A long time ago, some doctors told my sister-in-law, Becky, that due to her cancer treatments as a child, she'd not be able to have children. What those doctors didn't know is that people like Becky are MADE to be mothers. I've never met a kinder, gentler, more caring soul in the world. And the fact that she not only puts up with my brother but loves him intensely adds so many points in her Heaven column.
(Don't worry, I love my brother too, but it's my little sister duty to give him Hell even when I'm supposed to be being nice. He'd expect no less.)
And you know what? My brother surprised the sh*t out of me by being a spectacular dad. I don't say it to be mean at all. He will be the first to tell you that most people frustrate him/drive him crazy. But I guess if those people are little enough and cute enough, he'll cut you a few breaks. I'd like to think that he cut his parenting teeth, bossing me around all those years. However he did it, though, it worked. Those boys adore him.
It hasn't been easy. When Jim and Becky decided to adopt through the foster care system, I worried. A lot. I've worked with a great many kids in the system, mainly through camping, and their stories aren't easy. As a friend of mine says, "You don't get in that system for nothing." They don't take them away for feeding the kids Pop-Tarts and not making them wash their feet. I worried about the emotional strain. I worried about the guilt in wanting to save them all. I worried about what would happen if kids were sent back to their bio parents. And some of that happened, and it was devastating.
But it didn't stop my brother and sister-in-law. They knew that somewhere out there, there were kids who needed them. Kids who deserved them. Kids that they could save from some pretty severe circumstances. And there were. And they did.
I can't even begin to imagine the leap of faith it takes to trust yourself to be a parent -- either through birth or by adoption. I don't know if I could risk my heart the way that Jim and Becky did not once but several times. I was in awe of their courage to go after their dream of being a family. I'm still in awe of it.
On December 21, 2012 -- a day that most people predicted an ending for our world, Jim and Becky's world began anew. This is the day that they officially adopted Isaiah. When the judge asked my brother to hold up his hand to be sworn in, Isaiah immediately gave his dad a high five. It was so fitting, I think, and such a clear picture of Za's personality.
Due to changes in the foster care system, Jim and Becky had to be very private about what they shared about the boys -- including pictures -- on social media. Nothing makes me happier now than to see them brag, just like every other parent, on Facebook. I waited until Jaxson's adoption was final before posting; it just didn't feel right to mention one without the other.
And Mom and Dad:
This morning, Becky posted that today it hit her that she was "finally a MOM" and included the phrase, "they grew in my heart". I loved that; it is so very true. And I'm so glad that she and my brother kept planting that dream. The world's a much more beautiful place with those boys in it.