Peace in the Process and Thanksgiving!

kristin hill taylor head shotKristin Taylor is guest posting today, visiting from kristinhilltaylor.com. Kristin is the author of Peace in the Process

The same year my middle-child Ben was born and adopted into our family, our small group from church started a tradition. I’m not sure we knew it was going to be a tradition, but this group – equal parts kids and adults – gathered around a table for a Thanksgiving meal.

That was 2009. And, actually, Greg and I didn’t get to go because Ben was born on that Monday afternoon. We brought him home Tuesday afternoon, just hours before they had our first Thanksgiving. Not only did we not go, but my friend Sarah – who had a boy just shy of a month old – made the green bean casserole I was supposed to bring. And then our friends brought us plates overflowing with delicious food. We weren’t at the actual table with them that first year, but we were with them and they were with us.

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Community works that way.

Four years later, we still gathered around the table for a Thanksgiving meal, and it was when I broke out my china plates for the first time. For more than eleven years, that china has been sitting around, supposedly waiting for a “special occasion.” Truth be told, I was persuaded to register for the china and really wouldn’t regret had I not added it. But I have it. And I decided having it sit there was pointless.

Really, everyday community is a special occasion.

We’re not technically in an official small group with these people, but they are our community. Together, we’ve mourned and prayed and dreamed and hoped and planned and played and cheered and cried and laughed.

My girlfriends even washed, by hand, the china plates I probably would have put in the dishwasher. They’re into the ordinary details like that. They’re helpful like that. We’re in this life together like that.

In 2013, I snapped a picture of the nine kids who ranged in age from seven months to seven years and were gathered for the Fifth Annual Thanksgiving with Friends. I noticed Ben being part of the group in his school uniform, little blue shirt. He was a day old when this group first gathered around a table, literally, to give thanks for how we gather around the table, figuratively, with each other in our daily lives. He’s grown up knowing those other kids who surround him on the couch and their parents. He’s grown up in community.

In 2016, the kid contingent had grown to eleven for our Eighth Annual Thanksgiving with Friends. I still didn’t have a clever name for the gathering, but we still had each other, even though one family had moved several hours away. That was the year we traded the china for paper plates – and nobody cared.

God made Greg, Cate, Ben, Rachel, and me a family. But He’s expanded our family because we’re part of His family.

Truth be told, this community amazes me. God built community around me with these families and others when I wondered if it would happen. He surprised us with community in a town I wasn’t sure would be able to offer us new friends. Some friends have moved. Other friendships have changed with the normal rhythm of life. We’ve made new friends and kept the old.

 

Thankfully, that community continues to happen right here around my table.
*This is an excerpt from Kristin Hill Taylor’s new book, “Peace in the Process: How Adoption Built My Faith & My Family.” Kristin believes in seeking God as the author of every story and loves swapping these stories with friends on her porch. She lives in Murray, Kentucky, with her husband and three kids and shares stories at kristinhilltaylor.com.

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Book link – bit.ly/PeaceInTheProcess

 

National Adoption Month Winds Down

The month of November is winding down, the holiday week of Thanksgiving fizzles out at the tail. It’s the best of times of some and the worst for others. For some, two seasons burst forth a spring of new beginnings with new  life and the winter of souls, with loved ones missing at the dinner table.

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It’s not truly winter, according to the  calendar, but the ground is frozen, frost sparkles on the freshly raked grass and the leaves lie in piles at the edge of the wood or smolder in fire pits, smoke rising in a vapor. We often think of this season as the end of the harvest, a time to gather with family and be thankful. It’s fitting that National Adoption shares this month. There is a great deal to be thankful when it comes to adoption, but like this season, it come with a death of sorts, a loss. There is a sting in death, just as we lose a loved one, a child eligible to fostering or adoption has lost something, a parent, a sister, a brother, acceptance. We long to reach through eternity and grasp the flesh and blood hand of the one who has gone before us, just once more and so do they.

I close the computer while ‘friends’ on social media duke it out over politics, race and religion.

The social orphan knows this fight. The red-faced anger. He has heard it while he hides in his bedroom closet or he is locked away in a cellar. His parents, ruled by fleshly passions cannot or will not parent with love and consistency. They abuse or worse, neglect which says to the child, “you do not exist.”

Blue lights in the dead of night. A social worker. A garbage bag filled with the sum total of his life, the old familiar disappearing in the rear view mirror. A new, strange live begins in a foster home, orphanage or institution.

 

Survival is the name of the game. The child becomes stuck in the first of Glasser’s five needs, survival. He circles through the broken cycle of attachment and it falls short.

Loss. It is his life. He waits, maybe not for a family. He doesn’t have a strong supposition to support the word family. His loss is real. He still longs for the love, the hug, the flesh and blood touch, the approval, acceptance of those who bore him, yet, it doesn’t come.

He is shuffled from home to home or stays in an orphanage until he ages out.

He is there today, waiting. He has a banner on social media, advertising his need. National Adoption Month. Stories in a feed. And yet… he is real.

In this season of thankfulness or loss and longing or both, shut down the social media arguments. People are hurting, longing for safety, for home.

You can be that safe place. You can be home. That’s what National Adoption Month is about-giving orphans homes.