ONE IN MILLIONS
One in millions and I have three of them - children who have been adopted.
They come home in many different ways – as infants, as older kids, special needs, kinship, inter-country, domestic, or combination of ways. There are millions of people affected by this journey called adoption, and millions of families formed along the way, each with their own unique story of how it all happens.
I’m one in millions.
I’m a mom and my kids don’t look like they belong with me. I love them like birth, life and death gushed out of me the moment I held them. It’s still gushing. I parent them with thoughtfulness and frustration and mistakes and forgiveness and arguing and cuddling and laughter and tears and therapy. We are a family that was built different, that looks different. Celebrating differences has been our family mantra. For us "normal" is highly over-rated. Sadly, the world rarely appreciates uncontrollable differences so we've lived through cruelty that cuts deep - unimaginable and not worth repeating.
Lately, I’ve been reading lots of stuff on social media concerning the process and journey of adoption. Some articles sound critical of adoption choices, some compare processes and outcomes. I don’t see how these articles are fruitful. They do nothing to help families formed through adoption. These single-sided opinions about adoption reinforce doubts, fears and regret that some families might already be experiencing.
As one of the millions I want to say a few things…
1. We constantly need education, support, resources and places to get help when things feel like they are spiraling down an abyss, and they can because adoption starts from loss. Some of the best places I’ve found to receive encouragement are: rageagainsttheminivan blog adoption posts, Paula Freeman’s blog, Empowered to Connect, Christian Alliance for Orphans and the listening ears of those caring souls who know and love our family without judgments.
2. We need to comfort and encourage families whose adoption journeys have been difficult at best or even disrupted. We need to hear their stories without comparing them to another or advising them beyond our boundaries of friendship and knowledge.
3. We need to separate the orphan crisis from those who choose to adopt.
Not all the millions of families and children touched by adoption need to be banner bearers for the cause of rescuing orphans. Some do choose to advocate in a variety of ways and that’s great – for them. No adoptive family should be forced to do either. Guilt is not a healthy motivator.
There are good adoption practices and bad ones. Both can be intertwined because adoption is a process facilitated by flawed people whose own ideas and agendas can blur motivation. All agencies claim they are doing what is in the “best interest of the child.” Each child’s birth situation brings a host of reasons why certain choices are made concerning placement. Some social workers’ bias – be good or bad - can influence outcomes. Perspective families’ expectations and preparedness can do the same. Even under the “best” conditions, adoption journeys are not guaranteed to turn out well, but then neither are biological relations.
Adoption is very much like real life – raw, distinctive, beautiful, ugly, hard, joyful, sad, rewarding, devastating, surprising and so much more… It’s a way to create family in this messy world and try to give children what they need in spite of what they lost.
It’s not easy.
We, MY FAMILY, are called to adoption.
We’re starting on the whole crazy journey again. Will it turn out right? I don’t know. What’s “right” anyway besides giving a child the love they can receive and helping them be safe - however that looks. We are just one in millions.
I love sunsets.
I chase them.
In the early evening, on days with extra time, I periodically peek at the sky, predict cloud movement and determine if we should hop in the car to find the pending sunset that will loom large and lovely over Lake Victoria. The sky can display stunning colors washed across the horizon, leaving lingering beauty beyond my words.
Within these quiet moments I rest my mind, my body, but my spirit soars to places only angels see. Photos are obviously not the same as the experience, but the glow reminds me that at the end of each day, God speaks.
Taking time to cease from our efforts and observe quiet beauty becomes necessary when needs bombard us daily - needs to parent, and clean, and cook and serve, and hear information, and serve, and lead, facilitate, coach, mentor, encourage... Sometimes these overloaded schedules forces us take too much on our weak and weary shoulders. We make the mistake of thinking outcomes depend solely on us when it does not. It completely rests on the Creator who designs the clouds to move in such a way they disperse glorious light from a glowing orb. I am reminded He moves us and the work of effective missions belongs to Him.