As I search the album I took these from for just the perfect pictures, I am struck by what a blessed life I have had. That blessed life is certainly a gift from God, but is in no small way also due to the tireless efforts of my wonderful parents.
As I get older and watch my own children grow, I find new reasons each day to be so very thankful for Ed and Sandi Mitchell.
For those of you who do not know, I was adopted.
It was a familial adoption (which in some ways was simpler and some ways much more complicated). I was adopted by my biological mother's sister and brother-in-law. I have always known, there were no secrets in our family. From a very early age I recognized that Momma and Daddy were and would always be my "real" parents. There was no question about that. My relationship with my biological parents was more complicated, but never for a moment did I feel unloved or unwanted.
What I quickly recognized as I grew up, especially after I was married and became a mother, was that my parents gave me an amazing gift. They took me from a life that would likely have been filled with struggle and left me lacking for many things and they gave me a life filled with love, joy and opportunity.
We had our share of trials and struggles, don't get me wrong. As a teenager, I could be......difficult. There were complicated and challenging emotions to deal with. Even in the most open, amicable adoption situations, there are messy and complicated feelings that arise.
And I haven't always appreciated the gift.
Now that I have children of my own, I can recognize the value of this beautiful gift of adoption that God blessed me with. I better understand what it is to love a child so very deeply that it physically hurts. I better understand the sacrifices a parent is willing to make for their child. I am immensely grateful that my parents chose to shower me with their love and support. I know now that they prayed for me. They sought God's face in the struggles of infertility and rejoiced at His provision through adoption.
I am also reminded that my earthly adoption is a beautiful picture of God's love for His children. Just as biblical marriage is a picture of Christ's love for His bride (the church), earthly adoption is an illustration of God's love for His children. He chooses us, just like my parents chose me.
It reminds me of a poem that hung on my parent's bedroom wall for many years and now hangs in my home:
Not flesh of my flesh
Nor bone of my bone
But still miraculously my own
Never forget for a single minute
You didn't grow under my heart, but in it.
I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father that He loved me so very much as to provide me the gift of adoption and a life with my wonderful parents.