Originally published Saturday, 22 November 2014.
I know you will remember a time in your childhood when you wondered if you were adopted. Never mind that you look like your parents and laugh at your own jokes exactly like they both do; but, just the same, you will wonder if you were adopted and never told. You will naturally gravitate towards books about orphans.
This is the planting of a seed.
Next, you will have a desire to adopt. You will make this a topic of priority with your fiancé and subsequent husband. Being the Type A planner that you are, even a few months into trying to start a family, you will again give adoption consideration and state, "If we can't conceive on our own we will adopt."
This is the watering of a dream.
Two kids, and a few years later, you will read Kisses from Katie and determine that if a twenty-something woman from Tennessee can adopt and foster children on her own in a foreign country, then surely you can foster one child on the way to adoption.
This is sunlight upon fertile soil.
Next you will complete the nearly 10 months of work that it takes to train and paper-approve families to foster. It will be a never ending cycle to prove your family fit to parent a child not your own. You will complain and you will wonder why on earth it will take so much to do a good deed.
This is the breaking forth of a seed out of the dark soil into the sun.
At last, when you thought the day would never come, you will get the call to pick up your foster son. You will go expectantly with his Thomas the Train backpack and snuggle animal from Target. Then you will meet a child who your heart will forever call son. He will be blonde and beautiful and wild and covered in spaghetti sauce and you will have many long days ahead of you.
This will be the stalk rising from the ground.
For 13 months you will labor, love, and advocate on this child's behalf. You will sing to him, Jesus Loves Me, and do all the things a mother does. You will watch every single person around you love this little boy like he was your very own son—because in many ways he forever will be your son. You will train him in the way that he should go and pray on his behalf.
This will be the wheat ripe for harvest.
Finally, at the end of 13 months, you will say good-bye to your little boy as he is reunited with his biological family. It will be one of the hardest and perhaps the most impactful goodbyes you will ever say.
This will be the kernel falling to the ground.
Months will pass, tears will fall, a new normal will encompass your days, and you will wonder how you ever did it all. You will wonder: can I ever do that again? The answer will not come right away--at least not the answer you think others will expect. But in all the waiting, you will say: Loving another child changed my life—maybe the world in some small way. Then you will tell his story, your story, so that other families may open their homes to make the difference in the life of a child.
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.