Thursday, February 14, 2013

Celebrating Love

We have been busy around here this week gearing up for Valentine's Day.  Who doesn't like a day that is all about celebrating love?  I am finding that Valentine's Day this year, like almost everything else in my life, is taking on a different meaning for me in the context of our adoption.  As I watch my children making cards for their teachers, friends and each other; and as I watch them opening gifts and cards from their friends and from us, I feel extremely grateful that they have so many people in their lives to give love to, and to receive love from.  And as I feel grateful for what they have, I can't help but feel burdened for all of the people in our world who are living without love.  For me, what comes to mind first (of course) are the millions of orphans in this world who have never experienced real love.  I can't help but think about how crushing it is that there are approximately 150 million children in this world who have never heard, and may never hear, the words "I love you".  I can't help but think about a picture my friend, Heather, recently posted on her blog.  She just travelled to China to pick up her daughter, and posted this picture from her visit to her daughter's orphanage:

It is hard to look at these precious children, set 2 to a crib, and know that they may never get to experience something most of us have in abundance and often take for granted: love.  I believe that every child in this world deserves to know love.  While I wish more people heard the call to bring one of these orphaned children into their home, I understand that adoption is not for everyone.  But I do think everyone is called to share their love with others. Isn't that really what we are trying to teach our kids to do on Valentine's day? Share their love.  Shouldn't we be trying to model that for them?  I feel like sometimes we adults complicate things that should really be very simple.  This thought came to me as I was helping my 4th grader study for a religion test last week.  We were going over his notes, and I opened the page to this:

"You shall love your neighbor as yourself"

"As I have loved you, so you should love one another"

There it was. So simple. So easy to understand.  We are supposed to love each other.  I know they are too young to get it now, but I hope one day our children will understand that part of Rob and I's desire to adopt is a desire to do just that: to love someone the way we have been loved.  A desire to honor the amazing love we have been given in our lives by our friends, siblings, parents and God. All of us have people in our lives in need of love.  They may be across the world, across the street, or across the dinner table.  They may need to be adopted; or they may need to be trusted, forgiven, accepted, or simply hugged or kissed.  They don't need fancy gifts or candy or flowers (not that those are bad!).  They just need love.

I can only hope that at this time next year our family will have the privilege of lavishing love on a little girl who has never  known what the love of a family feels like.  How lucky would we be to be able to do that?  We are so ready to do that!  We hope that wherever she is, she is feeling loved in some way today by someone.

Happy Valentine's Day!  

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