It’s Finalization Day!!! (think…Anna singing “Coronation Day” from Frozen) Yes, we are finallllly and officially Judson’s parents. It’s on the birth certificate, it’s on record at the social security office, and yes, why YES he will be another one of our beautiful exemptions on our tax return for next year. When the judge asked us to hold up our right hands and swear that the information provided in our adoption paperwork was true, an unexpected wave of emotion came over me. Tears couldn’t help but well up, and when he asked me to tell him why we wanted to adopt Judson, I couldn’t even speak. I motioned to Hayes for him to take the question and realized that he was having a hard time getting the words out too. The finality of that appointment hit us like a mack truck. A beautiful and glorifying mack truck. Together we got the words out and received a round of applause and lots of hugs from strangers in the office when it was over. It really IS over. And we had to share the news!
It’s hard to believe Judd has been a part of our family for only four months, as we can barely remember life before he came along. It has been incredible to watch our new family dynamic unfold. He is so very sweet and happy, and has captured all of our hearts! Even Wes, who had a hard time at first sharing the attention, is ALWAYS looking for him when he’s not around (usually napping) it suddenly occurs to him that Judd is missing and walks around calling, Juuuuuuu-uuuuuuuud…(an octave higher) JUUUUUU-UUUUUUUUD…(a level louder) JUUUUUU-UUUUUDDDD…and hopefully one of us puts a stop to it before he really DOES find him and wakes him up!
Eden has taken the “big sister” role up to another level with her concern and affection for her little brothers. She is often on what she calls “Judd Duty” when he’s in his carseat, usually in that timespan when we’re on our way out the door but not actually out the door yet. Completely unprompted, she tucks in his blanket, rocks him, and sings “Jesus Loves Me”. My heart burst with pride when I saw her do it the for first time, God has really gifted her with a loving and caring spirit. Wes has actually started trying the same technique “I do Judd Duty too” and for some reason Judd just doesn’t seem to find his version as soothing as when Big Sister does it – it’s probably due to the force in which he thrusts the unwanted pacifier into his mouth and the violent, although well-intended, rocking followed by wet kisses and squeezes to his cheeks. Eden usually, and sometimes all TOO quickly intervenes and takes over. “Ugh. Noooo Westy. He likes it like THIS.” Annddddd let the squabbling begin. It’s moments like that when I want to squeeze my eyes shut, wishing I could control the way that they love him – she’s too bossy, he’s too harsh, they’re too germy – but I’ve been stopping myself lately and have been keeping my eyes wide open, taking it all in, because this time is precious. And I can’t even get mad at them, because well, Eden’s right, and Wes is learning, and Judd is fiiiiiiine (and it gives me an extra 30 seconds to slap on some mascara and pour the rest of my old, yet effective coffee in my to-go mug). When I think back on our adoption journey and the doubts and the anxiety about how we were going to ruin our family and take time away from Eden and Wes, and run our too-small house into disarray, all I have to do is open my eyes. Let go of the control, and let God bless me. Judson has been SUCH a gift to our family, and has enriched my children’s lives forever. And now that I think of it, I kind of heart Judd Duty.
He has dimples. He has green eyes. He has little rolls of chub on his arms and legs, and the most delicious smell. And it’s getting better. He’s making eye contact, followed by an explosion of laughter and the most joyful expression like “Oh heyyyyy! I haven’t seen you in awhile!” when it’s actually only been five seconds. He laughs – and not just baby giggles and occasionally – he laughs from deep within his belly. He has been blessed with better social skills than most adults you know.
Along with his happy spirit, and contagious smile, usually comes a suspicious look from a stranger. God has been using this little bundle of good looks and humor to share the love of God with more people than I ever have in my life. You can just imagine the people that approach me, in all sorts of places, from all walks of life who want to meet Judd and understand how he came to be surrounded by these loving, and energizing pale-faced, over-bearing children. “He’s their brother.” WHAT? HOW? “We adopted him.” WHY? (I mean…) “Because God has blessed us, and with that blessing comes a responsibility, and God called us to adopt him because afterall, He first loved us. Oh and isn’t he CUTE?!?”
I find it hard not to ask people that constantly when they meet him for the first time. “Is he NOT the cutest baby you have ever seen?!?” I feel like I can get away with it in a way that I could NEVER with my other children because biologically, I was somewhat responsible for their appearance. But with Judd, I have NO bragging rights, only the right to admire, and to find other admirers (it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it)! I tell people how amazing and beautiful his birth mother is, and what a privilege it has been to raise him.
I know that many of you are wondering how my NBFF is doing. Please continue pray for her, because honestly I don’t really know how she’s doing. I’m thrilled that she continues to contact me monthly to check in and asks to “give Judd a kiss for me” I respond in obedience “I just did!” or “of course I will!” followed by pictures, an update, and some questions about her life and if we can pray for her about anything. I haven’t received any responses, and that is just fine. I’m not pushing it, and I know that God is using our prayers and the few words we do get to communicate with her. I’m so glad we could be there for her in her tough time of need, and am still so over-whelmed with gratitude that we have the privilege of raising Judson. She takes top prize in my book of people in this world.
Judson has changed our lives forever and not just in the obvious ways that most children change their parent’s lives, but our faith has grown in a way that would have never been possible without this journey to adopt him. God has been showing off His power, His sovereignty, and His love in ways that never could have been comprehended had we not been brave enough to answer this call for our lives. I’m so thankful that Hayes and I took this step. It was scary, it was heart-wrenching, but it was also God’s way of showing His mercy on us. In our weakness, He is stronger. Our lives are different because of Judd, but they should be ALL that MORE different because of the work that Jesus is doing in our lives and hearts each and every day. I want to always remember that, and never get familiar with the love that God has bestowed upon us.
I challenge you to do the same. Pray. Ask God to reveal to you His call for your life, and pray that He gives you the strength to answer it. I remember giving my life to Jesus so long ago, and throughout our relationship, I have told Him that if He wanted me to go to a third world country on the mission field (please God no) that I would, and if He wanted me to never get married (please God no) I wouldn’t, and if He wanted me to adopt (please God no) that I would. He never revealed that last request to me…until He did, two years ago, and the good that is coming from that will no doubt, linger on for generations to come. What kind of things are you keeping from God? Don’t limit His potential for your life and miss out on the blessings!
Judson Antonio Le-Sean Murray. He’s a stunner. I pray that he uses his incredible charm and good looks for more than his own selfish desires and that someday he gives his life to the One that spared it. That someday he will have that conversation with God and give Him his life, and that when God reveals His call for him, he answers it without the hesitation that his mother did at first, but with the confidence and boldness of a man determined to please a living and loving God.
Again, thank you for your support and reading on about our journey. I wasn’t sure when the next post would be, or even if we would have another one, but God has continued to show off His faithfulness and has a way of inspiring His words on a page.
“Be strong and courageous. Don’t be fearful or discouraged, because the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. ” Joshua 1:9
In His Unfailing Love,
The (very official) Murray Family,
Hayes, Kara, Eden, Weston and Judson