Thursday, July 31, 2008

Unexpected Understanding

We had a visitor last night, a friend of ours whom we hadn't seen in quite awhile. Alethea is a Mennonite teacher who once was a loving caretaker of Matthew's at the day care he attended part-time when he was around 2 years old. We had a wonderful evening visiting and catching up, and I have always been so glad that this unique friendship has somehow managed to be maintained, despite the distance that separates us both physically, as she now works and lives in Mississippi...and culturally, as we come from vastly different worlds. However, there exists a deep respect for one another and a recognition that despite what others might think, if we look hard enough, there is more in common than most would assume. We are all blessed that she considers our family to be her friends, and that through her over the years we have captured a tiny glimpse of a lifestyle that is not understood by many. This exposure to a diversity of religious expression and practices helps us teach our sons about the myriad ways other people practice their faith, and in turn they then feel a deeper respect for others.

As Alethea left last night, I was pleasantly surprised to see Matthew offer her a big, heartfelt hug. Matthew is not usually openly affectionate with other women...all of his teachers have been politely spurned and other women in his life whom I know he cares deeply for have to tease him and "chase him down" for a hug. I am the lucky one to whom he gives his affection willingly, freely and easily. Matthew is also in many ways our "deepest" child, he is extremely perceptive and he ponders the Big Questions of life and loves to discuss his thoughts about those Questions. He is a terrific judge of character, and if someone is not a person of quality he tends to quietly turn in another direction.

This morning, I received a lovely gift from Alethea, completely unexpected and it spoke volumes about her depth of understanding of our family. Perhaps it is his finely tuned 6th sense that caused Matthew to "give it up" last night for Alethea without a moment's hesitation. After reading the gift of a poem she wrote for us, I believe Matthew must have felt her sincerity and pure love without it ever having to be expressed openly. I asked Alethea if I could share her writing here on the blog, and she graciously gave me permission to post it here.

Alethea, as we spoke about last night, there are some people who may not ever find themselves adopting but God uses them to offer encouragement and support to those who do. You have been placed in the unusual circumstance of being surrounded by adoptive families of all shapes, colors and sizes, and from your own words it is very obvious that you understand better than most what adoption really means. Thank you so much for your beautiful expression of what our family is all about. I will treasure your poem for years to come.

Child of My Heart
for Dominick & Cindy, Matt, Kenny, and Josh
My little boy, I hold you close
Before you say good night,
And pray that God, who dwells above,
Will keep you in His sight.
When you were many miles away,
He turned my thoughts to you
And led me far across the world
To a land so strange and new.
And from the moment that we met
I knew you were my son.
You brought me joy I'd never known
If you had never come.
Each day I thank our God for you,
For sending you to me,
And pray, whate'er the years may bring,
That you will always see
That though you are not of my blood,
Of me you are a part--
You simply came a different way,
Dear child of my heart.

Love, Alethea
Alethea, you may not yet have children of your own, but you certainly have a Mother's heart.


Anonymous said...

Love the pic! I hope you and your family have a terrific time on your trip. enjoy! Cant wait to hear all about it! Oh, Really like the new blog look. Good work!
Heather Wood

Anonymous said...

Have a fantastic SOL tour! And consider sending the picture in to Hanes - you might become their new poster family!! I miss you guys and look forward to catching up when you get back. Love ya'! Miss Joan

Mala said...

Have a great tour!
From one blogger who doesn't often have 'the cutest portraits of their kids' (read: my son is in a dress.... AGAIN!)

Dee said...

I'm so happy to know we are not the only family to make hats out of our underwear and be extremely silly!

Have fun on your tour!

Lindsay said...

Love the photo! Does this mean you fixed your laundry problem? :)

Have a great tour!