adoption, gifts from God, grief and loss

Passing Us By

It is not uncommon for some of  the most life altering events to pass us by without our realizing. That moment when the stripe turns pink and you realize you are going to be a parent is typically weeks after conception. The acceptance letter to college arrives days after it was mailed and maybe weeks after the admission board made their decision. That first meeting of someone who will one day become your best friend or spouse might not even warrant you taking much notice. Even that tragic phone call with the passing of a loved one can come hours after the fact. There are moments, days, weeks, or even years in which we live oblivious to the big moments that have already occurred and will alter life as we know it. It is our human nature to look back and wonder, “What was I doing then?” We calculate back to the day of conception or think about those blissful moments before our life shattered.

Sean came into our lives like this, and he left our life in the same manner. I could not tell you what I was doing when Sean was born, completely unaware that someone had entered the world that would change my life forever 15 years down the line. And when he left the world in a similar quietness, he left me blissfully unaware of the pain that was soon to come. Part of me is sad that I cannot go back and know exactly what I was doing at that very moment, but I suppose it is okay. In the quiet mystery, there is deep truth. A sovereign God, who knows all things, is still in control. My knowing or not knowing does not alter the course of such things. Maybe a few more oblivious days/hours of life as I knew it was simply a gift to hold off my sorrow for a moment more.

A year has passed since Sean’s death, but this is a date that I am grateful doesn’t stick in my memory quite like it should. My memories of Sean, however, will never fade.

adoption, Christian, gifts from God, loss, parenting teens

A Million Things Spoken and 1 Thing That Wasn’t

Sixteen and a half years ago, Jay and I made a decision to become foster parents. Caleb was an infant, and I was pregnant with Abigail. There is a longer story of God working in our lives leading up to that decision, but that is a story for another time. We filed the necessary paperwork and took the proper classes. The only piece we had left was the home study, but Abigail was born so we put that step on hold. Then a few months later we met Sean. We were introduced to him by Sarah, a Jr. High student in the church youth group I was leading. In the course of time, we came to better understand Sean’s situation and realized he needed a home. He needed a family. Deciding to take on that role was not an easy one. We had an infant and a toddler. I remember discussing it at length and saying to Jay, “Do you think anyone else is sitting around this weekend talking about wether on not they should take Sean in?” And that was that. We were being called.

Sean 3

Sean came into our life through an invitation. We told Sean that very first day that we were inviting him into our family, and that family was forever. We meant it. We invited him and he accepted. One of the first things we did was give him a Bible verse. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Little did we know, but about the time that Jay and I were completing our foster care certification, Sean was in the midst of a crisis. We would later read a note he’d written where he state that his life had no hope or purpose. Reading that note, dated months earlier, was one of many moments in life where I knew God had brought Sean to our family. God was already preparing an answer to Sean’s cry long before we’d met each other. And God, in the way only he can do, had provided Sean with a very specific reply to his letter. God literally answered with words and actions.

The years that Sean lived in our home and the years after would not necessarily be easy, but they were good. We had a lot of fun and a lot of struggle. We were all better for it. We are a family of words. We talk a lot. Dinner time is loud and often very ADD. It makes Caleb crazy that we can’t stick to one cohesive thought. But we talk. We talk about pretty much everything.  We say I love you!  We laugh. We cry. We pray. We sing. We admit our mistakes.

There was this one time we still laugh about. Sean was 17 and we had found about about something he had done wrong. I can’t recall what it was, but we were really working on confession at the time with him. Sean came home and we told him that before he could go out he needed to confess what he had done. We left him with paper and a pen. Sean sat there for a very long time thinking and writing. When Jay and I finally read the note we got cracking up. Sean had no idea what we knew so he confessed to about a half dozen different things that we had no idea about and the one thing we did.


Sean would come in and out of our home over the years, but despite the offer, Sean didn’t choose to be adopted until he was 23. Adopting Sean was the court putting in writing the words that we had spoken so many years before. Family is forever. With those papers one word would change. Sean would forever take the name Seidle.

Ours was always a relationship of words, but of all the things I will remember about Sean, all the words spoken between us, the love, the jokes, the stories, what I will remember the most is the one thing he never said. No matter what happened, no matter how long he was grounded, or how mad he got, never once did he ever say, “You’re not my mother.”