Reflecting on my childhood, I feel like there is one happiness that seems to really stand out to, casting shadows on all the rest. Growing up, both my Mom and my Dad THRIVED on saving people. While that might sound dramatic, I realize that children’s perspectives often are. And the concrete becomes mixed with the imagination and there it takes form.
My parents weren’t big entertainers and I can’t say I remember a lot of parties and socializing. But I feel like their hospitality was of a different kind. Guests were frequently brought into our home and rather than staying for dinner, they stayed indefinitely. Weeks, months or sometimes years – and we became knit with everyone and developed a family bond. I love my parents for this, it brought an excitement and freshness into the home and I saw how my mom would carefully attend to their needs as they arose, and how our adopted family would quickly ease their way into our family with very little effort.
To me, this is the truest form of adoption – and it was inspiring to me from the time I was very young. It felt like we were living real life, and rather than our family be a place where we sponged love and affection off each other (though we might have been able to do more of that) we used the strength of what we had to encourage and build up people around us. This has inspired my husband and me in the building of our marriage and becomes one of the key principles we live by in our union together. We would feel like our love for each other was wasted if it was absorbed in a gluttonous privacy. Love strengthens for the task, and equips where there is need. JD’s love for me shaped who I am in so many ways, but even more, it gave me the tools to offer others more than I could ever give on my own.