Monday, April 8, 2013

By the Numbers

Humans are forgetful. The keys, where the car is parked, that one thing I was supposed to pick up, that ladies' name all seem to fall right out of our heads. More than that it seems that mortals are prone to forgetting essential truth even when we believe it and have been reviewing it for years. 

I was recently reminded by my sister of such a truth. My mortal mind has been caught up for the last year in a never ending parade of studies and statistics regarding adopted children. How the brain develops, what birth and circumstance impart to a child, and the likelihood of success in redirecting a child away from their birth parent's choices have been a source of constant study for me since my children came into my care. The numbers are sad and staggering. The information available is overwhelming. I was buried in a place of repeat patterns, cyclical behaviors and lost potential. I was looking at my two oldest daughters, neither in kindergarten, and seeing only an inevitable road of misery and bad choices. It made discipline, well. . . . hard. I didn't want to pour the energy into loving intervention that I thought would go no where. What's the point of making her go back and do things over if she's just going to meet some idiot, drop out, get pregnant, and die of an overdose?! (No joke, the narrative in my head was that dramatic)

I was lamenting my girls' lost lives and potential to my sister one night. She kept giving the, "What is wrong with you?" look. Finally, after I had waved away notions of how young they are, how cute they are, how smart they really are, my sister just hit me with truth.
"They are eternal beings. They were before the world was and before any of this happened to them, and they will continue to be after all of this. They are different and special and their lives are already different than their birth-mom's, so how can you saddle them with her choices?" And then in her typical whimsy, bad hispanic accent and all, "Their jus' babies. Leave 'em alone." I cried, we hugged, it was a moment. 
But it seriously shook away months of building despair. I had forgotten one of the simplest principles of my faith. I am a child of God. He knows me. He loves me. And he gave me a life so that I can make choices, fall down, rely on my Savior, and stand up again. And if all this is true for me, then it is true for every single man, woman, and child on this planet. 
My girls are special. 
They are not statistics.
 Already the fact that they are adopted and in a home that wants them, and wants to see them to succeed, puts them way outside the mean. 
I took away two practical upshots, 1. It's time to put the stats away. They served a purpose in a time when I had no idea and no directions. Now I know enough to know when I don't know something, and when that happens, I know where to find the answers. 2. It is never enough to say, "I know, I know," with a roll of the eyes and a wave of dismissal when it comes to that which is most true and of most value. I have witnessed miraculous recovery in my youngest daughter. I have witnessed incredible progress in my older girls, who my husband pointed out to me have stopped slobbering on themselves when angry. (It's the little things.)  I have to continue to refresh my own understanding of what it means to be a disciple of Christ, everyday, or the sheer numbers of what is out there will make me forget that the Lord is over all. 
And if that wasn't enough, it seems that President Uktdorf had similar direction on the subject over the weekend. Any thoughts?


  1. Yes, I have the thought that you are an incredible woman and mother! Thank you for posting this. There was a time I had to "puts the stats away" too. After our son's transplant, they told us he had an 80% chance of living--one year. I drove myself (and probably my husband)crazy trying to get my hands on all transplant recipient data to find best case scenarios, to basically try and predict his future or how long he'd live. (he's 19 now) Until one day it hit me-even if they could tell me transplant-wise- how long he 'could' live - heavenly father was in charge and I'd manage to live my entire life without knowing how long I'd live. So I accepted the 'not knowing' and got on with much saner (read happier) living.

  2. You are magical Tamara! How do you always seem to have been there and get it.

  3. Anika - You are truly an amazing woman. Congratulations on the publication of your new book!