Friday, March 12, 2010

Living Life with Eyes Wide Open

Cindy mentioned in one paragraph of this morning's post that Facebook had brought up regrets. I can so relate to that feeling. Facebook allows us to watch the lives of other people -- people we once knew -- and she how they appear to be turning out. As I look at their lives from the outside, I can't help but wonder what life would have been like if Bart and I had pursued a typical path.

What if we had gotten married and had 2 or three kids by birth? What would they be like? I do know this. They would have been attached. I don't know if they would have been mentally ill, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have been all that cute (smile), and I would guess they would be incredibly intelligent and off-the-charts stubborn. The oldest would be about the age of our youngest, and well.... life would be a lot different.

So while I am tempted to be jealous of those whose have only kids who are secure, attached, mentally healthy, intelligent and on the right track, I know that people all have their own challenges. Facebook pages seldom show the struggles. And I do know the person I have become because of my children.

My children have allowed me to see the bigger picture. I have become more compassionate, more understanding, wiser, more in tune to the world around me, more engaged with reality maybe....

That's not to say, of course, that my Facebook friends aren't any of these things -- it's just that I know that it is my children who have brought me where I am.

When I train pre-adoptive parents, I tell them to consider the part of society that most of us in Middle Class spend our lives trying to avoid. Those who are involved in drugs or alcohol, domestic violence, mental illness, poverty, and crime. I then tell them that becoming a foster parent or adopting out of foster care is inviting "those people" into our lives -- because "those people" live in the minds and hearts of our children. Our children are "those people."

And so as time goes by, embracing those who are different and whose lives are glaringly imperfect, changes us. It becomes more difficult for us to tolerate injustice, racism, or intolerance. "Those people" become "our people" and we are forever changed.

I am sure that many of my Facebook friends who have not adopted have been brought along this journey in other ways, but for me it was the only way to get me to live my life with eyes wide open. I couldn't flip the channel when something disturbing came across my screen, because what was disturbing to me became part of who I am.

It would have been fun to have been able to live two lives. I wish I could know what might have been had I made other choices. But I'm confident that this was how I was supposed to learn and grow.

Thank you Kyle, Mike, Rand, John, Jimmy, Salinda, Ricardo, Mercedes, Tony, Leon, Dominyk and Wilson for teaching me how to live with my eyes wide open.

7 comments:

GB's Mom said...

Amen.

Little Wonder said...

Things like FB only put the best foot forward. Unless you truly know someone (which is a downfall of all this social networking stuff for this upcoming generation -- how can you really KNOW someone via computer only)we only know what they want us to know.

I would suggest that each one of those normal appearing families have also been tested to the limits of their personal strengths and weaknesses. Sex, drugs, alcohol, violence and crime does not live only in those affected by poverty, drugs, foster care/adoption/etc. All those things happen every day in "normal" homes...they just aren't talked about.

I grew up in an affluent society in eastern Ohio right across "the tracks" from the economically poor abandoned steel-factory, drug ravaged, mafia controled part of town and saw my share of million dollar families broken by sex, drugs and violence and just as many poor families who struggeld with the same things. Don't let the facade of facebook fool you.

Our world is sinful through and through and sin permeates every crevis of our being whether we are in the have or have-not groups.

sorry for the book! :)

Other Mother said...

Good thoughts today, Claudia. So glad you're feeling better, too!

Lee said...

So well said. And your comment about inviting "those people" into your circle is compelling and real. I found it interesting that there were friends I 'lost' when I made this change. Frankly,I am not sure they were really that big a loss. I liked them and all that but I *love* my kids. And I have made new friends who get our family and who don't think I am off my rocker (or at least don't SAY it!) LOL

J. said...

well said, well said indeed!

Rose Adoption Journey said...

Wow! I couldn't have said it better Claudia. As you know, we are in a struggling time right now and I am amazed at the easy answers that many have given me to that struggle. Many these last few days have said to me that they could NEVER do what we would do to help our child..why not? My boys have made me more compassionate to and reminded me that life struggles don't have easy answers. My boys have made me run to my Jesus with arms wide open and completely have fallen in love with my Lord. My boys have pushed me to places I had to be and didn't think I was capable of doing.

It is very very hard right now. VERY hard. Would I trade it...if I say no...would I really?? I would love some peace and quiet and less hyperactivity and less paranoia in our house..yes...but would I trade it? That would mean I would have to trade in my boys and as crazy as they make me some days...I cannot imagine my life without them. So..I guess I would not trade my life for something different.

Thank you Jason and Steven for MAKING me to live too with my eyes wide open.

On and PS..all my high school and college friends who act "as if"they have a normal life..are probably lying to themselves!! I can now sometimes see through the lies..thanks to my boys!

Me said...

So well said, and so true. I have learned so much about myself, and have grown SO much as person since becoming a foster parent. I agree...it has made me irritated by the rest of the world's intollerance....and yet, not long ago, I wasn't much different. I hope that my own children will grow up knowing early on how to love everyone, and that things aren't perfect, but we are ALL God's children.