Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A shift in perspective that might resemble redemption.

Before we adopted our Ethiopian children, we made a long list of why we chose the international route as opposed to domestic through foster adopt. At the time it certainly felt safer, that no one would be able to take our kids away from us.

From our vantage point now, after what we have been through with the knowledge of our children's families and the pain that separation from them has caused Meadow and Flint, I kind of shutter as I recall our reasons. Yet at the time, it was where we were. We truly carried our best intentions intentions in our hands, bringing them to the table that we might make an offering of what we had to share.

Last weekend there was no shortage of orphan care and adoption talk. It was the common ground on which all of the women at the retreat stood. There was laughter and tears and commiserating and comforting and stories shared that reminded us all we are by no means alone as we navigate the often turbulent waters of caring for the fatherless. A few of the conversations that took place have continued to stir in my mind and heart, causing me to think long and hard about what the future entails for our family in this realm. 

A fellow attendee asked me if I were a glutton for punishment as I told her we are interested in providing foster care in the future. After hearing my talk, I guess she found it odd. I had to laugh. I don't know. Maybe I am. I'm not sure I want to classify my desire to once again step into a scenario in which we will be giving parental care for someone else's children quite that way though.

Another friend recently said to me, "You just can't get past the parents, can you?" This was regarding the tremendous, overwhelming grief I have experienced at the awareness of Meadow and Flint's fathers and families continuing their lives in Ethiopia while their babies forge one on a continent across the world.

The answer is, no I can't get past the parents. I am a parent. I love to parent. Parenting is my vocation, my passion, my ambition, my drive, my focus, my highest desire. I hold the perspective of a parent. I will always think about the parents. I can not forget the parents. For whatever reason, I can not just get past the parents. 

Our adoption opened my eyes to the indescribable beauty of the sacred bonds of families, to the deep ties between moms and dads and their children and the wounds that result when those ties are irrevocably severed, to the importance of maintaining the natural, God given order of life when possible, as long as parents are capable of providing a safe environment and reasonable care for their babes.

That's exactly why foster care speaks so loudly to me now. 

I would like to be part of that process. Whether it be to reunify a child with his or her parents, or simply supplying the space and time necessary for mom and/or dad to either decide or prove it would be best for their child to be placed permanently with another family - to support parents. To stand in favor of biological families. To do everything in my power to prevent what happened to Meadow and Flint from happening to another child unnecessarily. To know I was playing a part so families would feel that they have a real, true choice in whether or not to raise their little ones, that there were people willing to hold them up and be on their side. 

I am usually quick to say the redemptive factor is difficult to find in our particular adoption story. As far as the Ethiopian relatives of my children who may not ever get the chance to really know their babies, I believe that is the case. As far as my M&F are concerned, I am intimately acquainted with the awareness that any gain they have won has cost them a high premium. I find the great loss both sides have suffered truly heartbreaking. 

But I do have to admit the experience has changed me in easily marked, undeniable ways.

If there is redemption, maybe it is in this. That due to our experience the cause of family preservation has hit my radar in a very real, very tangible, extremely sensitive way. That because of how everything shook out, my perspective has shifted such that I am willing to once again bring an offering of my time and talent to the table. Although this time around it will take an entirely different form. Even someone like me can admit, there may be the tiniest bit redemption in that...

Yes, the furry black one is a boy. ☺


Mary Kay Popeck-Snow said...

Hi Tisha,
I attended the EO retreat and loved your talk. You poured your heart out to us and I so appreciated it. I have noticed that mothering can be so isolating and, therefore, we lose prospective on what a great job we are doing. We tend to be so hard on ourselves. Just knowing that most (if not ALL) mothers are hard on themselves helps to realize that we can't all be bad moms, so there may be some good in what I am doing!
My husband and I have been foster parents for 9 years. We have welcomed over 20 kids into our home but only 4 remained. My 3 boys are adopted and my baby girl's adoption will be finalized this month. While so many thoughts ran through my mind while reading you post, I will offer only this. Think about your two adoptive kids especially when you decide whether or not to foster. Having a child in your home for 9 months or more only to return home or to another family can be devastating for them. They have experienced such loss in their short lives and watching a child come and go can lead to more difficult attachment issues and may have them questioning their own permanence in your home. Just a thought (or two). Good luck in your decision making. Mary Kay

Beckysblog said...

Tisha, I was unable to email you...not sure what's wrong with my computer but I wanted to send this to you...
Thanks so much for your encouragement on my blog. Praying for all my mom friends and the legacies we are creating daily!

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