Today P.C. was helping me put up ceiling fans in our house. He climbed up the ladder when it was in our room and looked out the window. When you are up on a ladder looking out a window, to a six year old that feels pretty high.
In typical P.C. fashion, he started asking me if he was higher than the various things he could see (a long list to be sure). When he started with the trees, I had to ask him which ones since some are much taller than the house.
[BEGIN SIDEBAR] The lot was wooded before our home was built and many of the trees remain. In addition the builder planted two more maples when the final landscaping was done. [END SIDEBAR]
He explained that he was referring to the two “family trees.” Since the two maples were planted when the family moved in, he has decided those are family trees. I thought the name was pretty clever, but I had no idea just how far his clever would take him. His next comment floored me.
“We have two family trees because we have two families. This tree is for our family and that tree is for my birth family.”
We are wide open in our house (in a lot of ways) but the family tree concept is not one we have even addressed. Here is my little 6 year old, freewheeling it on my ladder espousing the higher concepts of adopted families and he has no idea how poignant his comments are.
When we adopt children into our home, they are becoming part of this family, but they do not stop being part of their birth family. Both families will loom large for the rest of their lives, whether they ever see their birth family again or not. That biological footprint and the time in their mother’s womb is their baseline. It is their foundation. We can build on it, and and we can help them build on it, but you cannot change it, and you cannot undo it.
Our prayer for all of our children is that they will stand on our shoulders and use what we have learned and accomplished as a foundation to rise even higher.
Today, he was taller than his family trees. I pray that in the near future, he won’t need a ladder to get there.