From the archives: Adopting them as our own

****This month’s theme for Women Behind the Scenes has been all about Culture.  This was the very first article I wrote for this blog 2 years ago.   In some ways much has changed, the kids I speak of have grown feet, not inches, the culture I now have adopted is extremely different then Peru.   But not much has changed really, I love all my children very much, I enjoy learning and adapting to their different stages, and my new country has become home and we have adopted many friends as family.  *****

4 years ago  6 years ago our family had the unexpected blessing of gaining the addition of
two boys rather quickly . At the time they moved into our family, we were not sure if it was
a permanent situation or just a temporary one. This process was definitely a learning
experience for all of us- from all the paper work, to how to feed growing
teenage boys, how to help them emotionally, and a number of other things.
But, I think, one of the biggest things we had to learn was how to make this
new situation work as a family unit. I have to admit, at the beginning it
wasn’t easy. I still had the “MY KIDS ” and “THE BOYS ” mentalities; they were two
separate units. I struggled to pay for their doctor bills because that was
something their parents should do. I fought against thinking “my kids” were being jilted from the time and money I should invest in them (even as I write this I cringe that I thought that!). I struggled with falling in love with them only to have them move away, because that was the plan at first. All of these horrible thoughts had kept us from
really being the family I knew we needed to be.

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Several months in, I had an “AH HA!” moment, you might say. Things seemed to
be going from temporary to more permanent, and it really dawned on me that
these were the kids God had given me, that all 5 of the children present in
my house were MY KIDS. There were no differences. I then had to make some
changes both emotionally and physically. Emotionally my heart thought
of them as my own. Physically, we made some changes about who spent
Christmas where, who had the solo bedroom based on age (not who
had the solo bedroom before), and some other similar changes. Although we
never had, and possibly never will have, official adoption papers,
their last names will never change to ours, and they will never call us
mom and dad, they are MY KIDS. I love them very much, and I will fight for
them and do anything for them. After I had that “Ah Ha!” moment, all things
fell into place. This is not to say we haven’t had our bumps along the way, but the
Coffey Family consists of Mark, Amy, Tyler, Chase, Emilee, Luke and Addison,
and have I mentioned that I love my family?!?!

As I thought back on this, it dawned on me that this isn’t the first time I
have gone through a so called “adoption process”. Over 10 years ago, my
husband, my 6 week old baby and I packed up all our belongings and
moved to a new country. At first, I fought with the idea of making
this my new home where everything was foreign. I felt as if I would jilt my
family back home if I fell in love with new people, if I created a new
family. I felt that if I embraced their way of doing things, I was abandoning who
I was. I was afraid of falling in love only to end up hurt. I can’t remember
if I had an “AH HA!” moment or if I just changed over time, but I adopted Peru,
the Peruvian way of life, and some of the sweetest people on the earth as my
own. To me, there was no difference. Sure they did somethings differently,
but so did some of my stateside friends! I learned that it wasn’t blood,
it wasn’t color of skin, it wasn’t culture that bonded people as family but
genuinely adopting others into their own family. Although my skin color never changed,
my Spanish was never perfect, and I refused to wrap my baby up
like a mummy, these people were MY FAMILY and I love them very much! It was,
again, an emotional and physical change. Emotionally, I got rid of the “they
aren’t MY kids” mentality. Physically, I accepted and changed a few things to embrace the culture: my baby had her ear pierced, I tried my best to learn their language,
I spoke to them as equals, I ate their food, and I tried to never insult their financial situation. Sure there were bumps along the way; I didn’t say a Spanish word correctly and I didn’t enjoy when eating Panetón, but when we moved away from Peru, we left our family, our country, our home.
peruphoto

I honestly believe the adoption mentality is applicable to almost any
ministry situation, not only the missionary. Jesus is the best example we
have. He came from His glorious home, with His perfect Father and humbled
Himself and became a servant. He adopted men as His brothers and
invested His life in them. I can only imagine that in Heaven Jesus didn’t
have to walk on dirty roads in sandals through hot desserty conditions but
He did so on earth because We are HIS KIDS! He loves us, and we are His. There is no
difference! You know, an hour spent with your baby isn’t a pain at all
(well, most of the time), but an hour in the nursery is torture to some. Why
don’t we try to think of those babies as ours? The bus kids in your Sunday
School may grate on you because they aren’t well behaved ,but its amazing
at the patience you have with kids you fall in love with. The Mexican family that has just started attending your church may speak Spanish, may not communicate well, and may not have money to bring enough food to the fellowship, but it may help you relate if you imagine it was your daughter in a new country. Wouldn’t you want someone to accept and embrace her? Whether you are a Yankee living in the South or simply a mom dealing with annoying baseball moms with whom you cannot relate (yes I’ve been here). If you can change your attitude and adopt others as your own, you will be more affective in loving others as Christ loves them.

 

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  • 4 thoughts on “From the archives: Adopting them as our own

    1. This is just as powerful as the first time I read it two years ago, maybe even more so as I continue to see your love of the boys and others growing and multiplying. (And WOW, have they CHANGED since that first picture in your post.) You are a great example to us all of being loving, hospitable and kind to others at ALL TIMES. Many times when I feel a little selfish, I begin to think about how you would probably handle a situation. Thanks for sharing this article again.

    2. Amy, you are exactly what my boys needed. At first I worried about them being treated differently, it was an adjustment for everyone. I wanted my daughter to get her life together and get her boys back and raise them right. I also wanted to get the boys myself and raise them but God showed me I needed to think of what was the best for the boys. I can only imagine how hard it was for you not knowing how this would play out. I finally resigned myself to the fact that my daughter would not be raising the boys and that they needed the love and security of a family. I saw how you and Mark loved and wanted what was best for them, also when Addi came along God made y’all a family. She was sister to all the kids. I thank God everyday that they have a family that loves them and are raising them to love and serve God! I know they are your kids and I am so very thankful! Thanks for opening your home and your heart!

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