Recently I was playing with our two little grandsons, both of whom turn two in the next couple months. They’re learning so much– talking and running, and showing understanding of so many things about their lives. They come to our house each Sunday, and walk in with smiles on their faces, eager to play the same games over and over again.
They ride their little bikes. They ask me for stories. They follow their Auntie Julianna around with utter adoration. They sit in their high chairs at the kitchen counter, snacking with her and watching me make dinner. They play with the same toys over and over.
They go into the pantry and fill up my Kitchenaid bowl each and every week, usually with raw potatoes, but sometimes also with toys. They savor each repetition, each ritual. Toddlers are creatures of habit, after all. It’s so much fun to watch them.
But lately while watching their happy and growing competence, I’ve also been struggling with grief. Not for them; they’re enjoying a wonderful start at life, and are so treasured by so many. I’ve found myself grieving anew for my own precious kids who came to us through adoption.
All of them experienced dramatic life-disruption at some point. The two who keep coming to my mind when I watch our grandsons are the two who came to us at exactly this age. It’s such an aware age. So much learning has already happened. And yet they’re young enough that it’s impossible for them to fathom a life-change as complicated as adoption.
I remember waiting to bring them home, staring at their pictures, and worrying about the coming upheaval in their lives. But even then I don’t think I let myself fully imagine the pain that they were about to experience. How hard it would be for a little one to leave every scrap of the familiar that they so treasure at that age. To be placed into the arms of strangers, and then begin a whole new life. New bed. New food. New faces. New language.
I am profoundly grateful that our grandsons are growing up in security. In love. I wish all my kids had gotten that wonderful beginning– without relationship rupture, upheaval, and complete world-change. Blessedly, God’s love and power is bigger than hard beginnings, and He’s done much work in their hearts and lives. Our kids are overcomers. They’ve grown and settled in and are thriving.
But I don’t take easy beginnings for granted any more.
Maybe that’s good. We’d probably all be kinder to each other if we remembered that some scars are invisible, and that not everyone began life feeling secure and knowing they’re loved. It’s good to also remember that God works mightily right in the middle of the hard, encouraging us toward growth, showing us His love. And very often He uses people to be that love in the flesh. How awesome would it be if we could each look for ways to be part of His healing plan in the lives of those around us.