Kaitlin~ She's my 14 going on 23 girl. Confident, independent and a natural-born leader. Full of compassion and laughter. Sometimes my biggest challenge, but also the biggest forgiver I've ever met. The one I see myself in more often than I'd like to admit. Above all, she made me a mama, and blessed me with so many "firsts"--my first positive pregnancy test, first ultrasound, first time I got to name a person. I pray those first moments continue with her for a very long time.
Connor~ My almost-a-teenager guy. The kid I have the hardest time following through with discipline and "tough love" when needed because he reminds me so much of his daddy. The boy who looks just like my brothers, yet has my husband's humor and charisma imbedded into his DNA. My 7th grader who is still my sweet boy. And I love the way he has always rooted for the "outsiders" and stood up to bullies on their behalf--even in the midst of feeling a little on the outside himself.
Kylie~ My 10 year old peacemaker. The girl I wish my grandma was still alive to see; I am convinced that she is JUST like my own mom as a child, for she reminds me of my grown mom nearly every day. A delightful combination of quiet and hilarious. She constantly puts the desires of others above her own and is the peacekeeper. Kylie's discernment of right & wrong is almost always accurate and present. I love the way she is a tried and true friend, caring cousin, and compassionate sister.
And then there is Charlie.
Charlie, the 2 year old who lives to make us laugh. The blue-eyed blonde who runs around his daddy's office (AKA the church office) slapping high-fives, giving fist-bumps, and helping himself to the M&M stash.
Charlie, who I still stare at in wonder that he is truly ours. The boy who I know I didn't birth yet feel like I did birth all at the same time. The boy who was born as the perfect sibling for my older three--the one who joins them all together. The boy I look at with awe because God chose us to become his forever family.
Charlie, the boy who looks out the window, sees Mike coming home from work, and hollers two words that bring a lump to my throat every time:
"My Daddy"--it sums up Charlie's love and adoration of Mike. It reveals to me in a very concrete way how Mike has stepped in a filled a gap in Charlie's life the same way God stepped in and filled a gap in my life when I accepted Christ as my Savior. And it's because of the love God has for me--for Charlie--for all of us--that will allow us to explain Charlie's adoption to him in a beautiful way as he gets older and begins asking questions.
I am so grateful that God has allowed me to be a mom. And the fact that adoption was part of His plan? That's pretty special, too.