World Adoption Month

weekly update

for November 12, 2020

“We just celebrated a milestone with our daughter. It’s been 10 years that
she made an important decision. She chose our family.

In Texas, a child in the foster care system has to live in someone’s home
for at least 6 months before they can be legally adopted. When Amber came to
live with us in April of 2010, we had already chosen her to be our daughter.
CPS had approved us 6 months before that and we had committed through the
frustrating process (the system is really broken y’all). She didn’t know us.
She was completely going on faith and that we were “nice people”. This took
so much courage. And since in Texas, children over 11 are allowed to choose
back, Amber got to have the final word on whether she wanted to be adopted.

So on Oct. 30th 2010, a full year later after the initial choice that we
made, Amber said YES to our family. We’ve had lots of ups and downs, as all
families do. We also celebrate this important decision because love isn’t
just about a feeling in one moment. It’s about commitment and CHOOSING to be
there for the long haul, through thick and thin. Loving all the bad with the
good.

Here’s the cool thing about adopting an older kiddo. They get to have a
CHOICE. We love our daughter, not just because we chose her and promised to
love and take care of her before a judge. No. We love her because God has
given me specifically a love for her that I don’t even always understand the
depth of it myself. It is a deep, powerful love that only God knows how to
give, and we learn somehow to receive, even if it’s overwhelming.

It is a love that says you are SEEN, you are precious, you are valuable,
and you are worth the struggle and things that aren’t easy because the JOY
is in the relationship and YOU being YOU. Ours is a love that says, “I love
you, every molecule. I don’t need you to be anything I expect you to be for
my love to increase or decrease.” I know I haven’t been perfect as a parent
and it has perhaps at times felt to Amber like we had high expectations. All
parents and families have expectations and make sacrifices for each other,
and we have times where we don’t even like each other, but I have always
made an effort to intentionally LOVE. So whether Amber had chosen our family
back in 2010 or not, or whether she even understood at 15 that adoption was
forever, nothing will change the love we have for her. Nothing. I hope we
have shown that to her and that she really KNOWS in a deep, personal way the
love we have for her.

But what really matters about celebrating this day is that the choice to be
adopted means that Amber was willing to be a RECEIVER of our love. It’s a
gift of a family that was accepted at one moment in time, and yet she gets
to continue to choose. We will never be perfect at it. And I actually love
that we have created our own path in doing this adoption thing, and our own
beautiful story. Today, 10 years later, I would choose Amber to be my
daughter all over again.” – Shelley Harrington, Legacy Collective Member

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