Love Grows

I have a confession. This is awkward, but I just have to tell you something. Sometimes, I watch Barbie movies. And usually, I like them even more than my daughter. My favorite Barbie movie to date is "Barbie as the Island Princess," about a girl who grows up on an island, where the animals she lives with are her family. One day and handsome prince comes exploring and convinces her to go with him to his kingdom to, you know, meet actual people. All sorts of issues arise, but the storyline I want to talk about is Tika, the elephant who is family to Barbie, and her issues with Barbie falling in love (and then eventually finding her mother). When Tika shares her insecurities, Barbie wisely tells Tika that love grows, and proceeds to sing a song that says:
Everybody is born to care
It's something we were meant to share
Not to keep to ourselves all alone
If we make room for someone new
Doesn’t mean that there’s less for you
Only means that our circle has grown
Love knows, love grows
Bigger than before
In your heart there’s always more
It’s magic the more you give it away
The more love comes back to you everyday
You are my Tika and I am your Ro
Always forever wherever we go
So Love knows, love grows
Bigger than before
In your heart there’s always more
Always more 
Because adoption is so centric to my own life I can't help but think of how this applies so perfectly to adoption. When Shaun and I went to our first ever adoption meeting (pre-approval, pre-kids, we didn't know much going in), open adoption was briefly mentioned and explained. Frankly, the idea was terrifying to me. I knew this was coming from insecurities and fear, but I can be honest--Shaun and I both were pretty sure we did not want to have relationships with our future kids' birth families. (I cringe typing that now, I'm so glad we changed!)

Fortunately, love grows, and as our understanding of adoption grew, we became more open to the idea. We began talking with an expectant mom who was considering placing with us, and we realized that not only did we love her, but that we'd be foolish to not want our kids to have more love in their lives, from not only us but from the people who created them, and others who share roots with them and special biological and other connections. This special mother did not place her child for adoption, but she did teach us a lot about the huge benefits of potentially having an open adoption, and she showed us that it didn't need to be scary. Only a week after her baby was born we were invited to meet with Bean's birth parents, for what ended up being the day they told us they were going to place Bean with us. I'm not saying that we were totally evolved at this point--we were totally scared and had no idea what to expect, but that love was there from the start and it's grown so much.

As we've allowed love (not fear!) to dictate our family's interactions with our birth families we've felt the most beautiful outpouring of love. I truly think of our birth moms as my sisters. We completely love all of our birth families, not only each of our birth parents, but their parents too, and their siblings and every one of these lovely people who love our kids so much. We're all united in this strong love, and it's an incredible thing to be a part of.

As we became more secure in the knowledge we have that God has a plan for our kids, and that plan involves us being sealed to them, rearing them, and being their parents in a way that is completely real to us, we realized how wrong, how selfish it was to think that their birth families weren't an integral part of God's plan for them too. That seems so obvious now. They brought them into the world, they love them too, they are completely devoted and invested in these awesome kids. They are family, not only to the children who they brought into the world but to all of our family--we're all connected, and we really are family.

Like Tika's insecurity that Barbie loving someone else meant less love for her, our fears and insecurities were unfounded, because when you open your heart, love grows. When we added LilMan to our family, the love we had for Bean didn't decrease, rather our hearts opened up to love another, and the love just grew all around. At the top of this post there's a picture of us with Bean's birth family. I have other pictures like this that I could share with LilMan's birth families too--they have all become all of our family. We adore them, and we're so grateful to be blessed to have them in our lives. I'm so glad that I finally learned that love grows, and that my kids get to benefit from so much love that it's almost overwhelming. (I can't think of a better way to be overwhelmed than by having 8 sets of grandparents/great grandparents to dote on you.) Love is a beautiful thing, and I feel like it's a much better goal to live by love instead of fear.

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