I told my 11-year-old daughter the last name she was born with for the one-hundredth time just so she could hear it again. I must admit her birth name was beautiful and French and sophisticated. It romanticized her birth father of which we knew nothing about; only that he was from Haiti. “When I grow up, I am taking my husband and kids to Haiti with me,” she says. I started to explain what little I knew about the country and its recent perils as her face grew sour. “I will go there and I will take care of all the orphans,” she said with complete attitude.
I faded into the background as she and her other siblings continued their conversation. One says, “I am going to adopt 14 kids.” Another says “I want 20, 10 boys and 10 girls, all from China.” My oldest son says, “Well, I can only adopt so many children, but if I start an organization I can care for many more, right Mom?”
“Mom….Mom……Mom, did you hear me?”
I had kind of drifted off into space recalling why we started the adoption journey so many years ago. Originally, I had so many miscarriages, it should’ve be illegal. I just could not carry a child to term. We chose foster care adoption. Fast forward many years and six wonderful kids later. What started as a desire to be a mom has become a fight to give voice for children all over the world that need parents and care to accomplish the destiny for which God created them. I travel around the country training parents on how to care for and parent children who have experienced trauma. This year, I take my advocacy overseas to Ethiopia and Ghana.
Hearing my children have this conversation brought on a bit of guilt. I did not want them to think that because I adopted they had to. I did not want them to think that they had to take on my passion as their own. I want my girls to have the awesome experience of giving birth that I never had.
Was I giving them a silent mandate that they had to do the same thing that I did?
God spoke to me one day as I was reflecting on my kid’s conversation. “That is your legacy. Caring for orphans and giving children a voice is your legacy!” I got it! My children were watching and listening and picking up on my heart, my legacy. There is nothing wrong with them following in my footsteps. Who knows what God’s plan is for the future? Who knows what impact my six blessings will make on the lives of others? It may look like adoption for some of them or orphan care for others. There may even be a child whose passion is very different, but they would have seen PASSION and known what it looked like. That very same passion, I pray they will have for whatever cause takes their heart hostage.
A legacy of passion.
I will no longer feel guilty when my kids mention their plans to adopt or visit orphanages or have a radio show like mommy about foster care and advocacy. I will sit back, smile, and watch my legacy unfold. As the word says, children are like arrows in the hand of a mighty man.
Point and release!
What is your legacy? What are your children witnessing, listening to, and seeing you stand up for? How do you communicate your legacy and passion to your kids?
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man;
so are children of the youth.
Psalm 127:4 KJV
By Karla Marie Williams
Wife to Tom
Mom of 6
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Speaker, Writer, and Advocate for Children in Need of Forever Families