Make no mistake; kids change our lives. And then there is the added bonus of the joy of adoption. In our modern America family means something so much different than the black and white 1950’s. Allow me to share…

My son, Brandon, and his girlfriend Jenna are expecting. In her own words she was bleeding and cramping and at 21 weeks this threw a lot of concern her and Brandon’s way. To void the suspense, everything, to the best of my knowledge, is okay. She spent the night in the hospital as a precaution to be sure. Which (finally) gets me to my point.

Last night, I got to hang out with Paisley. Who is Paisley you ask? Well, she’s Jenna’s first child. Imagine a 5 year old brown-eyed nuclear power plant. Imagine continual motion in the form of hugs, requests to play and excitement over just about anything in life. Imagine happiness in a small package.

When Marie led me down the path of adding to our small family two children from the Oklahoma foster care system, I hesitated. Later, I sometimes even lamented during the more difficult days. Yet, unbeknownst to me I was simply passing along the compassion my mother had showed me. And that is this; family isn’t necessarily blood.

Family is love. Family is acceptance. Family is highs and lows and joys and sorrows. Family is a reflection of who we are before God; perfect and very much imperfect…all at the same time.

When I met Brandon, and then the next day Emma, it never occurred to me that sixteen years later I’d be watching Captain Underpants with Barbie dolls at my feet with Paisley…and loving every minute of it.

I’m thankful for all my kids, bio, adopted, married-in or otherwise; Jacob and his wife Makena, Brandon, Jenna, Paisley and Piper. And, of course, those fifteen years we were blessed with Emma. All this because I looked across the room and saw a sexy auburn haired girl dancing…all those years ago in Lawrence, Kansas.