Thursday, August 25, 2005

"Jada mom"

Well, I suppose it is about time I write since I am the “mom” part of this equation. I am of course ecstatic and completely in love with this unknown little girl waiting for us around the world. Lee, in a somewhat joking fashion, states, “our daughter has street cred” (that is street credibility for those of you not familiar with more city lingo). I laugh, but it is true. Her story is similar to that of the girls I take care of in residential placement. The girls I work with are some of the most difficult children in our foster care and mental health system. They have had multiple placements, suffered many abuses, and can be downright violent. Because we spend so much time, blood, sweat, and tears together, I often think of these girls as "my children". I think they know this as they are constantly asking me “how many kids do you have?” This question is usually answered with, “I have no kids at home, but I have 40 here…you guys are my kids.” Like most children, they repeat this question, almost daily. Now, I tell them about Jada. The response from most people that I tell I am adopting is “oh, that is great” or “she (Jada) is so lucky”. The responses from my surrogate children are diverse and fascinating.
Several of them are angry, stating that they thought I should adopt them and not go all the way around the world. Others are intrigued with Jada’s story of abandonment and life (all be it only about 6 months) in an orphanage. Two of the children in particular asked questions about “who pays for her to be in the orphanage and how does she get medicine?” “Does she have insurance or does her mom (birth mom) have to pay?” These questions starkly show how the world is for these kids in residential placement. Many of these questions are asked by children that are considered borderline mentally retarded and severely learning disabled. Although they may not understand much they are somehow able to shrewdly perceive that their current situations are much about nickels and dimes rather than protection and nurturing. I am so thankful for what I learn from these kids. Imagine how much I will learn as "Jada mom" when we finally get her.
I already love Jada with all my heart. I want her experience this love richly. My prayer is that from this she can love others (especially “the least of these” like my girls) abundantly. She has already helped me understand and care for “my girls” better. That is incredible! I cannot wait to meet her!

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