Adoption Ceremony Update

Well, what a beautifu day this was all the way around!

We arrived at church a litte later than I would have liked, but we only missed a few verses of the first song.  We found seats and settled in for worship.

All of a sudden, we were called up front as a family.  There were two kneeling benches in front of the alter, and I had assumed they were for our ceremony, but I didn’t have any clue what exactly we would be doing.  Fr. Dave explained to the congregation that a month ago we had legally finalized our adoption of Mary, and and today we were aknowledging that legal commitment before God.

It started off with the presentation of the medallion.  Rich knelt down to look her in the eye.  He said this:

“Mary, when Mommy and I got married, we gave each other rings to symbolize our love for one another and our promise to always love and care for each other.  Today, we are giving you this pendant, to symbolize our love for you and our promise before God to always love and care for you.”

As he read, I put the necklace on Mary.  When we were done, we were invited to the kneeling benches, where Rich and Mary kneeled and I stood (not ready to kneel yet).  Fr. Dave blessed us as a family, asked for blessings and direction for the birth parents, for strength to be the kind of parents Mary needs and continued protection for us as a family.  Then, we turned and faced the congregation and were introduced as a family.

Mary was beaming.  Daddy was beaming.  Mommy was beaming.

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On being 18 again

My high school class reunion was last weekend. The planning committee put together events for Friday night (a group of seats at the Boston Red Sox affiliate team the Lowell Spinners), Saturday night (the official reunion dinner), and Sunday (a family day at a large park in the city).

I didn’t go. To any of them. I couldn’t. I started at that high school as a junior. Everyone had their friends and as the new kid, they were not really interested in me. I joined the swim team and met some of my classmates, but still, I wasn’t as good as they were and I always felt like an outsider. I never really fit in anywhere. Oh I tried! I played sports, got injured and had to quit all but one. I got invited to a football game once and went. They all went drinking afterward and I didn’t go. I think that event is what set me apart from them…forever.

I was just reading one of the e-mails sent out since the reunion that was speaking to how the reunion made him feel. My classmate wrote, “I must admit that I am caught up with a feeling of nostalgia – the feeling of being 18 again, the feeling of being able to do anything.” Well they did “do anything”. There are stories, awkwardly humorous ones, about how even now, 25 years later, the cops were called to the after party. One female classmate (National Honor Society, Harvard Graduate, now business owner) commented “Here we are, 43 years old and still…” I know I wouldn’t have been invited to that party. We would have gone, had dinner, and returned home. We might have gone to the family day and heard about the party, and then I would have felt resentful that I wasn’t invited, just like I felt when we were 18 and I wasn’t invited to ‘their’ parties.

Although I would love to share in a wonderful feeling of nostalgia of being 18 again, for me that time was anything but a time I want to remember. Every family has their moments, and for my family, those years were it. I know there was an impact on my brother and sister as well. And I also know that I am not alone. Most of us endure things during those years that are difficult to remember. For me, that time lead to a series of events that are now haunting me. God is healing me, but reading through the reunion messages sprinkled with friendship and idealistic good memories I mourn the loss of those innocent years of being almost an adult, carefree and blessed with many friends. I sit, again, outside the window looking in.

I am going to walk away this time with my head held a little higher. Yes, I have made mistakes, big ones. But by the grace and mercy of God I am forgiven. I can now stand in a new ‘class’ with new friends and family and say “THIS is where I finally belong.” I have graduated again. This time I am in the Heavenly Honor Society!

We interrupt this broadcast for a commentary…

OK, so I am going to chime in on something.  I’m not sure if I am in the right frame of mind to do this or not, but quite frankly, at this moment that’s OK.

Recently our church, not our local congregation, but our entire denomination, has undergone some changes.  Some of those changes really are the work of God and some are not.  There is alot of ‘talk’ out in cyberworld about it and there are clearly a lot of hurting people out there.

We, our local church, heard a sermon that talked about “clearing the land” and that really seems to be the truth.  Some of that clearing hurts us, and some of it hurts others.  

I just read on someone else’s blog, (cechealing.wordpress.com) a comment that really bothers me.  One of the major changes for our denomination has been the retirement of one patriarch and the election of a new one.  There are some individuals who are so hurting still that even with the good news of a new patriarch they feel the need to be critical and cynical of the church leadership.  I don’t begrudge anyone the opportunity to heal, and if this individual were not a trained, educated, professional I would not even raise an eyebrow.  But, if I may be candid, this guy is/was in a position of counsel and pastoral care at one point in his career.  NOW, since things didn’t go HIS way in our denomination, he cannot stand the fact that we are moving on while he is still standing there, pouting, wishing he could play in our yard. 

Truth be told, he CAN play in our yard.  It’s not our yard!!  ALL have been forgiven…that much is true.  It is him, this individual, who cannot forgive.  If he could, he would know that what he is doing is as hurtful to those who remain in our church as what he suffered (or claims to have suffered) at the hands of the former leadership. True forgiveness comes from within, and effects change outwardly in actions, thoughts and words. 

He says he will continue to pray for those of us who remain.   I hope that at some point his eyes will open to the hypocrisy of that statement.  I wish for him the healing he seeks, the forgivness he craves and the ability to forgive that he needs.