to inspect the block with him quickly glancing around to spot the adult he was with, but didn’t see anyone who appeared to claim him. I also didn’t see my social worker with my soon-to-be children. My gaze turned back to the little boy, wearing tennis shoes that were several sizes too big for him, and jeans that he was constantly yanking up to keep them from falling.
“Ah, we’re all here,” a familiar voice said, and I stood abruptly. Our social worker had finally appeared. She glanced between my husband and me, a woman behind us with a baby carrier, and the little boy I was talking to. That’s when it dawned on me. The cute little boy with the blue block was the two-year-old who was going to become my son.
Before I had time to contemplate that any longer, the kids’ social worker introduced herself, then ushered us all down a quiet hallway and into a little room. She automatically showed the little boy where to find some toys, put the baby down on the floor in her carrier, and asked my husband and me to take a seat at a round table to go over paperwork.
We began to receive a flood of new information about the circumstances the brother and sister had been pulled from, and it all bounced around in my head like a nightmare. I couldn’t convince myself it was real. I looked down at the baby and then turned toward the toddler boy who was in his own little world with his blue block on the other side of the room. They were strangers, yet I already felt a pull to want to protect them. To care for them. To wrap them in my arms and be their home.
“Can I hold the baby?” I asked, interrupting my social worker’s recitation of the next steps in the process.
She laughed, bright and honest. “Of course!”
The baby stared at me with wide, appraising eyes. She didn’t make a single sound. It was like she was sizing me up. Challenging me with her unblinking gaze as to whether or not I was up to this task.
No, sweet girl, I thought in response. I don’t know if I can do this. But I know God put us together. And He’ll give us both the strength.
I believed that with all my heart.
Yet as the days and weeks went by and I was launched into motherhood for the first time, I struggled. I struggled with why I didn’t feel bonded to them yet. With why I still didn’t understand Baby Girl’s every cry and noise, or why she didn’t seem soothed by my embrace or my voice. I struggled with the way her big brother didn’t recognize my facial expressions, and sometimes when I was being silly with him, he got scared and started to cry.
And. . .I panicked. This was harder than I realized it would be. Much harder.
In gasping tears, I called my friend who was also adopting through the foster system and told her I thought something was wrong with me. This was all so hard. It was like a battle I didn’t know if I could win.
“Yes, this is hard,” she said to me. “It’s hard for a lot of reasons, but mostly because they were never meant to be yours.”
Those words landed on me like an enormous boulder out of nowhere. What did she mean they were never meant to be mine? God knew when He created me and when He created them that we would be a family. That they would call me Mom and I’d call them Son and Daughter.
But then I heard what she said. What she meant. That God never intended children to be separated from the woman whose womb they grew in, the woman who nurtured them into this world. His design was for her to be their mom, just like His plan was never for us to be separated from Him.
Why was it, then, after I’d bonded with my kids and we’d become, well, family, did I feel like we were created to be together? That they were mine in every way?
Because of God. Just as we were separated from Him because of sin—something He never wanted for us—He rolled up His sleeves and created a great “rescue plan,” as Sally Lloyd-Jones refers to it in the Jesus Storybook Bible (our favorite!). He stepped between us and the consequences of our sin and took away our debts through the ultimate act of sacrifice and love. But He didn’t stop there. He made a way for us to take His name, to receive the birthright of a son or daughter of the King of Kings. He offered us an inheritance we could never imagine up for ourselves.
God is the inventor of adoption.
He made a way for my family to be “Wilkin, party of four”. He gave us to each other as part of His rescue plan for our kids on this side of heaven, as a reflection of His redemption story for us.
I’m still learning what this truly means, but as I learn, I teach it to my kids, and they, in turn, help me to understand it more deeply.
The other day my son, who is now eight and a half years old, hugged me as I was cooking dinner and helping his sister with her homework.
“Guess what, Mommy?” he said, pausing until he had my full attention. I looked down at his curly head and big brown eyes. “I’m DOUBLE awesome! Know why?”
“Why?” I laughed.
“Because I’ve been adopted TWICE! Once by God and once by you!”
“Oh Son,” I said, trying not to cry, “You are absolutely right.”
Lyndsay Wilkin is a follower of Jesus, wife to her insanely talented musician husband, Wyley, and mom to her two beloved children, Harrison and Clara. She’s a cancer survivor and nutrition enthusiast which led to her profession in helping people find natural health through quality supplementation and nutrition. She’s a writer of fiction, a voracious reader, and an adoption advocate. You can find Lyndsay on Instagram at @lyndswilkin where she shares lots about her faith, her passion for adoption, and her business in health and nutrition!