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Missing, Found

September 3, 2012

Friends in one of my communities recently had a conversation about “only” children. What if you’re given what you always wanted and parenthood is going as beautifully as you hoped? Are the advantages of siblings significant enough to risk rocking the boat?

Seven years ago, I might have answered more glibly –before our family boat got rocked. No: maybe “swamped” is more accurate.

Today, I am a realist. God is absolutely all-sufficient for everything he permits us to encounter in this world. So much so that it is hard to entertain the “what if” fears that used to keep me awake at night.

At the same time, parents are wise to consider that almost nothing in this world goes as planned. In fact, that it is a promise. (John 16:33) So why would parenthood be any exception?

There are also blessings we can’t possibly imagine, even if we someday judge our “faith” as exercised in adoption was less about faith and more about ignorance of the potential consequences.

I was privileged to witness that a few weeks ago in the simple act of being missed by my girls.

Being missed–appropriately missed –isn’t something I take for granted. A few years ago, one of mine adhered to the social patina of  “missing” me when I travel. She is too socially astute to miss the script, and did not. But her heart wasn’t in it.  You just can’t miss someone you can do without.

Another daughter for eight years has been anxious: so gut-certain that she will lose, me, too,  like she lost her first two mothers, that she has a hard time falling asleep if I’m not in the same room.

But God gave us the insight to start working on attachment as a parenting strategy five years ago. The girls are now seven and eight. This time, both of them missed me just right.

And I notice. I praise God that he did it. And that it only took five years and not twenty-five.

In John 16:33 (NIV), Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

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