When the Littles came to us at the end of February 2010, they seemed, in many ways, alien. Their faces and voices were unfamiliar. Their habits were new to us. We did not know what “made them tick,” and we were strangers to them, as well.

In many ways now, it seems as if they have always been with us. I can pick their voices out in a crowd, and when I am away from them–even for a short time–I am wondering about them and worrying if they are all right. I cannot remember ever not loving them.

Recently I asked a friend how she and her new adoptive daughter are getting along. What was she finding challenging? Was it harder or easier than she thought it would be? Her response so jelled with mine: “She makes it easy to love her as a mother should. I did not expect that.”

Her little daughter is not a saint, nor are any of my five children. And yet children need to be loved, and they make it easy for us to love them. They want love and approval and permanency; they care little about pretty rooms or popular toys. Of course, it is not all simple; it would be much harder with a 10- or 12-year-old who had many more disappointments and rejections to get over.

Yet it constantly amazes and impresses me that we humans are made to love. We possess that capacity within us, and often all that is needed is someone to remind us that we want to love and be loved. Sometimes, it just needs to be called out.

So our Littles are fully ours now, for better or worse. They talk like us, they eat like us; they are part of us. If anyone had told me in those first few challenging weeks that one day, we’d all be moving in concert in the same direction, I doubt I’d have believed them. Yes, we still have challenges; yes every day of parenting is a new adventure; yes our creativity is often called upon. But it is all very, very worth it, just hold on through those months down the road.