I've been thinking. You may or may not know that my wife and I have adopted our daughter Daisy. She doesn't look much like us, but she is ours through and through. So, I was sitting in church looking at all the pews filled with all the families with kids that look just like they do and it occurred to me that they have no idea. And most likely you are a parent of children that look just like you do and if you would have been sitting in my chapel that week I would have though that you had no idea either.
Having adopted I have many people come up to me and tell me amazing adoption stories and how they know that the children who were adopted we "meant to be" with the parents who adopted them. And, you know what? They are right. That is one thing I know absolute, even more then some of the real big questions, I know that my children were meant to be mine. Because it's so easy to see, when the dust has settled after an adoption, both successful and unsuccessful, you can look back and see every bend in the road, that was out of your control, but that brought you here, to this moment, holding your child and breathing in his brand new breath. And he is your own. Well...not your own, I suppose that an adoptive parent does share this child with more people then a biological parent, but in the end, after the settled dust, he is yours.
And that was the idea I had, sitting in Fast and Testimony meeting. Biological parents think that that because their bodies can create a body for a baby that means that child is theirs or them. But that's just it, that's all the body can do, create a shell for a fresh little spirit to jump into. And that spirit is not half the mom and half the dad. It's all it's own. Whole. My wife and I can't make shells so we have had to partner with people who can in order to grow our little family, and that part is amazing and wondrous and I could spend pages telling you all the little road bends that wildly changed my life to get me in the right spot, at the right time, to be in the right room to hold my child. But that's because it all happened here on earth. The thought came to me, for every effort made from the heavens to bring my family together, every family has gone through as much, or more, to bring the right spirits to the right shells all before ever making it down to Earth.
I like to think of the bustling office building of Heaven (even my two year old can tell you babies come from office buildings not hospitals... at least in my family they do). There is, of course, a kindhearted but stern receptionist at the front desk, Bev, who keeps the place whole place running ship shape. She would totally say things like, "Ship Shape" and "Spit Spot!". She heads the long hallway with heavenly florescent lights illuminating doorways hiding loose neck tied men and messy bunned women hard at work putting the right spirit children with the right earthly parents. After all we believe, or I guess, I believe that our spirits are created by Heavenly Parents who send us down to Earth because they are sick of the constant questions from their ever curious and precocious children.
I suppose that would make all children adopted, just like mine. Well... not just like mine. I got to see all the magic and miracles and devastation that goes into building a family. I've got to see the pain on a birth mothers face as she hands you her newest born. And the realization that a decision made 6 years before moved you just enough to the left on a map to let you be able to be this girls father. Adoption is messy and hard and ultimately wonderful for half involved and devouring for other half. But so it was for every family once. So perhaps, next time you are sitting in church and you look to your right and there are a mess of kids and then, at the end, your spouse, just remember how little you had to do with the selection of spirits sitting between you. Take a moment and close your eyes and whisper the same thing every adoptive parent has whispered since the beginning of time, "Thanks Bev."
Also, I would love to introduce you to the newest member of our family. After, I promise, many many bends in a miraculous road, last Tuesday, and forever, we brought home Milo Patrick Livingston.
And he's amazing!
*He's the one on the left*