My son just got his drivers license yesterday. Finally. I haven't been as eager as he, for I love the fine people of my community and do not wish to put their lives in danger by unleashing another teenage alpha male on the road! (If you know Roma, you are shaking your head in agreement!)
Roma will be 19 soon. I postponed the inevitable as long as possible. Roma is my baby, and maybe I am a little overly protective of him. I need to let him go, even to make his own mistakes, but he has had a head start on practicing mistakes. "Roma!" I am always saying (and always with an exclamation point!), "learn from the mistakes of others! You cannot possibly live long enough to make them all yourself!" Big mistake on my part—so now he is doubling up, testing my assumption, accepting my dare!
I pray for his thoughts and actions, and his safety. I lay him down at the feet of God. I want him to linger there, for a nanosecond, or two, at least. But he keeps getting up and running off. Is it my job to keep dragging him back, thrashing in protest?
We adopted Roma 11 years ago from Russia. The story is documented in my book, But the Greatest of These is Love, published last fall. I wrote the book because I could not NOT write it—the book sort of wrote itself. This story is who I have become. It oozes out in my daily life, my conversations, and my on-going, pray-without-ceasing dialogues with God, which usually begin, "God, help me mother Roma." and sometimes include clinched-teeth bargaining with God, even wrestling with God. (Hey, I am not the first!) My hope in sharing our story is so others will see God in the details of their lives, and be blessed. To recognize the miracles of God's grace is a blessing. To have eyes that have been opened to see the glory of God is a blessing. I hope my story gives hope to others who are wrestling with God about the plan He is revealing to them. God sees the big picture. We do not. God has mysteries that we cannot fathom with our little ant brains.
God doesn't want us to always be like ants. He wants to transform us. Often He refines us by fire. Not literal fire, but by trials, even suffering. I do not mean to make it sound like raising Roma has been on par with some people's genuine suffering. The biggest trial in my life has not been raising Roma, but surrendering to Got when He revealed His plan for me of adoption when it was not my plan. Getting on board with God's plan was the challenge. And Roma has continued along that path, challenging me! Every day!
"Trials." Sure, trials bring with them many qualities like perseverance, character, and hope, but who signs up for trials? We would rather be refined by a massage while meditating with a glass of wine. I guarantee more would be signing up for that! But as an old story goes, the process of purifying precious metals is complete only when the one doing the purifying can see his own image reflected in the metal. It is in the process that we are refined.
Is it easy? No! It was never meant to be easy. What do we learn from "easy"? I know I have learned a lot from "hard"!
Through the years, well-meaning friends have stopped just short of asking THE question. I have read it in their skepticism, in their careful comments. Only one person ever verbalized THE question, a middle school teacher who had previously taught my older, calmer children, and had her hands full with my charming, exuberant, bouncy Roma—"Do you ever regret adopting?"
Older adoptions are more complicated, when neglect has had time to complicate a young child's psyche. For a child to spend the first seven years of life in a setting we can not imagine, leaves an impression and an impact that have consequences.
But never for another nanosecond do I regret claiming the jackpot that is Roma. It would be like saying I wish I had never been born. Because of God's impact on my life through Roma, I have been born again. Oh, there are moments (MANY) when we lock horns and my prayer is for Roma's protection from ME! But he is my son in every sense that matters. His love has changed me. For the better. I pray mine has done the same for him.
And as he drives away, I pray for his safety and decisions that come with his new freedom. I have to let him go.
Stop by Facebook, "like" to get updates, and scroll to the beginning, to see more photos of my delightful, exasperating boy! And if you live in the vicinity, keep your eyes peeled for a dark green, 2000 Chevy Impala. I would give you the license number, but it will be moving too fast to read!
Has my life been blessed? Oh, yeah!