Another birthday…Judsen is turning ELEVEN!
He is so old.
Judsen had one of the most difficult beginnings.
He still deals with the aftermath.
Just like everyone who has begun life in a brutal manner.
This boy…our 3rd in order of age, but our first adoption came screaming into our lives…and I literally mean SCREAMING at the absolute tip top of his voice.
I remember being so afraid.
Afraid he wouldn’t stop screaming.
Afraid I was doing everything wrong.
You know how it is with first-time parents…we were no different, even if I didn’t birth him.
If he was screaming I was frantic to find out what was wrong…
If he wasn’t screaming I was making sure he wasn’t dead.
I remember praying and praying, asking the Lord to show me what to do.
Because many times I was sure I was the wrong parent for this kid.
He needed so much, and we had very little to offer.
We didn’t have anything I thought we should have to adopt a child.
We had only been married for a year.
We didn’t own a home or have any money.
We certainly didn’t have any experience.
But when I looked into that screeching, screaming little face
I had to say yes.
And when I prayed…
He was ours.
Judsen has a will of iron.
He is almost as stubborn as I am…
He has one of the most mechanically creative minds of any kid I know.
He is always coming up with interesting inventions.
He builds new bikes out of old bike parts.
He can accurately “car talk” with adults.
Last summer he wanted to use my dad’s leaf blower to power around the lake in a kayak.
My father thought this was brilliant and willingly agreed…
I love it.
Judsen, has unknowingly challenged my faith time and time again.
When we started the foster/adoption process I spent a lot of time questioning God…
After all, we were newlyweds. I didn’t know what it meant to be a wife. And I certainly didn’t know what it meant to be a parent. I had NO IDEA what being a mom to this child would demand of me.
There is nothing in the way I behave, think, or act that would give anyone the slightest inkling that I would want to, or could actually parent a screaming, defiant toddler.
I am anal beyond belief…organized in the extreme. I am obnoxiously blunt, painfully loud, perfectionistic and realistic. There was not one single aspect of my personality that even hinted at the maternal. I actively pursued physical, emotional and spiritual comfort.
Then along came Judsen.
This is when I was emptied out.
Over and over, I was stripped of what I wanted and given what I NEEDED.
What I needed was this little boy
He taught me patience
He taught me love
He very clearly taught me what is and is not important.
There were nights Judsen and I spent HOURS in the little rocker next to his crib crying together. I couldn’t make him stop screaming, so I would just rock him and tap his back while he screamed.
rock and tap, rock and tap…praying and crying.
I was desperate to help him.
He was so broken.
So was my heart.
It was in those moments, the ones of sheer desperation and horrific sorrow that God was so clear to me.
I could hear Him in the few seconds of glorious silence.
I could see Him in the tentative, fleeting smiles on the face of my new son,
Feel Him in the slow but steady healing of Judsen’s broken body and heart.
Judsen is far removed from the screaming child I first met…
with his brain injury, black eyes and broken ribs.
Judsen is turning ELEVEN. 11!
Judsen loves birthdays.
He loves them because of presents and parties.
He loves them because there is cake and ice cream.
And because there is always leftover nachos and candy.
And clearly, that is awesome.
He loves them because every year, he thinks THIS is the year he can drive.
I love his birthdays because they remind me of how our adoption journey got started.
It all started with Judsen…
And that makes me smile.