About Bradley's Blog:

A cop, a writer and a whole lot more.

Here you'll find my thoughts on writing, links to my published works, law enforcement musings and other tidbits. Please subscribe to my blog and I encourage you to share anything you find worthy. Thanks!

Disclaimer: these are my opinions and mine alone. I am not speaking as a representative of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in any shape or form here. These are not necessarily the opinions of my employer.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Love Squared

You're going to get more than just cop stuff here at this blog. You're going to get information about a variety of things, but most of all, you're going to get the uncut version of me.

You're going to see the human side of a lifelong cop. You're going to see me near the end of my career in policing and hopefully my transformation back into a normal person again, whatever normal is.

Spending years as a cop changes a person. In many ways for the better, but some not so much. We get tired of thinking about the things that people do to each other.

Let me tell you something a lot of folks don't know about me. Maybe it will encourage you to action. Just read on and you'll understand.

I was a young father, nineteen years old. As most that age do, I thought I had it all figured out. Yeah, right. But one thing I did have figured out was that I loved my little girl.

My daughter was and is still today, precious to me. She's a grown woman now, raising a family of her own. She's made me proud and she's a fantastic mommy--something passed on to her from my wife.

But when I was a new dad, I lacked patience and a crying baby was something awkward for me to deal with. Still, I loved her more than life.

I was in the Air Force at the time and served a few months in Korea. It broke my heart when I returned stateside and my little girl didn't recognize me. But things soon returned to normal. Before long, my wife had news: another child was on the way.

Instantaneous fear.

How in the world would I be able to love another child as much as my little girl? I'm guessing most parents experience the same thoughts.

Worry. I'm never going to figure out how to divide my love for my children equally. I'm really going to screw this up.

And then he arrived. My son was and still is amazing.

It didn't take long for me to learn one of the secrets about love. God made this thing called love perfectly. Even in an imperfect world, its design is flawless. We do a great job of messing it up sometimes, but the original blueprint of love is something mankind could've never created alone. Biology is not enough.

I discovered that love for our children isn't something with limited supply. It isn't about division, it's about multiplication. It's something that I believe reflects the very essence of God in man. We are created in His image!

A decade or so passed and again, I had it all figured out. Sure.

My wife approached me with the idea of adopting a child from the state.

NO WAY!

I had seen where those kids come from. I had seen the brokenness and destruction. As a policeman, I've taken those kids from dark places and placed them into Child Haven. I didn't want that anywhere near my family. I wasn't about to bring the darkness I saw everyday into my home.

But God worked on my heart and we ended up at an orientation just to check out the foster care system and take a peek. For the first time, I saw the other side of those broken lives. I saw the need. More than the need of removal from dangerous circumstances, I saw their need for real love.

You see, as a cop, I had always guarded my heart and didn't let those little lives get inside. I protected them and got them where they needed to be, but I didn't let them in and never carried them with me--that would've given rise to a permanent broken heart.

But at the orientation, I had seen them through my eyes as a father, and I was moved. The decision seemed simple. Or was it? I already had it all figured out, remember?

Now a new set of fears: was I capable of loving an adopted child as much as I love my biological children? Would I treat them as equals? Would my biological children treat an adopted sibling as brother or sister? There was no way it would all work out just right.

God must have laughed. How little I still knew. He pulled back the curtain and again showed me something astonishing about love. He created it and it is not limited by how small my understanding of it is. He has sewn it into the fabric of who we are. His love is boundless and I believe part of why we're here is to learn how to love. To love God and love people.

So, yes, I learned again. I had started with crawling and learned how to walk. Then I learned how to run and maybe, just maybe, someday I'll learn how to fly.

We've adopted two kids and the blessings we've received in our family outweigh anything we've put into it. All of our children have enriched my life more than I have enriched theirs. Some have said we rescued them. I don't think so. I think they rescued me. The babies we adopted are teenagers now, and I can't imagine life without them.

Our adopted kids are our kids, not our adopted kids. It all worked out seamlessly. Not by my power, but through His.

It is clear to me now that God had always planned on using people to teach me how to love. He knew what I went through as a child and he has spent the past forty-plus years trying to undo the damage. Even when I paid Him little attention, He blessed me with a wife who would be a vessel for Him to bring love into my life. Then He brought little ones into my life so that He might draw me closer.

I now live in expectation of what He wants to teach next. How great is our God! I'm pretty good at messing things up sometimes but one thing I've learned about God is he's the best math teacher ever.

If you've ever wondered for even a moment about adoption, I encourage you to take the next step and seek information. Just ask questions. There's no commitment in becoming more informed.

And if you think it might be for you, you don't have to go overseas to find children in need. They're right there in your own community. Don't worry about having to give some agency a pile of money. Government-run shelters have more kids (from babies to teens) than they know what to do with who need homes. They need someone to love them, maybe for the very first time.

If you're afraid you couldn't ever do it, that you don't have what it takes, use me as your example. Umpteen years ago, I knew there wasn't a chance in Hades. I'm thankful I was wrong.

Feel free to ask me anything and if I don't know the answer, I will help find someone who does.


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