Saturday, July 28, 2012

For My New Friend, Alyson

Mrs. Beaver:

Two of the primary questions of those considering adopting older children is: "Can older adoptees bond with others? Is attachment possible for such emotionally-scared children?"

Mr. Beaver and I  are nearly eleven years down the wild-but-amazingly-wonderful path of older-child adoption. We would answer these pressing questions with a resounding, "Yes!"--with an crucial qualifier.

As we've parented our twelve children, we've learned (sometimes the hard way!) that Biblical standards for loving one another must be consistenly and humbly enforced and modeled by parents. A favorite Bible passage that we use as a moment-by-moment thermometer for all hearts in the house is: "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves. Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interest of others." (Philippians 2:3,4 NASB) The first four words are usually all the gentle reminder that is needed!

In our family God has used His ways to mold hearts, creating healthy sibling relationships. His good hand has been on our kiddos, most of whom either didn't know each other as young children or had been separated by the wreckage of their original families. He is a great God who is making beautiful things out of dust!

Yesterday the Lord allowed me to capture "on film" a couple of the family's many sibling relationships as the kids worked to clean up the remains of one of our favorite fair-weather outings--a breakfast picnic.

As we've shared here before, Natasha (left) and Tatiana (right) are biological sisters. However, when they were little Natasha lived with their mom, while Tatiana was cared for by a grandmother who lived six hours away. Their reunion came when both were placed in the same orphanage. When we met them 11 months after their placement in the children's home, their closeness was unmistakable. Each girl's willingness to obey the Bible's commands to forgive one another and overlook the other's shortcomings (Ephesians 4:32--a family must) has helped insure a lasting friendship.

Daria (left) and Lissie (right) are not biological siblings. They didn't become sisters until Lissie was nearly 19 and Daria was close to 16. Despite this seemingly late start, the roommates are now sisters in every conceivable way. Their loyalty to each other is strong. And Mr. Beaver and I have hope that their friendship will last a lifetime because their relationship is now based on a shared love of Christ. The gospel is their tie. They've each had to die to self a thousand times, but the Lord has provided the grace they've needed to do just that.

God makes beautiful things out of dust!

(My title for this post is in honor of a woman I've only met by email. She shared her older-child adoption story with me this week. What a great reminder of just how great--and gracious--our God is! Thanks, Alyson!)