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.