There is this idea out there that says when a parent dies the children are really ripped off in life because they don’t grow up with a birth parent. This same thought does not seem to prevail in the case of adoptions, which I don’t exactly understand because in either case the birth parent is often replaced by loving, caring parents. It’s this thought that there is no love like that of a birth parent. I’m not so sure about that. I think that many, many, birth parents prove that theory wrong. I’m not saying that our kids didn’t have birth parents who loved them deeply, but they also have new parents who love them deeply. Ryan and I chose each others children. I’ve always heard this phrase from adoptive parents about how special their children are because they were chosen, they didn’t just happen, their parents made the deliberate decision to choose them, to raise them, and to love them. I now understand this. When I chose to love Ryan, I chose his three kids as well. It was always a package deal that was a quadruple blessing in my eyes. Yes, it’s work, no doubt, but so worth it as well. When you have a child naturally, there is usually an unbreakable bond at birth and those feelings of everlasting love are there immediately. With adopted children it’s not quite the same - at least it hasn't been in my situation. It’s been a choice to love and accept them with a bond that's grown over time rather than immediately. What I’ve discovered, as with anything that produces over time, is that in the end that bond is strong because it takes hard work. With anything worth having, it takes plain, old, hard work. Tears, pain, joy, heartache, it’s all a part of being a family, any family, birth or adoptive. Just as it is with marriage, when you invest your time, love, energy and commitment to each other over a long period of time, that bond grows strong, or when a tree grows from a sapling to a full grown oak tree over hundreds of years, the bond that the tree has with its root system is strong. I think it’s often overlooked that although our kids had wonderful lives prior to their parent’s deaths; it is entirely possible that God could shower them with a double blessing in this next life because of the hardships they endured at a young age. My past 10 years were tough, with a severely handicapped child, job lose, on disability and food stamps because no one would give my terminally ill husband a job even though he desperately wanted one, and finally, his death. God was faithful and in this new life it sure looks like I’ve been doubly blessed. A blessed marriage with a man who puts up with my quirks, seven healthy, happy children, a beautiful home with land, financial security, a great home church, friends, family, the list could go on and on. All of my kids had wonderful, faithful, loving parents who died, and now they all have another mom or dad who chose to love them completely and unconditionally, there’s always a playmate or someone to fight with, they have about 50 grandparents (well, not quite) who spoil them rotten, pray for them, and love on them, they all moved to a big home in the country in a neighborhood swarming with kids to play with, everything their hearts could desire, right here, they don’t have mom and dad stressing about financial problems or fighting, so yes, I do believe that it is possible that Jesus, who took such good care of children, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” Luke 18:16 would look down upon their helplessness and their frailty and bless them with a double portion. A horrible event happened to all of us, and although we don’t deny the past, we don’t dwell on the pain of it either. It happened and all of our lives move forward in His grace, mercy, and providence until we are called beyond the veil to our eternal homes with the only parent who is forevermore, our Faithful Heavenly Father.