Written by Julie.

Names have been changed to protect privacy.

As an adoptive Mom of 3 special needs children (Aubrey, Jonathan, Jason-all adopted at birth), I have a few thoughts to share. My children see many specialists due to their various disabilities: Tourette's syndrome; OCD; Bi-polar; Asthma; Speech challenges; Upper GI issues; Heart conditions; the list goes on. I give out 28 different meds per day as well as use a daily nebulizer machine every 3-4 hours for their well being. Jeff is our biological son.  Julie S.

It's getting late here and I finally got all 4 of the kids into bed after another night of roller hockey (3rd time this week.) Right now I have some quiet time to reflect upon my day. Earlier today, I spent 5 hours (6.5 if you count the drive) at L.L. Medical Center with my daughter Aubrey. She's following in her brother Jonathan's footsteps with reflux and aspiration into her lungs. From L.L. we rushed to the roller hockey rink for Jason's game and sat next to a single mother, whose son plays with our son Jeff. She's been very interested in our family and has complimented me several times about our terrific kids.

"Your son Jeff is a wonderful young man. You do a great job parenting your boys. It's sad to see all the difficulties you've had with Jonathan's health. I've been praying for your family. How's everyone doing these days?"

"Well you know, it's L. L. Medical Center or bust!"  (We're there a lot, my 3 youngest and adopted are substance abuse babies.)

"Oh no, who's sick?"

I told her about today's trip with Aubrey and she gave me a hug.

Another mother whose son also plays on Jeff's tournament team heard parts of our conversation and began to pry for more information.

"Do all your children have health problems? What's reflux? Why do they have so many illnesses?"

This woman wasn't genuinely concerned--she was just being nosy. My single mother friend rallied to my defense.

"Well you know her 3 youngest children are adopted and she feels very blessed to have them."

I responded, "Yes, they have health problems, but we're taking care of them."

Then the punch line came as the nosy mother blurted out some shocking suggestions.

"Why don't you just give them back? I mean you have a right to have a real life."

A number of thoughts and feelings ran through my mind as this person vocalized what others might think, but not say.

My response was appropriate for such a shallow comment, but what I wanted to say and communicate is the following.

I have a real life, so much so, that my heart is heavy and hurts worse at times because of all the challenges my children face. I have a real life, so much so, that when there are moments of joy, they are even more joyous because the accomplishments were fought for, but we won. I have a real life. I have a lifetime of real service and love. And isn't that what real life is all about?

I am a real Mother who tonight, laid down beside my 6-year old daughter until she fell asleep. I held her hand and listened to each real little breath until she was sleeping peaceably. And I'm grateful to have her real little hand to hold and cherish.

What would life be like without my children? For me, life wouldn't be real. Life would be empty and sad.

Give them back? Give them back to whom? Why would I ever give them back and for what reason?

No way, not on my life would I ever give them back, let them go away or even consider any other path for my real children that make me a real mother and a real person full of real compassion. 

My children are brave, my children make me laugh, and my children make me cry. My children are my life, they are my dreams, they are my posterity, they make my life mean something, they bring me to my knees in prayer, and they help me get closer to my heavenly Father.

I get up every morning anticipating their faces. I have the honor of caring for them. I'm given hugs, kisses and weed bouquets. I keep their hand drawn pictures and cry over their sweet love notes.

I referee their sibling fights and I get to color my graying hair. I boldly tackle laundry and then check to see if we have enough milk for breakfast. I've learned to become a part time pharmacist as I study the side effects of their medications and my house stays pretty messy.

I take naps because I get so tired and I cry lots of tears. But all of it, every bit of it, is real and it's real life.

I won't ever earn a Good Housekeeping reward, but I've earned a "caring heart for pain" award. I've earned the "enjoy each victory" medal and a "you can count on Mom" degree.

When I laugh, I laugh until the tears roll. Sometimes the laughing tears turn to overwhelming tears, but my kids don't know the difference. They see a real Mom that loves them with real love and they want to be just like me.

Some days I live an hour at a time; sometimes it's a breath by breath day. I hug and cuddle and love my real children.
I have the joy of praying for my real children and I hold them close when they're sick. 

What other life would I have? I can't think of any real life I would rather live.

Every night, my children voluntarily listen to church tapes. They believe God's promises are real

I hear my real son Jeff (15) encourage little Jonathan (whose team hasn't won a game all season) and I hear him coach Jason about being a goalie. I hear a real young man full of faith and values compliment his brothers on their accomplishments. They are real brothers, who are making real memories about real life.

Guess what? I have a real life. It may be different from what others may have or what others may consider a real life--but it's my life. I believe Christians as in Christian Adoption should be going about their Father's business in a real way in the real world, where there are real needs. I also think Christian Adoption is about serving and loving. I have the privilege of doing both on a daily basis with my real children.

These qualities help me grow and to become more like my Lord Jesus Christ. And I'm thankful for my real life.

Give my children back?

Not on my REAL life!


For more information please read Graduation.

We encourage you to follow God's loving guidance.

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