It has been really hard not to write about R every single day of these 30 Days of Thanks. I truly am thankful for him every day, and every day he does something that makes me love him even more. This morning, he asked me to help him decorate his cardboard doll house (all his own creation - down to the tiny bunk beds with scraps of fabric for blankets, bookshelf with tiny cardboard books, fireplace, and slices of cardboard pizza) for Christmas. We made little cardboard wreaths, strings of lights, stockings to hang up on the mantle, and candy canes. The house is home to several of his Lego figures, including storm troopers, miners, divers, and a farmer - quite the diverse family!
Tonight, R yelled to me from the bathtub that he didn't want to take a bath. When I explained that he needed to wash his hair, he yelled back, "Well, let's get on with it already!"
He is such a blessing. :-) I will forever be grateful to God for bringing him into my life.
Some of you know that I struggled for a long time with the fact that I only have one child. I always wanted at least two. I always wanted R to have a sibling, for many reasons. I spent many years yearning for another child, pleading with my husband, praying, crying, waiting.
This year, I learned to accept things as they are. I've even learned to appreciate and love having just one child.
But, during the time when I hadn't yet accepted my parental portion in life, I found an outlet for my desire to have more children. I found Compassion.
Through Compassion, I was able to have two more sons, both around the same age as R - one is just a few days older than him. One of my Compassion sons lives in Uganda, the other lives in Haiti. My support provides them with food, medical supplies, access to education and Sunday School, mosquito nets, and more. One of my boys was able to buy a goat for his family with his birthday money - I was so excited for him! But as much as my few dollars a month help these boys, I think that they bring me as much or even greater joy.
Sponsoring these two boys has completely changed my life. I think of everything I do, every dollar I spend differently. It colors my view of everything. Every time I go to the grocery store and load up my cart, I think about what a luxury that is. I can't watch some of my favorite TV shows anymore, like "House Hunters." I find it really hard to listen to people complain about bathrooms or bedrooms that are too small, how they "need" granite counter tops. I end up yelling at the screen, "You NEED shelter and food! No one NEEDS granite counter tops!"
Being a Compassion sponsor has been at the root of many of my recent lifestyle changes - using cloth napkins, switching to locally grown organic foods, taking shorter showers. I always have at the back of my mind how the typical American lifestyle uses up so much more of the world's resources than necessary. I'm trying to change how I live because I think about how my Compassion children live.
I'm not trying to toot my own horn here. There is so much more I could do. I am not holding myself up as a model for responsible living.
What I am doing is expressing thanks for the eye-opening experience of sponsoring these two special children. I'm thankful for the change they have brought about in me, for the impact my sponsorship is having on these boys and their families, and for the awareness and empathy that sponsorship is developing in my own precious biological son.