Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Would you do it again?

Yesterday, while sitting on my couch with a hot cup of green tea and an amazing (No, seriously. She is amazing.) new blog friend turned real life friend, we talked adoption. A question she posed has stuck with me in the hours since she left, echoing in my ears. After I spoke of the ethical conundrum I found myself in while we were bringing our one-living-parent Ethiopian babes to The Land of Promise, she questioned "How do you see things now?" In essence, would you do it again?

What a tough call to make.

Truthfully, I have to answer no. If I could go back to 2009, the year we began it all, I would not do it again.

Through all of this what I have come to believe in the very depth of my being, is that ripping children away from their country, their heritage, their language, their culture, their continent is not an activity in which I care to participate. The whole thing just doesn't sit well with me. At all. It gnaws away at my insides, tearing my conscience up into tiny little pieces.

I observe these kids. Every day. Each single dawn until dusk, and beyond. I see them falter and flail and struggle immensely to find identity they can claim as their own and a sense of true belonging and wholeness and security that they are worthy human beings and it is heartbreaking.

I think about their Ethiopian siblings. The ones who share their faces and their mannerisms and their laugh and the sound of their voice. The ones they will likely never, ever meet. Their very identity. And I weep over what had to be lost in order for them to gain what they've got here.  

My whole paradigm has shifted about what kids really need. I used to think provision and stability was almost everything. Most of all, through the experience of international adoption, I have come to believe that what kids need is their people. If their mother has passed away, they need their father. If their father is deceased, they need their mother. If both are no longer living, they need grandma, or an aunt or cousin or older sibling or neighbor. As long as their situation is not abusive, or placing their lives in danger, if possible, children thrive best when they are with loved ones. Even if that means reaching out into the extended pool of folks surrounding those little ones. Even when those loved ones are terrifically flawed.

There is something infinitely sacred about your people. A parent child bond is difficult to authentically replicate. It is a gift of God, blessed with biochemistry and oxytocin and genetics and natural order.

Environment is important, yes. A stable home is excellent. A loving family is a beautiful thing. Nutrition is beneficial. Education assists. But none of it is everything. And even all of it put together doesn't necessarily begin to cover the chasm of pain left in the wake of feeling abandoned, by your people.

Clearly, it does not always work out for parents to raise their children. The situation is not across the board ideal. And in those cases, where parents are honestly unable, unwilling, or unfit, adoption can be a tremendous asset to the life of a child who is in desperate need of a home. No question.

But that's not necessarily the case in the lives of the two children we adopted. They each have devoted fathers (and stepmothers) who are raising their biological siblings the best they can, with great love. Their lives are ticking along just as ours are - day by day - halfway across the world, while Meadow and Flint work so hard to establish their footing on the Colorado prairie, with their white family. All this material abundance they now have at their fingertips, the nutrition and stability and education they've been given hasn't proven the least bit helpful in discovering the sense of belonging they hunger for.

And the awareness of that is a heavy burden to bear.


Mandy said...

there is so much tension here, but i want you to know that i could see your heart in your eyes as you spoke of this. your heart that is bleeding for orphans, the ones in your home and across this world. i'm astonished by your bravery and the wrestling...

so much love to you.

Lindy said...

My word, you write good words. :) Well said. I know that this isn't always possible, as you mentioned, but this is a tough transition for older kids who remember where they came from.

Dawn said...


Danielle said...

Thank you so much for your honesty in sharing this.

Holly said...

and yet in all this we are conquerors...

because HE knows.
HE could have totally put two kids with no living parents in your home just as easy easy.
He didn't.

these words are SO true and as always, beautiful and painfully requiring action and creativity (for reals, you are so talented with this word stuff!)

but in the end, He is Sovereign!!!

Holly said...

uh...not preaching or pretending I have a CLUE about what is going on in your house and heart, just adding here...please forgive all semblances of preaching or knowing!

Blog Archive