In my 23 years as a mom there have been many homecomings as I brought my six children home for the first times. When Cory was born, I was a 17-year-old single mom, and we returned to my parents’ house. With Leslie and Nathan, John and I lived in low-income housing while he was in school. There was no designer nursery, but I did have room for a bassinet next to our bed.

We adopted Alyssa as a baby. She was six days old, and we knew for two and a half months that she’d be coming. Yet again there was no nursery, no crib set, nor any wall hangings. We brought Alyssa home just a few days before our family moved 2,000 miles from Montana to Arkansas. The first days of getting acquainted with our new daughter were spent in the front of a U-Haul.

Just last month we had another homecoming. Five-year-old “Sissy” and two-year-old “Buddy” are being adopted from the foster care system. Instead of two months of preparation, we had two days. Bunk beds were set up, and dresser drawers were filled with clothes, but how can you really prepare for two children who’ve faced trauma, lived in numerous homes, and have already set up walls around their hurting hearts? John and I had gone through months of training, but then there was the moment when there were two kids sitting in car seats in the back seat. Could we really do this? Would love come?

I’d like to say the love was instantaneous, but that’s the thing of fairy tales. When it comes to welcoming in new foster or adoptive kids love grows one day at a time. Love is a choice—a choice that’s made even in the middle of fits, or crying in the night, or anger that flows from gazes. Anger that other people caused, and anger that is now my job to ease.

With my newborns the love seemed to be instantaneous. With these older ones, it’s something that builds and grows. And that’s OK. Love is a verb. And a love that grows is just as beautiful as love that emerges.

Have you thought about adopting but question if you’ll be able to love them as much as your biological children? It’s a good question to ask.

Love may not happen within minutes or days, but when you give of your home, your family, and your heart . . . love finds its way in ordinary times and on ordinary days.