Remir has now played his last high school soccer game. That doesn’t seem possible. Four years ago he arrived in the US knowing almost nothing about the game. Thanks to hard work and all kinds of God-given athletic ability, he played soccer throughout high school. I’m very proud of him. It was an honor to cheer for him and to pace the sidelines as his dad.
It feels like we’ve just hit one of those big “lasts” and I’m not sure I’m ready. Every parent thinks their kids grow up too fast…but try adopting a 14 year-old and then tell me about your kids growing up too fast. I’ve had my oldest son for four years and he’s already a Senior. It’s mind-boggling.
This transition has me thinking about all the cool teenagers I’ve met at the Children’s Shelter of Cebu who have families now. My son has me thinking about what I’d want to say to all the Remir’s, Janice’s, Victor’s and Roselyn’s (and on and on) that I’ve known at CSC. The ones who were “older” when they were adopted. I don’t entirely know what “older” means, but a lot of these kids came to the States and jumped right into middle school. I guess that’s “older” when it comes to adoption.
Every one of you kids is amazing. Amazing. Sometimes your parents (like me) get credit for things that we don’t deserve. People sometimes treat us like heroes because we chose to adopt kids who weren’t babies, because we adopted kids who were young adults. They think we’re making a difference in the world because we added you to our families. As if we chose you so we could make a difference in the world. That’s not a good enough reason. We chose you because you were just too cool to miss out on. Maybe it took a step of faith for us, but sometimes people give credit to us when they aren’t giving enough to you.
You’re the heroes in my book. You left everything you ever knew to go to a country that you couldn’t imagine. You’ve made a transition that very few people can comprehend. I try to imagine what you must have been thinking when you boarded the plane in Manila. Wondering what your home would be like, how you’d fit with your parents and what all these new people would think of you. I honestly can’t imagine facing that much unknown, and walking into it for the rest of my life.
I’d guess that sometimes you’d wish that you were adopted when you were younger. That you wouldn’t have had to face the things you did in life. That you’d speak English the same as everyone else and have memories with your family from before you started school. I wouldn’t blame you for thinking any of these things, but I really believe you all came just in time. You’re an example to all the people in your lives. You’ve done so much to fit in, to catch up and to adjust. You are a walking, talking testament to the hope of starting over.
Now you’re adopted. You’re the pride of moms and dads like me. You will be someone’s “ours” from now on. I hope your lives are better because of us, but know this…ours are definitely better because of you.