Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Apple Tree Families

Over the last few weeks I've had the opportunity to walk a handful of families through their first few weeks home with their children. It's not a hard thing for me to go right back to that "place" of re-entry. Physically, jet lag coming home is a killllllller. Did I say killer? KILLER.

 Emotionally, months and months of anticipation of this event come to fruition, and the highs and lows make you feel like you're sailing the seven seas! In many ways, it feels like you just gave birth. Isn't God cool like that?!?
And you begin a new journey. One that will last forever.

The "grafting in" begins.

These kids don't know what a family is. Most have very distorted views of permanence. And rightly so.

Many of them have been in orphanages, or Foster Care, and most are returned back to orphanages before adoption. They are given to some crazy, white skinned people who take them to a hotel for 14 days. Then a new place called home. It's no wonder they have issues! Nothing in their lives has been permanent!

Once home, the real work begins. Study the concept of grafting for an apple tree:

A "cleft" is cut into the existing tree, and the shoot is inserted. Using a variety of methods, graft is wrapped tightly, and cared for until the graft takes hold. After a period of 2 years or so, fruit begins to be produced by the new shoot.

What an amazing picture of our children being grafted into our families!!! Can I just say this? IT DOES NOT HAPPEN OVERNIGHT.


And it can be pretty some moments, and u.g.l.y the next. Guess what?

Your child feels it even stronger than you do. Because really, it's not all about you. (grin)

It's no wonder after a year home, a friend tells me her 3 year old still behaves like she's just visiting. She doesn't get that this is for good. The grafting is taking, but it's slow.


It's no wonder some parents feel like they are babysitting some other person's child for weeks. You now share a last name, but you're still learning and feeling things out.


It's no wonder that after three years home, my 4 year old reminds me 208 times a day that she sure does love me, and she realllllly loves her brother, and asks every night if he's always gonna sleep here with her.


But the amazing thing is, y' does happen.

 You have these moments as a mama where it hits you.

 For me, we had been home for about 2 weeks with Ashley, when she had some blood drawn to check her vaccine levels. They couldn't get a vein. I will never forget her looking at me in total pain, and the mama bear rising up as I yelled raised my voice, at the stinkin lady, "GET A VEIN OR GET AWAY!" And we both cried our way out of that dr's office....her, because they had used her as a pin cushion, and me, because I FELT IT! Leave MY baby alone!!! (I may or may not have yelled raised my voice, "thank you JESUS!!!" in that parking lot that day.)

And they get it too. You can see it in their eyes. You can see their bodies relax. You can see their hearts heal.

But it takes.time.
And prayer.
And hard work.
And a best friend to cry too.
And maybe some coffee. Lots and lots of coffee

....but one day you look up, and you see this.....

 The title of this picture is a "healed" graft. 
A healed graft.
There will be scars. You will always be able to say, yep...there we are, a family being grafted together, and there are our scars, but we are healing. We are getting there..... And we WILL be whole.

Wanna know another secret? This is the same way Paul described the process by which the Lord, in His grace and provincial plan, grafted us into the promises of Christ He gave to Abraham. 

But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—some of the people of Israel—have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree.

Because of Christ, we have been grafted into the promises that God made to Abraham..and we have been made a part of that through something that was very painful and very messy, and very hard: the cross.

What an amazing picture of new life that springs from our families. Our children inherit all the blessings and privileges that come with being our children. And although the name change is immediate, the heart change takes time. 

So wrap up tightly next to each other, care and love one another, and allow the Lord to do the hard work of healing and making the graft complete. And watch the fruit begin to yield.

oh. and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee......

{Apple pickin last year in Ellijay, GA...other photos courtesy of Google pics...just in case yall get the idea that I have the time to be grafting fruit trees in my backyard.....we got all the graftin we can handle right here under this roof...and we love it!}


  1. wow!!! what an awesome lesson :)

  2. Love the way you teach and write by example. You live it and I am blessed to be able to see your testimony with your children week in and week out.

  3. Beautiful. Just beautiful. I am crying. I needed to read this after the week I have. And a triple AMEN!! to the coffee thing! Let's get some soon.

  4. Right on target, Emily! God certainly has a calling on your life. That is evident. Thank you for doing what you do, how you do it. Praying for you as you continue to help families bring their children home.

  5. emily u have been blessed with the gift to write ur feelings & thoughts so well in this blog...i soooooo enjoying reading everytime u write..,.,u just have a way of making ppl (me) think & feel & we get a walk in ur shoes (but not really anywhere close) ;) God bless u my sweet sista xoxo

  6. we were floored when our pediatrician described the process of Mia's skin graft, on her burn. in her words: "the surgeon takes a piece of skin, then stretches and presses it through a mesher until it is very thin, then places it back over the burned area. It looks like mesh for a long time, but eventually it blends in with the rest of the skin.' (come again? wow, what a perfect metaphor for what is happening with her heart, and her new life here).
    thanks for posting! krista and the ludwicks

  7. Emily - that was just beautiful. I don't have any more words than those! Thanks! Susan

  8. It truly is an amazing process! Thank you for the visual and gentle reminder. Just may have to tag your blog to mine...cause it's just SO good.

    The Campbells
    Just another one of your "just home" families. :o)

  9. Just wanted you to know I gave you award. I got picked and thought, "What the heck, I'll participate." You were the first person I thought of. Love when you write. :) Although, I know it's hard to, it always brightens my day when you do.

  10. I love all of your posts, I love the way you incorporate Gods word. We are still in our paperwork process, but will always remember this 'grafting in'. What a great way to see it all.

  11. First time I have ever visited your blog, and I am so glad I did!

  12. Oh, goodness...I know this post is "old" but I love so many other readers! Would you (also) be willing to let us feature this post on "We Are Grafted In"? Super appropriate for all adoptive parents, but also because it is precisely this concept that gave WAGI its name...being "grafted in". Just let me know!
    co-administrator of WAGI
    smurphy 28 @ juno. com