When Mark and I are "on our game" (which we are not right now), we like to do affirmations with the kids at the dinner table. Generally it involves us going around the table and saying a few things we like about each kid, and a few ways they have made us proud that day. We haven't done this since Kembe came home, and the other night as we were eating it occurred to me that we needed to include him in this tradition. I went around the table, saying the usual things. As we affirmed Jafta, and then India, and then each other, Kembe sat there quietly, with wide eyes and a curious look. I could tell he understood what I was saying and was watching with anticipation. Then, it was his turn. I told him in my best Krenglish how much I loved him, how funny he is, how nice he is to the baby, how handsome he is, and how happy we are that he is in our family.
Oh my word. If I could have somehow captured the look on his face at this moment, it would melt your heart. He just got this look about him that I've never seen. It was pure joy . . . just unadulterated excitement and pride and happiness. He was BEAMING. And seeing him, I just thought: this.
This is what every child longs for and deserves . . . the adoration and affection from a parent. This is why I spent the better part of a day sounding off at a small portion of a news program dissing adoption. This is why I get so frustrated with attempts to shut down children being placed in the home of a loving family, because of something like race, or location, or sexual orientation, or finances, or home size.
When you see a glimpse of a child getting it - this. This family thing. When that starts to click and you get to bear witness to it . . . I just don't think there is anything more beautiful.