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Parents who found their children in China talk of a thin, red thread that

stretches across the sea and connects them to one another. Parents of

children from Ukraine speak of a feeling they get in their heart when they

see a child for the first time in an orphanage there. Perhaps it's something

in the eyes, young and round and hungry for love that only they can give that

makes them pause... and look no further than that one sweet face. Parents

who found their children through a picture tell of a voice that says softly

and surely that this one is theirs. Parents who are selected by birthmothers

will speak of special connections and shared experiences between themselves

and a woman that they never would have met if it hadn't been for the mutual

love of one tiny person.

It's strangely simple and yet magnificent, the ties that bind parents to

child. That parental love doesn't necessarily spring forth from the womb,

doesn't necessarily share common blood, doesn't necessarily share anything

at all except the ability to be given and received.

And from this love a house of family is built. And a child grows within

this house into a person who knows what it is like to be cherished. To view

carnivals atop strong shoulders and snuggle safe at night by the side of the

Story Teller. To taste the cool sweetness of ice cream and feel grass

beneath bare feet, simultaneously, and while intoxicated by the summer sun


This child grows to know what it's like to have someone kiss the hurt away

and chase the monsters from beneath the bed to a far away land never to be

heard from again. To laugh until the tears come, to brush the tears away

with laughter. To make shapes of clouds and to follow them across the sky

until they disappear to Never-Never in the horizon. To stand atop a hill and

view a thousand bright butterflies in the valley below and know that these

are their hopes and dreams and they can hold each and every one for a moment

or for eternity if they wish.

In this house, a child learns to dream.

Some people never see the red thread, or feel the pounding of their heart as

they glance into the innocent eyes of destiny. They don't see the pictures,

they miss the connections. They speak of retirement and a house of their

own, free from sticky fingerprints and scattered toys. For them, perhaps it

is fine to have never known.

But as for me, I am thankful for the opportunity to feel a tiny hand in mine.

The tired weight upon my shoulders and a worn out book that simply must be

read again. The napkin in my pocket for wiping ice cream off one's chin,

hurts that wait for my kisses and late night monster chases. Glad I am, to

hear the laughter and to gaze at the sky as it grows and changes more quickly

even than the child that watches the transformation with me. To watch in

wonder as the butterflies beat their beautiful wings and take flight. One

after the other, in endless celebration.

In this house, a child learns to dream. I get the simple yet magnificent

task being there to see it happen and of knowing that it all began with the

love of one tiny person.

Credits: Susan Culver

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