Saturday, April 21, 2012

Spiritual Adoption

My grandmother brought 15 babies into the world, twelve whom survived into adulthood.  I was never able to meet her in person because she died of cervical cancer when my father was fourteen and the youngest baby was two.

I have felt the comforting love my grandmother since I was a girl.  I don't know how or why, but I feel that she knows me and has provided encouragement along the way.  Like her, I have this tendency to want to be surrounded by children.  When I was young, I wanted to teach.  I often thought that I would fill up my home by adopting or fostering children in addition to having my own babies.  But I also knew that having a large family comes with hardships, challenges and sacrifice.  So I put as much of that mothering instinct into all the children I've cared for since I was thirteen.  I enjoyed a decade of nanny years and especially relished the privilege of  being a mom to my two children.  At the moment, I'm also experiencing some severe parenting growing pains.  Emily will graduate from high school this June and Elliot is talking about finding his childhood in a box of superhero costumes.  More and more, I'm experiencing an empty arm and empty lap syndrome.

It's the kind of feeling that creativity doesn't help with.  Usually I can navigate problems by sitting at my machine.  I'm not sure that this feeling is really a problem that I need to fix, but more of an awareness.  I'm not financially or emotionally ready to adopt a child or even foster one.  My life is full-to-busted overflowing with responsibility and activity.  So instead, I've decided that it's enough to spiritually adopt.  I can afford to adopt as many children (or adults for that matter) as I feel called to.  I could even spiritually adopt a whole country of kids if I wanted to.

This week I've spiritually adopted a girl named Brooke Hester.  I became aware of Brooke and her story through our friend Shelly.  I know that if you have time, you will want to read more about Brooke, a girl who is battling stage 4 neuroblastoma and who makes blossom headbands for other girls who have lost their hair from treatment.  Today I've just learned that Brooke is able to go home to her temporary home at the Ronald McDonald House in New York after receiving an intense chemo treatment.  To read her story, you can visit Brooke here: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/brookehester/mystory 

Have you ever been unofficially or spiritually adopted by someone?  Felt the influence of someone's good intentions for you without being able to see or hear them?   Or have you spiritually adopted someone without their knowing?  In a way, I feel like our blogging friends have all adopted one another...and it feels good to have this kind of connection.

9 comments:

  1. Bravo, Jenny! I love this concept of spiritual adoption because it's something we can all do. Brooke is going to be so tremendously enriched and blessed by what you've done for her, just as we're all tremendously blessed and enriched by having you as part of our blogging family. That's what it feels like it is- a family.

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    1. Dear Shelly, you forgot to insert your name in the second sentence!
      And you are absolutely someone who feels like family to me. If I could hug you right now, you know I'd cry a little too!

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    2. Oops, I mean the third sentence.

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  2. Hi dear Jenny. I absolutely love your posts my friend. Your light and love shines through every one, believe me. I certainly agree with you that our bloggy friends really have become just like our own family. In some cases, we might even know more about them than their so called 'real' friends do. I am privileged to have all of you in my life, and I think it's wonderful that you feel that your grandma is looking after you, even though you never met her.

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    1. Dear Diane, you have touched my heart so much in this comment. Thank you for love you so generously give to me and all of our blogging friends. It is rare to find someone as genuine, thoughtful and uplifting as you are to us every day.

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  3. There is deep caring within our circle of friends, Jenny. The two people who commented above me are among the finest examples of this. So are you. I feel my friends' love and caring every single day and I try to radiate it back to them in every one of my comments.

    I feel as though I have spiritually adopted dear 100 year old Margaret Brown Schneider, the oldest living Dell rat. I truly care about her and feel as though I've known her all my life and somehow, before my life even began. I also believe that I have been spiritually adopted by John and Helen Ettline, the long departed owners of the Shady Dell.

    This true story will explain why I feel a psychic connection between the Ettlines, Margaret Brown Schneider and myself. A couple of weeks ago I shipped a special gift to Margaret for her 100th birthday. It was a book originally owned by John Ettline in his youth. John's name is printed inside the cover. The book, The Opening Door: a Story of the Woman's Movement by Justus Miles Forman, is significant because it was published in 1913, the same year that Margaret and her family moved into the Dell. As I was signing my name to a note accompanying the book an amazing thing happened. I have signed my name countless thousands of times in my life, but an unseen force took control of my hand at that moment and instead of signing "Tom" my hand wrote "Jon" which contains three letters in the name "John" and only one letter in the name "Tom." I believe this was a sign that John was making himself known to Margaret and was at the same time giving me a powerful mandate from beyond the grave to continue my effort to tell the story of the Shady Dell as completely and accurately as possible.

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    1. Dear Tom, that is hair raising! I have goosebumps reading your story. Seriously, every hair is standing on end. I thought of your connection to the Ettlines as I was thinking about the concept of spiritual adoption. What an incredible gift that you sent to Margaret. I am looking forward to reading that story as it unfolds.
      I really connected to everything you had to say in this comment, and thank you so much for caring about your friends the way you do. I know we all have been blessed by your friendship.

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  4. Hi Jenny,
    What a lovely concept and I like you think our blogging friends are definitely Spiritually linked. I find it very reaffirming of good seeks out good that so many of us are, well good.
    Keep bringing your wonderful brand of love and goodness to the world Jenny. We need you in it so very much.
    Hugs~

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  5. Jenny - I just had to pop back to thank Shady for his sweet comments - as always. I hope he knows just how much he means to all of us, and wasn't that spooky indeed when he went to sign his name in that book. What a wonderful gesture to send such a special gift to Margaret for her 100th birthday!

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