Written By Coker Member, Amy Willis, November 7, 2018- the day her and our Director of Student Ministries, Colton Willis, adopted Ayden….
My sweet baby boy,
You may be wondering why we have squeezed you just a little bit tighter and a little bit longer today.
You may be wondering why I woke up an hour earlier than normal, snuck into your bedroom, and rocked myself back and forth in that rocking chair, breathing in the beauty of your presence.
You may be wondering why you’ve gotten so many hugs and kisses from so many different friends and family members today.
You may be wondering why I forced you to wear a precious little bow tie and suspenders and danced around like a crazy person trying get you to smile for thousands of pictures.
You’re also probably wondering why your mama has had a constant stream of tears flying down her face today like a waterfall that just won’t stop.
So what’s the big deal? Why all this fuss over you today?
I know none of this makes any sense to you right now.
And to be honest, not a lot actually changed today.
You’ve woken up in our home the past 250+ mornings.
You’ve called me mama for months.
You’ve hugged me too many times to count and you’ve clung to my shoulder ever so tightly any time you thought I might walk away.
I’ve fed you.
I’ve rocked you.
I’ve held you.
Oh, we have experienced the sleepless nights.
I’ve sang to you.
I’ve cried for you.
I’ve changed more diapers than I can count.
I’ve tickled you.
I’ve played peek a boo.
I’ve been there.
I’ve cheered for you when you rolled over for the first time, sat up for the first time, crawled for the first time, and walked for the first time.
I’ve been terrified in the ER with you, experiencing the fright any mother has when her baby is sick.
I’ve worried about you.
I’ve loved you deeply
I’ve given of myself for you, every single day.
My sweet boy, you’ve been my son in every day….except by name.
You see, tomorrow will look a lot like yesterday looked.
And next week, well, it will be very similar to last week.
In our day to day life and routines it may seem to you like nothing has even changed at all.
And for the most part, we’ll keep living how we’ve lived every day of the past 11 months with you in our life.
…But that’s for the most part.
For the other part, we will live wildly and freely different.
Because in reality, today is the day everything changed.
This morning you woke up an orphan and tonight you laid your head down a son. My. Son.
“Do you understand that after this hearing, Ayden will permanently be your son? After today, you will be his mother? Is this what you are asking?”
Time stopped for a brief second as the gravity of those words settled on my heart today.
My sweet boy, did you know that while you, your brother, you daddy, and I stood in that court room today with our family this morning, that everything very literally changed?
In those quick words spoken by a lawyer in a judge’s coutroom, you received a new status.
A new family.
A new future.
A new name.
You were declared an orphan no more, but a son.
One minute you had no legal parents and the next minute you gained two when you became our child, the son of Colton and Amy Willis.
You will be given a new birth certificate showing your daddy and I as your natural parents.
Nothing can ever change this.
You will always be our son and we will always be your parents from now until forever.
You will receive all the same rights and benefits that your brother received on the day of his adoption and we will receive all the many blessings of simply calling you our son, of spending our lives raising you, teaching you, and loving you.
What a gift we have been given, to be so blessed that we would be chosen to be your mommy and daddy…today, tomorrow, and forevermore.
Your birth mama gave you the most perfect name.
A name that means “enduring.”
I believe God gave her that name for you as a promise that He heard her prayers and our prayers for you, and that He would provide for you and protect you in all circumstances—to show you His love that endures all things.
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all thing. Love never fails.”—1 Corinthians 13:7
We could never change your name or the beautiful promise it represents to us. It’s a sweet gift from your birth mama, a piece of your story, it carries so much weight and it so perfectly, you.
But today you were also given a new name, one that officially makes you the youngest of the Willis gang, a true little brother to your bubba that has declared all week, “Ayden’s name is changing to mine. He is a Willis now, like me. Ayden is our son now.”
My sweet boy, I have learned so much through your story and I am sure the lessons will continue to unfold as life moves on. But your story has taught me that God is just, and He is good.
We have stood before the judge regarding you, our foster son, several times.
We have heard judgements and confusing decisions and we have wondered what your future would look like.
And we have prayed time and time again that you would receive justice.
Today, we stood before a judge and you were given a right judgement.
You received justice as he declared you to be our son.
And in that moment, it’s like the pieces of your story somehow came together.
Despite the first 14 months of your life, and all the courtrooms and judges, you have a Greater Judge.
A righteous Judge.
A judge who offers true justice and adoption into His family through His son, Jesus Christ.
Did you know that, just like you, because of our adoption in Him, we have received a new status, a new family, a new future, a new name?
And in Him we are declared orphans no more, but children of God.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”—1 John 3:1
He has passed the judgement we deserve onto His son and made us just in His sight.
He is our Father and we are His children and nothing we can ever do will change this…nothing.
He is a perfect and loving Father who loves you deeply.
He placed you in our family and He holds your heart and your future.
