Tuesday, November 29, 2016
A Letter to My Son
Marquis Benjamin Thompson,
Hey bud, I just put you down to sleep after a really big day. As I've done most every night since you've been in our home I told you I'm glad you are my son. I'm glad I'm your daddy and I'm glad you're part of the family. Today we adopted you. November 29, 2016 will always be remembered as your GOTCHA Day. The day you went from a ward of the county, in the custody of the government, into our home and family. For. Good.
I wanted you to know a few things.
First, your name. Your name is oh so important. Marquis is your birth name. It was given to you by your mama who loved you first. We don't know much about her but maybe we can explore that together down the road. Your name means 'from the border' or 'from the edges'.
Your mama who loves you now and I wanted to honor where you've been and where you've come from, so we didn't want to change your first name. But we also wanted to import some meaning and destiny to your story, so we changed your middle name to Benjamin. That's your daddy's name of course, which hopefully you will be proud to share with me. But Benjamin also is important because it means "son" or "son of the right hand of God".
Before you were born, I lost both my mommy and daddy. It was very hard for me to lose them so young and it left me feeling like I had to prove myself and make a way on my own. But, something happened. The hustle and frantic pace...the drivenness and intense ambition...the desire to achieve and have an impact was stealing my joy. My identity was tied to what I did rather than who I was. But God came in.
And the words he spoke to Jesus at his baptism, He spoke to me as well.
You are my son. Whom I love. With whom I am well pleased.
Jesus had done nothing yet to earn this or achieve this. No miracles. No sermons. No disciples. He had God's approval apart from those things.
So do I.
So do you.
It was in that moment that God gave me my name back. Benjamin. A son. Not an orphaned son who lost his mom and dad. But a son of a Father whose love is fierce and whose grace is intoxicating. We long for this to be your story too.
So your name is your destiny.
From the edges, a Son.
Marquis Benjamin Thompson
Second, your family. Marquis, this is so huge! You have to know that on your Gotcha day, we had hundreds of people rooting for us, sending notes of encouragement to us, praying for us. When the lawyer asked us why you being adopted by us was in your best interest, we told them we would love you and provide a steady and stable place for you. But more than that I bragged about the village that will raise you...that is already raising you. The aunts and uncles. Your nana and papa. Your cousins. And your church. The 12 households who have begun exploring next steps of foster care and adoption. The college students. So many who love you and are for you. Watch them son. Not everyone has a village like this. Watch how they love you and each other. Watch how they serve the city together. There is nothing like it. Your family is way more than the people that live in your home. It's the village of world changers, peace makers, life givers and joy bringers that are your family. It is the greatest gift we give you.
Third, you will know some day a couple things that you don't know or seem to notice now. One of those things is that you have brown skin and your mom and dad and sister don't. No worries about that. We are just melanin deficient. We will do our best to help you know your cultural heritage to have friends with all sorts of backgrounds and melanin levels. You will find quickly that how you're designed to move to music is very different than how I'm designed to move to music. You will be embarrassed by this. Your mom is all the time. I apologize.
You will also know pretty quickly that I don't know what I'm doing as a dad. There will be some things that I'm good at. I tell pretty good stories. I tickle and chase with the best of them. I may even be able to get you to a 3rd grade level of athletic ability and math skills. But I won't know how to teach you to shave with a razor or work on cars or fix a computer or build or fix virtually anything around the house. I didn't learn a lot of these things from my dad and I regret never asking. Maybe we can learn together. But I WILL teach you to pray. I will model for you how to love, serve and lead a family. I will teach you how to dominate Scrabble. I'll teach you how to dream and to work hard but also instill in you that your identity is not tied to those things.
I love you son. You need to know that. You are loved. You are safe. And as of today, you are home. For. Good.
From the edges, a Son.
It doesn't get much better than that.
Love always in all ways,