I have not been adopted. I have not adopted. But I believe in adoption with every ounce of my being. I venture to guess that one day in an orphanage makes most a believer in adoption. I’ve been in orphanages in China, South Africa, Ukraine, and Mexico. All of them were nice and had loving workers. Yet, my heart still broke for the loss and hurt that filled those places. Fast forward about 8 years and many of my friends began their adoption journey. Some because it was their desire since they were kids, some because their heart burned, with no good explanation, for a country, and some because they painfully desired a family.
Here’s what I now know about adoption. It’s beautiful and painful. It’s hard work and heart breaking. It’s confusing and tough to wade through. It’s hope and loss all mixed together. It’s grief and sadness and new beginnings and joy.
My desire is to adopt one day. In fact, if you ask my son if he has a brother or sister he will confidently tell you he has a brown bubba girl. Sigh. We talk about our dreams in our family. We talk openly about adoption being God’s heart. I talk about my sense that there’s a girl out there that is our family. My son processes life similar to me: verbally. So as he gets his brain around adoption this is how he does it. He knows mommy might not have a baby in her tummy but that we still might have a baby. A brown little beautiful girl to be exact. (Disclaimer: that might not be what happens in our family but I’m listening to my heart and to what I believe to be God and if I’m wrong so be it because my heart was stretched in the process.)
I have heard the loss from my adult friends that have been adopted that rises up and the strength and beauty they now possess. I have seen abandonment dealt with and lived with yet those same adults are the ones that make you feel like you are the only one in the room when they talk to you. They have taken their brokenness and created strength and safety for others.
I have begun to see my gorgeous friends wrestle with the different skin colour of their children or more accurately their kids struggle through those questions. It’s messy. It breaks my heart to watch but silently (because I have no words or experience to speak into their life) I am cheering for them because you know what they are doing? They are developing powerful people. They are teaching their children to feel pain but not live as a victim. Messy. Hard. But oh so beautiful.
If you ask me why I want to adopt here’s the quick answer I’ll give: to give a kid a chance that doesn’t have one. That’s the elevator answer. The one that can be answered before you get to the floor your travelling to next. If you have time for more I will tell you I am simultaneously freaked out of my mind to bring a child into my imperfect world and take them potentially out of their first culture (I know the weird pain and questions that come with feeling so different in a culture), as well as excited to see how in our crazy life this comes to be. I would also say if you had time to listen, I know it’s not going to be easy, the truth is my guess it might be pretty hard at times. My love won’t change them. My commitment might not heal them. I might not make that much of a difference. BUT I want to give a kid a chance that might not have one. The gold and talent that might be lurking in a poor community that might never be found. The intelligence and creativity that might never be seen because circumstances or challenges might not allow it.
It’s all so messy. And there is so much to consider with adoption. Is it okay to take a child out of their culture? Is it okay to leave a child parentless with no family after they turn eighteen? Is it okay to rip a child away from family even if they are unsafe or potentially could have a better chance at life? Is it okay to think western culture is the saviour of all developing cultures? See what I mean, messy.
Here’s why I am a World Adoption Day Ambassador: these conversations/debates are important to have. Our future world and cultural leaders depend on us to have them. Do I have the answers? No. In fact I’m not really that qualified to ask the questions, but I’m going to do it any way.
Join me in the conversation? November 9, 2014 is World Adoption Day. Check out the link. Watch your social media. Participate if you want to be part of this conversation. It’s not a commitment to adopt or agree with adoption. It is a commitment to show up and wrestle with the questions and hearts that involve adoption.
Place a smiley face on your hand and do what we have all become masters at doing: take a selfie! Post it to your social media, tag it (#worldadoptionday), and see where the conversation goes.
(And if you are in New Zealand with me, we will see 9 November first so we will lead the way in starting this conversation. What a holy and privileged role we have here in NZ.)