Filled to the Brim

November 14, 2016


In April of 2013, my mother traded her two-door, hornet blue Hyundai sedan for a three-row, bright-white Chrysler Town and Country. Our family of four could fill this new car twice. We all piled into the vehicle,  my mother driving and father beside her, ready to go to Verizon Arena to watch my aunt graduate from nursing school. Before we left, my mother’s phone rang with an unknown number. The voice on the other end described a 21-month-old boy who was physically broken and emotionally hurting. He needed us. My mom stayed home, and we were all too distracted to focus on the ceremony.

When we arrived back home, a small foreign figure was in my mom’s arms. The boy was only a diaper, with a sling on his arm and covered with a hospital blanket. My mother made the same cooing noises she had once made to me. His large brown eyes avoided mine as I said hello, and his bruises made me hesitant to go further. I climbed into my bed, the boy sleeping in the next room over.

Eighteen months later, my family of five climbed into the minivan and drove to the courthouse. The boy was no longer foreign to me, no longer had the bruises, and no longer had the scared look in his brown eyes from our first introduction. I held his hand as we walked into the courtroom. The judge asked us if we loved him, and we sounded a resounding “Yes.”

The Judge read his ruling: the boy would stay with us. His gavel sounded, and nothing changed. This little boy had been a part of our family for over a year now. The ruling changed nothing except the amount of ink on some paper.

This is the moment I realized that family isn’t about what home you live in, or who you’re surrounded by, or the names on a document. Family is about love. Now, we have adopted two other children. My house is filled to the brim with family-filled to the brim with love. I would not have it any other way.

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