You’ve had this verse hanging over your crib for the past 11 months, “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”–Jeremiah 29:11. And it’s as if heaven moved earth today as we saw this hope come to reality.
You are a sweet gift to us, a reminder of the gift of adoption we have received from our Father and a promise over your future as Ayden Lee Willis.
God has heard, sweet son, and He. Is. Just.
My son, there is a lot that we cannot see clearly in this world.
And your story is one of them.
It’s a story of abandonment and hurt.
Your story reminds us that things are not as they should be.
We know that we are not what we should be.
In the chaos and deep hurt of this world, it’s tempting to believe that brokenness is ultimate.
But in some strange way, the brokenness gives way to the goodness.
What if the brokenness testifies to holiness?
I don’t know the circumstances regarding your birth.
I wasn’t there.
I know your birth mama’s history, but the details of your actual birth day…well, I don’t know much.
I have been to Kerrville, the place of your birth, at least a dozen times since you entered our world.
And a few times, I have gone and driven past the hospital you were born in.
I’ve sat in the parking lot.
And because of how evil the forces of Satan are, your story turned into a story of abandonment, of brokenness, of hopelessness and uncertainty.
But my son, Jesus comes.
He comes when we’ve been broken into a thousand pieces and picks up those broken pieces–the pieces of ourselves that are tired of being brave, the pieces that don’t know up from down.
He whispers in our ear, “What feels like it is broken and falling apart–I’m making it all fall together. I’m making all things new.”
He is taking the broken things and he is making better things.
My son, one day you will comprehend the weight of what has happened to you.
And you will feel wounded and lost. And the world will feel so loud.
But Jesus comes–and He won’t let you stay lost. He will come for you. A thousand times over.
You see, our hearts are restless until they find rest in Christ.
When you forget who you really are, Jesus will come.
You are God’s friend.
You are justified.
You are complete.
You are forgiven.
You are chosen.
My son, you weren’t abandoned so that you would be forgotten.
You were placed here, in this place, to be found.
This place that may some day feel like abandonment–is placement. It’s where God has placed you to meet someone–Him.
And what may feel like being tossed away–is all about placement. Because His way of Healing wholeness is coming for you, always.
A way is always coming.
You were never abandoned to be forgotten, you were placed with us to be found.
Always remember that.
Hold onto it.
My brave baby boy–His healing, breaking free ways are always chasing after you.
Never forget that.
My son, live surrendered.
Live as you truly are.
There is no need to fear.
Because there is no abandonment here, but there is purpose. There is placement.
Placement for God’s love to unfold.
Placement for His coming purposes.
Placement to be right where you are for such a time as this.
My baby boy, today, we have celebrated you. And we have celebrated big.
We have waited and longed for this day for many months, not knowing if it would ever come. It is certainly a day we will never forget.
And when we wake up tomorrow, life may look a lot like it did when we woke up yesterday.
But this day, November 7th, 2018, will leave a permeanent mark on the deepest parts of my heart, as the day that nothing changed, but really, everything changed.
It is forever etched and engraved in my heart as the day I called myself your mommy. For the very. First. Time.
And it’s also the day I cried myself to sleep thanking God for blessing and entrusting us with the sweetest little boy that has ever lived, who we get to call our son.
Oh, my heart is full tonight.
I love you forever, sweet son.
And now I will close by sharing with you the same vows I wrote to your brother on the day of his adoption–the vows I promise to keep to both of you–my precious sons.
I promise to love and protect you–even if it is from yourself.
I promise to provide you with everything you need, yet I also promise that you will not receive everything you want.
I promise to care for you.
I promise to provide you with food, shelter, and clothing.
I promise to provide you with the best medical care we can afford.
I promise that you will be held to high expectations for both behavior and character.
I promise that the journey will not be easy or smooth.
Yet, I promise the road will have plenty of love and lots of laughter.
I promise to share with you the things I can’t live without–your father, our extended family, our church family, and the love of Jesus Christ.
I promise to always be on your team–to sit in the corner cheering.
Today, I make a vow to you that I will try every day to be the best parent I can be for you.
I promise that I will be there when you feel rejected.
I promise to lift you up in your pain.
I promise to sit with you and rub your back during your sleepless nights.
I promise to jump up and down in excitement during your joyfully won victories.
Even in hardship and hurt, and hard-fought battles lost, I will still be your mommy.
I promise to be present both physically and emotionally to you and to give you as many hugs as you need, plus quite a few extra.
I promise to always be there to listen to you.
I promise to never go to bed angry with you and I promise to always work it out.
I promise to love you with every fiber of my being.
I know there will be ups and downs in our relationship.
But I want you to know that I am here for better or for worse.
In good times and bad.
In sickness and in health.
I will be there.
I will never leave you.
I will love your fiercely all the days of my life, Ayden Lee Willis.
I love you forever, baby A.
With all my love,