Last Updated on June 20, 2018

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.

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  1. Nell Kirk says:

    My brother and I are adopted (not from the same birth parents). My husband and I adopted our eldest child. I have found that with infants love comes when the child is placed in your arms. We pursued adopting an older child, but were not encouraged to continue since they often have issues. It was the best for us and our children. I applaud you and your family for going the extra mile.

  2. Megan Rice says:

    Thanks for sharing this! It’s a perspective that needs to be shared more. Praying for you today!

  3. I very much understand this situation… as I lived it as well. Thank you for your words of insight as it is still a comfort to hear them on this subject.

  4. We know this to be true as well. We’re foster parents to a little man that’s 18 months old and we’ve had since 3 months. We find that our love is still growing. It’s that crazy mix where we love him, but he’s still not fully ours and our love changes every day. I was thinking about my three kids the other day and momentarily forgot that I didn’t give birth to him. Love does grow and it’s wonderful.

  5. Thanks for your words of insight. As the parent of a special needs child, I have some of the same feelings. Love is a verb, it must be acted out all the time, even when I am at my end. And sometimes, especially in the first few years of my daughter’s life, I didn’t always feel like the love was returned. It wasn’t that she didn’t love me, I think her autism was in the way, like a barrier between us. I tend to think in the long term and keep my focus on the future. Love always hopes. 🙂

  6. Ohhh how I can relate! We have a sibling group of 4 boys, 10,8,6 and 5. There are times when it is SO HARD. The 10 and 8 year old are very challenging.We are working towards adoption, and some times I wonder if this is something I can handle or the next 15+ years.
    Thanks for sharing your experience!