Angels Among Us

Angels Among Us
As I adventure through my life my radar is always on, scanning for unique moments. The other day I went birthday shopping with my granddaughter Kate, who is turning seventeen. We were strolling through the mall after an indulgence at the Cheesecake Factory when Kate encountered a school friend, Angelina. After hugging their greetings, Kate bent down on her knee to meet Angelina’s five brothers, two of whom were toddler ages. The greeting became extended to the point that the children’s dad, Scott, and I introduced ourselves and began to chat as he stood sentinel over the mighty stroller where the two jumpy three year olds were contained.
“Hey, what a beautiful big family you have!” I admired.
“We adopted them all out of foster care.”
With that proclamation my heart did a little skipping thing. Here we were on the eve of the season for giving thanks and appreciating family life, and I got to meet a big, strapping dad who described himself as a stay-at-home-dad while his wife held down a job. Joking, he offered, “She’s the one who has it easy!” We laughed.
Our conversation continued and he shared their personal story of wanting a big family. This was the boisterous result. I told him that long ago, my husband, Ken, and I had fostered a teen for a few years and how well her life had turned out. After learning the names of all the smiling boys and their ages, we parted. Continuing down the mall, Kate filled me in about Angelina and how in the fifth grade she was formally adopted, and how jubilant she had been telling Kate all about it on the school bus.
Later that day when I could really think about this husband and wife growing a lively family of five boys and one girl out of the foster system, my heart swelled to comprehend the colossal commitment this couple has made to change the lives of these very fortunate children. I could feel Scott’s steadfast strength, pride and commitment. Poems and TV profiles are offered up about our unassuming neighbors, people of valor and pluck quietly making the world a better place, but you do not necessarily encounter them at the mall!
The next day I was able to have a conversation with the mother, Aubrey, of this beautiful brood and she reported that she was moved to tears by my “take” on her family. She described how humorous and what a “rock star” her Scott is. She said that she remembered looking in the rear view mirror of their van about a year ago, seeing laughing and screaming children running amuck, and saying to Scott, “How did this happen?” In his wry way he answered, “It escalated quickly!”
She further explained that they had six adoptions in a five and a half year period and that as the mother she feels incredibly blessed, and that having such a husband who would adopt even more and loves them all abundantly is huge.
So often we hear naysayers complaining about the hopelessness in the world, the problems with our youth and more. To me this couple proves that individuals can have a positive impact. Their loving influence on these six children will magnify into the future. We must not believe others when someone decrees that individual efforts make no difference.
Do you recall that Starfish story? The one where the cynical old man is walking along the beach at dawn when he spies a youth far ahead, bending and reaching his arms near the shore line. He had thought the person was doing Pilates poses. When he neared he saw a youth who was bending down, sifting through the debris from the previous night’s storm and grasping a starfish which had washed ashore.
The critical man demands, “What are you doing?”
The young man replies, “When the sun rises the starfish will die. They cannot get back to the sea!”
“Ha. You could never save all the starfish washed up here on the sand. Look, the debris goes on for miles. You cannot possibly make a difference!” The man concluded.
Bending, the youth smiled and flailed a starfish out to sea. “Well I made a difference to that one!”
Indeed there are angels walking around among us. My heart is full as I think of this robust family quietly changing lives and making a positive impact on the world. I wish you a beautiful holiday season. I would love to hear what you have been thinking about, about what angels have been walking nearby. My best, donna