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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Like Living in a Goldfish Bowl (11/07/13)

TITLE: A Life on Display
By Taryn Deets


“So, how many kids do you have?” the conversation starts with standard mom small talk.

Shrieks of delight and shouting emanate from the glass doors separating the café and the ice rink, and I shiver before answering, “I have six—“
Incredulous, “Six, wow, that’s amazing. How old are they?”

I had been going to ask her about her family, but this was the way typical conversations started when a soon-to-be friend realizes how many kids I have, “My oldest is 16, and I have two thirteen year-old girls, two eleven
year-old boys and an eight year-old.”

I can already anticipate her next statement, “Wow, you have two sets of twins! You’re amazing!”

“No, on both counts,” I chuckle, “I don’t have any twins, nor am I amazing. Six years ago, my family of five adopted three kids from Ethiopia and we lovingly call our two thirteen and eleven year-olds the chocolate and vanilla twins.”

Again, the typical response, “Wow, I could never do that, you are amazing!”
I ponder just how much I should share with this new acquaintance, but decide that telling her that I am unable to do this job without the Lord’s constant help would require giving too much personal information that doesn’t seem appropriate to this casual conversation. So instead I just smile, thinking that perhaps when we get to know each other better, I’ll share the difficulties of raising these children for the glory of God within the context of a blended family.

I usually don’t share these challenges of blending a family of biological and adopted children, because so often we are not given as much grace as others when it comes to the ways we raise and discipline our children. For most, it is easier to imagine the losses that our adopted children have experienced before they became part of our family than those of our biological children. Most people don’t even think about the losses our biological children have faced and judge them more harshly when they are acting out in similar ways to our adopted children. Both sets of our children, and each in their own individual ways, have suffered loss and are trying to discover the ‘new normal’ of their lives.

Due to our differing skin colors, it often feels as though we are on display for anyone to question or comment on. Most people offer unjustified praise, and some give judgment because our discipline seems harsher for our adopted children than our biological children, never taking into consideration that different children require different discipline. Sometimes people judge us in ways most people would not feel comfortable judging other families, but because of our visibility, we have to just accept from time to time if we are to live the transparent lives God has called us to.

My thoughts thus occupied as we continued to chat, I hear Casting Crowns’ song "Does Anybody Hear Her" over the speaker system and the words are like a little nudge from the Holy Spirit. I decide to take the plunge, even if it leads to judgment, perhaps speaking to some difficulty in her life.

“You know, I hear that comment a lot, about how amazing and how cool it is that we adopted and kept these three siblings together. In complete honesty, it is neither.”

“Really, what do you mean?”

“Well, we expected that adopting these children would be hard in the beginning, but that after a short adjustment, God would make our lives easier than others we’d known who had adopted. He’d asked us to do this after all, so He couldn’t have meant for us to suffer, right? Well He didn’t make it easier, things got harder and harder,” I paused to let that sink in, continuing, “Sometimes God uses difficult situations to draw us closer to Him.”

“Do you really believe that?” as her eyes become moist.

“Yes, wholeheartedly! You see…” and as I shared with her, this stranger, of God’s redemption and love for us, I realized that this was exactly what He had called me to: I am to live a life on display so that others may see Him living in me, especially through my struggles.

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This article has been read 916 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Nancy Bucca11/14/13
I like the way you turn a simple conversation at an ice rink into a discussion on the challenges of raising children, then return to the conversation as a witnessing tool. Good job.
C D Swanson 11/14/13
Truly moving this well written piece. I enjoyed it from the first word to the last. Loved your wrap-up!

God bless~
Bonnie Bowden 11/15/13
There aren't many greater gifts of love than adopting children and giving them a chance to experience life within a family. Nice take on the topic.
Amelia Brown 11/18/13
This is such a wonderful take on the topic. The story flowed all the way through and the ending was very appropriate.

I have to say I do believe that once dicipline is based on Biblical principles & equality, any child will fit right in.

Very well written. I applaud the MC for being bold in sharing her personal family story.
Sheldon Bass 11/19/13
You nailed the topic while giving us a good snapshot of not only adoption, but also living and sharing our faith. I enjoyed this from start to finish. Great ending. I believe this is a winner!
Colin Swann11/20/13
A well written piece and very interesting. Yes, it can be difficult taking in other children but very worthwhile. Our son joined our family when he was five, and now has his own family and has a very successful career. We are so proud of him and love him and his family to bits.
Pinkie Bagele Taolo11/22/13
This a wonderful piece. I really enjoyed reading it. God bless~
C D Swanson 11/24/13
Congrats! God bless~
Bea Edwards 11/25/13
Loved the way you wove your personal experience into this well written piece. Nice job and congratulations on your first place ribbon but more importantly making your family available for God's purpose!