There is a twist to our story that I’ve mentioned briefly before, but which hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves. For some reason preparing for the quintuplet invasion has overshadowed a few other parts of our lives. Well, it’s time this twist had its day in the sun.
It’s crazy to say, but we’ve actually seen much less of my parents since finding out about the quints than what we are accustomed. This has been hard for me because my parents have always been the involved type. From baseball games to basketball games to soccer games to football games - ok, all I did growing up was play sports – but they were always there to support me…always. My dad was my coach on several baseball teams, my mom used to run me to the batting cages whenever I asked, and both of them were there at almost every game I ever played. In college, they were there for parents’ days, they were there to help me move in and out of dorms and rentals, and they were there to help me build a wall for a new room at the fraternity house. They even used to drive down from Denton to take me to lunch on my birthday then hop in the car and drive straight back. Eight hours of driving to buy lunch for an ungrateful, arrogant, frat-daddy who at the time did not properly appreciate just how good I had it…now that’s love!
So the fact that they haven’t been around much lately is a hard pill to swallow…for them and for me. Thankfully, their absence isn’t the result of a falling out or any drama like that. No, thankfully there are a couple of qualified excuses. There’s the logistic reason – we haven’t been able to travel since September; and then there’s the real reason – my parents are in the process of adopting two little girls who were rescued from Child Protective Services.
Before the news of the quints hit us, the big news in the Jones family was these two little girls who came to live with my parents in late July. Mom and Dad got a stir in their heart five months prior while watching a segment on a Dallas news program called “Wednesday ‘s Child” which highlights a different story each week of a child (or sibling children) in foster care. They decided that their life had become too much about their own lives and not enough about others’ lives and that God was calling them to do better. So they answered the call and went to work. They filed the paperwork, took the classes, conducted the interviews with CPS, made the necessary changes to the house, and talked with close friends about this life change they were contemplating. Basically, they jumped in head first saying all along that they would pull back when God told them to pull back. Well, guess what? He never did so neither did they and quicker than they expected, the process was complete, the girls were brought to their home, and their once quiet life was suddenly anything but quiet.
So two little girls now live with my nearing-age-60-faster-than-they-would-like parents. Two little girls, ages 6 and 7, who were rescued from their horrible living conditions by Child Protective Services. Two little girls named Summer and Angel who last saw their biological mother as she was being handcuffed and driven away to a cage she won’t see the outside of for 18 years. Two little girls, half sisters whose fathers couldn’t be found and who went unclaimed by other family members over the course of seven months in foster care. Yes, thankfully, my parents haven’t been around as much as we’d like, not because that’s the way we want it or the way it’s become in a broken family, but rather because they’ve got their own call to tend to.
Amidst all of the excitement of the incredible changes taking place in our family, there has also been a bit of confusion and frustration. Selfishly, Casey and I want them here and we want them more involved in our lives. Just as selfishly, we want to be able to be more involved in the lives of these two little girls. Selfishly, we want things to be like they used to be. Selfishly, they want the same thing as we do. They, like us, question the timing of all of this. They, like us, do not understand why God chose to drive our lives in opposite directions at a time when we want nothing more than to be closer than ever. But unselfishly, they tend to the call that God placed on their hearts with every ounce of heart that they have…even if that means being involved from afar in the incredible events surrounding their son’s life. Involvement from afar is not what the Jones family is accustomed to and it hasn’t been easy. And though we’ve questioned the timing of it all, we’ve never questioned whether it was right.
I am heartened by the fact that many of my closest relationships and many of the most profound, life-perspective-changing lessons that I have learned have been forged through adversity and struggle. And maybe that’s the point in God’s timing of all this. Maybe he saw a man who needed to mature beyond the shelter and comfort of his parents’ love. Maybe he saw a mature couple who had gotten too comfortable in life and decided to give them more, knowing they had so much more to give. Maybe he saw a family that could be so much closer, so much better at living the life he designed. And maybe he decided that the best way to help them reach that potential was to allow a little adversity and struggle into their lives. Maybe, maybe, maybe…
So now two little girls have a chance at life where before they had none. Two little girls who most likely would have ended up on drugs, living with abusive men, and eventually waking each new day in a prison just like their mom’s, now have a better chance at life than most because of two incredible people I call mom and dad. And now two people who had been around the block a time or two and were oh so close to sailing off into retirement instead find themselves reliving a life they thought they’d left behind. Two lives changing two lives moment by moment, day by day.
No, this isn’t the script we would have written for our family, and this certainly isn’t the way we would have timed it, but that’s life, right? But through it all, somehow I think there will be more than just our family’s lives impacted by all of this. That’s our hope anyway. That’s how it’s always been in my family, that’s how we were taught to live life. My dad once told me that you’ll never know whose life you’ll impact by your actions and my parents have lived their lives with that truth as one of their driving forces. Sure, there is some struggle and adversity that comes into your life when you live it that way. It probably means that your heart will sometimes get pulled in opposite directions. It sometimes means that you’ll have to put your own dreams aside, no matter how noble they may be, to help another achieve their own. But then again, isn’t that the point?
*CPS rules prevents me from posting a picture of the girls, but rest assured, they are cute as can be!