Claire, Spring 2012
That’s my girl! I cannot tell you how much I love my daughter and how proud I am that she belongs to me.
After we adopted Martin and Steven, we had to wait seven long years to adopt Claire. When I first saw her, her absolute beauty took my breath away. Her big brown eyes melted my heart. From the beginning, she has been the daughter I’ve always wanted. In fact, I didn’t realize how much need I had for a daughter until the very first time I ever held her.
She’s a freshman in high school who is coming into her own. For the first part of her childhood, she was very timid and almost refused to make a decision by herself — even if it was what she was ordering at a restaurant. Her group of friends was a small, but loyal.
Let me introduce you to her! Claire is a talented artist and has a killer wit. Her crystal-clear voice is sweet and will make you cry with joy when she sings. She is an honor roll student who is working on having a straight-A semester for the second half of this year. She’s setting her sites on the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Best of all, she loves Jesus and is involved in our church, singing in the choir and being one of my assistants with the children’s choir.
I’ve watched her grow into this gorgeous young woman who does not see just how beautiful she is. It is comforting to know that her beauty radiates from the inside. However beautiful she is on the outside, she is one thousand times more beautiful in her heart.
This is one of the verses that I pray over her:
Teach me your ways, O LORD, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you. Psalm 86:11 (NLT)
Is our relationship all rainbows and roses? Nope. It can’t be — she’s a teenager and it’s her job to push the boundaries. Her favorite question to ask me is, “Are you my friend today?” I always tell her that I love it when we can do “friendly” activities together, but that I am her mother first and her friend second. My decisions for her don’t always make her happy. Sometimes she’s a little snappy with her comments when she’s angry. When she gets out of line, I always make her look at me and tell her, “I don’t like the way you just talked to me. I won’t tolerate it and you owe me an apology.” Sometimes, she immediately sees the error of her ways. Sometimes, it takes an hour or two in her room. But I always get an apology and we always end our discussions with a hug and “I love you.”
She is reaping the benefits of the growing pains I experienced with her older brothers. I can’t tell you how many times I ended up in a screaming match with one or both of my boys. The beginning of their teenage years just so happened at a point in my life when I didn’t love myself very much and I was angry with God about my chronic pain. Kelly very lovingly said to me one day, “If you don’t find a way to make peace with God, this is going to cost you a relationship with the boys — especially [my youngest son] Steven.” It was at this point that I had to re-evaluate my relationships with everybody — first and foremost, my Savior.
I am approaching Claire’s teenage years with a much more level head and a heart that completely belongs to God. I put my relationship with God first and everything else just seems to fall into place. (see Matthew 6:33)
Claire has come into her own in high school. She is confident and assertive. She is very decisive and knows exactly what she wants — well, as much as a fourteen year old can. She has many friends, including my “other adopted daughter,” Kaitlyn, whom she calls her “sister.” They’ve been best friends for the past six years. It’s really wonderful when you have a best friend (Kaitlyn’s mother, Marla) who has a daughter who becomes best friends with your daughter.
Claire ran Cross Country Track in the fall and is now running Spring Track. She is a leader and has earned the respect of her teammates and coaches. At the fall sports banquet, she received the “Coach’s Award” for being such a strong and inspirational team member. (When a grown man stands up to address the rest of the team and parents and gets so choked up that he cries, you know your kid is something special.) Claire was so humble that she didn’t even realize Coach Hanes was talking about her until he called her name.
As a parent, you’d like to believe that you have something to do with the successes your children enjoy and the kind of persons they turn out to be. There are times when I know I’m following God’s directions and then, there are times when Satan whispers doubts in my ear so that I wonder if my children have heard anything I’ve said, watched anything I’ve done, or if I’ve made any difference in their lives at all.
About two weeks ago, Claire was excited after visiting the home of one of her teammates and brand-new best friend, Aubray. We sat in our living room while she told me all about it.
“Oh, Mom,” she enthusiastically said. “You and Aubray’s mom are going to get along great! She’s almost as big a Jesus-freak as you are.”
I asked her if me being a “Jesus-freak” embarrassed her. She emphatically said, “No! I think it’s great. It’s what you believe. Why should that embarrass me? Besides, I believe in Jesus, too. I’m proud of the kind of woman you are.”
Sometimes, you ask God if you’re making a difference. Sometimes, He shows you the answer so clear it’s undeniable.
Kaitlyn & Claire
Photo Credits: Claire Rosser