Michael B Linton

Sunday, February 14, 2016

An Unexpected Love for Valentine's Day

It's Valentine's Day 2016. Significant others have been flowered, chocolated, and ballooned, all at the behest of florists, chocolatiers, and balloonists. My lovely bride has no real concern for Valentine's Day. Should I get her something, she'll be pleased, but it isn't expected in my home. She prefers the thoughtfulness and surprise of flowers when I've been gone on a trip to the manufactured and planned presentation every February. However, this isn't a post about the uselessness of this made-up holiday, though I believe I could produce one so compelling, you'd never again deign to spend your evenings of February 13th skedaddling from one Walmart to another in search of the last crappy card.

Nor will I Jesus-juke the holiday. Certainly, the only true love is that offered by God in the person of Jesus Christ. Absolutely, the church father for which the non-holiday is named would cringe at the sappy sentimentalism for which his name has been used. But why would I want to steal food from the mouths of Hallmark's president's children? Enjoy your fun, if you see fit to participate.

However, one can't approach this holiday without at least the thought of love crossing one's mind. And the love that crossed my mind is one that truly surprised me, though I don't know why. It's my love for our adopted beauties, the Twinadoes.

J3's adoption was final in July of 2014 and J4's was final in August of 2015, so this is the first Valentine's Day with both of them fully ours. Etta and I regularly look at them, marvel at their beauty, and wonder aloud how we got them. We question whether they could truly be ours and if no one will come to get them to take them to their "real" parents. It's all part of the marvel of adoption, I suppose. We have no true fears of any of this, but it boggles the mind some days that they are actually ours.

Then, in the midst of all that, I'm struck by how much love I have for them. I'm a fairly nice guy, mind you, working on loving people and all that. I also knew coming into this that I would probably love them. What I don't think I was prepared for was how quickly and completely I could love them. I know this isn't the case for all adoptive parents, that some find it more difficult than others, but this has been my experience. And it has blown me away.

I can't imagine life without them, but that's not even the half of it. They are my son and daughter, as surely as J1 and J2 are. Other than a slight difference in skin tone, I don't see any distinction between the four of them. My love is complete, as much as a human father's love can be, and I am floored by it.

The fact is, I loved them before they were ours, and I don't just mean when they were foster children in our home with an uncertain future. I mean before I knew them, I loved them. It was a decision we made when we entered the process - we didn't wait until children had been placed with us. It was a willful decision on our part.

But it was much more than that. This was divinely orchestrated. I don't think I can take too much credit for loving them. This is the calling God placed on our lives and, when he placed the calling, he placed the love. God told us to foster and adopt children, but what we didn't understand is that God told us to foster and adopt 'our' children. That's what we did. That's why we love them so.

They're ours and they always have been. And we can't believe how much we love them.