It's after midnight and I was in bed, but found myself thinking about my children, and people in general. I had to write it down.
It occurs to me that if you don't allow your children the opportunity to rise to an occasion, then they surely won't. They will fail every time. But if you do allow them, occasions to which they may rise I mean, then they will only fail sometimes. Other times they will rise, and still other times they will exceed the occasion, and your expectations, and even pass you up altogether.
All five of my children have risen to occasions which I doubted they could meet. Thank God above I did not manage to prevent them, underestimate them, or sell them short every time--though sometimes I tried. And I really mean its thanks to Him--He knows these marvelous children much better than I do.
Jasper and Ruby, this is especially a love letter to you. We went through the motions of giving you a choice and a voice in our adoption, but really you had none. Kids don't make their parents' life decisions for them, and shouldn't be asked to. And though this has been extremely difficult for Saffron and Willa in other ways, they have had from the beginning one advantage you did not--the desperate fear of the dark and lonely past they left behind. Because of that past, they have said they never doubted for a day that they would be happier in their new life, and better loved.
You two, on the other hand, had a very happy life with a family you loved. You faced the fear, and expressed it often, that your life would never again be as happy as it had been in the past--that you would have less love than you had in the past, not more. Each of you went through periods of great fear that your life would never feel right or happy again, and that you were completely powerless to change the situation. I agonized over your feelings. I cried in bed at night, trying to remember and rely on the sure feelings that had caused us to pursue this course, and the belief that in time we would all have greater happiness because of it.
At some point along the way, the thought came to me (the Spirit prompted me) that I was underestimating both of you, and your ability to keep trying, overcome change, try to find the joy in your new sisters, trust that your parents still loved you as much, and even nurture a tiny faith that down to road you may one day be happier than ever with your new family.
And you have risen gloriously to the occasion. You have risen above it. You have gotten up and tried again every day to forget feeling displaced and instead make a new place in a home that felt foreign, with a mother who herself probably seemed foreign and unsteady sometimes. You have included. You have encouraged and complimented. You have apologized. You have forgiven (your sisters and your parents). And, you have shared your mom. You have moved over to let someone else sit by mom--to let someone else have a goodnight cuddle. What a very hard thing for a frightened child to do! And for all of those things, for what I have seen in the two of you, I now love you more than ever before--more than feels possible. I love you not only as my children, but as wise old souls who have weathered a difficult storm and kept me safe in the process. Just like your sisters, you are now loved even better than you were in your past life. And that, my gems, is one of the many blessings I am beginning to see unfold: the new happinesses of our new family. I see you both feeling comfortable again--feeling right in your family. And happy.
I hope you two also see the change in yourselves. I hope you feel a greater sense of self worth and courage for life ahead because you have already faced a great fear, a mighty change, and risen to the occasion. After taking in stride the death of a baby brother and the "birth" of two child-sized new sisters within two short years of your young lives, I can't imagine either of you facing the giants of life without coming off conqueror.
I have a feeling that when the four of you are grown, you, Jasper and Ruby, will look with awe at what Saffron and Willa went through to join our family. I have no doubt that they will look back at you in awe of what you went through to let them in.
If I doubted you, I stand corrected. For the rest of your lives let me stand aside and let you rise: marvelous risers to magnificent occasions.
I love you,