Practical Love

3 of my Valentines
This morning, Kurt and I both got this text from our 21 year old daughter, Maddy:

"Happy Valentine's Day to the original love birds!!  Thank you for showing me perfect examples of every type of love.  I love you both so much it hurts!  xoxoxo

Pretty sweet, huh?

Kurt's response to Maddy got me thinking.  He told her that we've had lots of practice, so we are bound to get good at it, and then he informed her (tattletale that he is) that on our first Valentine's day together I "scoffed" at the pink carnation that he gave me.  That was 1979!  We were in 10th grade!  Let it go, right?

It is a flaw of mine that I am not very romantic.  I would probably die laughing if Kurt ever did something like cover our bed with rose petals.

I may not be a romantic, but when it comes to love, I have been lucky.  Crazy lucky.  Lucky and loved right from the day I was born.  My birth mom, Jean, loved me.  She poured her love into me for the week we had together in a Boston hospital.  She continued to love me after that, praying for me and hoping the best life possible for me.  My parents loved me from the moment that they knew I would be their daughter.  I have siblings who love me.  I have always had good friends that love me.  I married the first boy I loved.  I have four kids who love me.  I have never not known love.  Never.  Not one day.

I don't take love for granted, but I also don't over-think love either.  I am practical about love, and although I don't think that sounds very flattering, I do think my love attitude has served me well.

I think too many people over-think love.  Take romantic love, for example.  Recently someone told me that their spouse said, "I love you, but I am not sure I'm in love with you."  I hate that line.  That overused cop-out of a line.  As if we are entitled to feel the rush of chemistry that comes with attraction every day!  That's impossible.  That's how God designed us so that we would make babies.  He also designed us not not always feel that or we wouldn't get anything else done!   Come on.  Don't suddenly act like love is out of your hands!  Do your job.  Love your spouse.  Stop worrying about how you feel.

I have similar thoughts about the love we have for our kids.  A bunch of adoptive parents were talking recently.  They were discussing about whether their kids would have been better off if they hadn't been adopted internationally.  If the loss of their birth families, homeland, culture was too great, too damaging.  These parents love their children.  They agonize for them.  They see the hurts that their children suffer.  They are open, honest and raw as they share this with each other.  I honor and respect that.  I hurt for my boys, too.  They have lost so much.  However, I don't find myself wondering if we are what is best for them.  Not because I am sure we are what is best for them, but because it doesn't matter.  There is more than one path to a good life.  Our paths led us to each other.  We'll just take it from there.

When I was a baby,  I spent a couple of months in foster care before being placed with my adoptive parents.  During that time, my birth parents went to the adoption agency and told the social worker that they planned to get married and wanted me back.  After spending time talking with social worker, they decided to stay with the adoption plan.  But, had that happened, when I was older, they may have told me the story of how they almost went through with an adoption plan for me.  They may have told me about their last minute change of heart and how they got me back so we could be a family.  I would probably be horrified that I had almost been given away and raised by strangers!

Instead, I found this information out as an adult, an adopted adult, and felt horrified.  I wouldn't have been me!  I would have a different name, a different life, no Kurt, Devyn, Maddy, Mikias or Jemberu!   I wouldn't have had my parents!  I would have had the wrong life!

But of course the thing is, I wouldn't have had the wrong life.  I would have had the life I got.  Just like our adopted kids.  This is the life they got.  We can't change the circumstances or decisions made that led them to an orphanage.  We can't change the fact that they were in a place where needed a family.  We honor their past.  We acknowledge their hurts.  We do our best.  We love them.