‘Adoption’ is Googled around 6 million times per month globally.
I’ve often thought that adoption has brought out some of the ugliest parts of me. I never dreamed that doing something that I considered, and that most consider to be good would bring out so much bad in me. No single thing from my past has caused more personal pain or growth for me than adopting. I know that God often speaks of adoption, how He adopted us into His family. This would mean that before Christ, we are actually all orphans waiting for a “forever family.” From a distance this picture of being welcomed into a family of unconditional love seems so warm and cozy. But I had no idea that sometimes it would feel like getting too close to the fire, almost past the point of no return. Because unconditional almost always turns out to be conditional, with unspoken rituals that just can’t fill empty shells of lost love.
Since day one, once the mystery of mission work disappeared into thin air, I’ve been so self consumed with how I feel, how my privileges have been taken away, how inconvenient it is to share with other human beings who seem to be just as needy as me in their own insatiable ways. I thought that it would all end with the approved paperwork, with the final stamp of proof that they are no longer living alone in this world. But sometimes I see that they’re still alone. I don’t know how to reach out to them, how to talk to them about what they feel. I try to be a mother to them as best as I know how, but it seems like I’m just acting, like they know I’ll never get the part right, like they just humor me the best they know how, all the while their heart aching for the true love that only their birth mom could give.
I wonder if they want me to love them as much as I want them to love me. Do they wish I could love them as much as I love my four biological children, like I wish they could love me as much as they love their biological mother, and talk about her with such distant wonder in their eyes? I know it’s so selfish of me to want something in return. I mean I still have my mom. She is living, breathing, being there for me whenever I need her. I probably do not even show my mom as much love as I’m hoping for my adopted children to show me.
What was I expecting? A gold medal? A return on affection that I, myself cannot even give?
No. I had no idea that adopting would be such a tangle of emotions, constantly trying to get worked out, only to be balled up again in a twisted little mess that only God’s grace can hold in delicacy until I come back to my practical senses.
- Tackling Adoption (tanismiller.com)
- The birth/adoption community (onewomanschoice.wordpress.com)
- Jennifer Gilmore’s ‘The Mothers’: An honest adoption novel (csmonitor.com)