mothering & motherhood: adoption

dictionary.com defines adoption as:

adoption mid-14c., from l. adoptionem  (nom. adoptio ), noun of action from adoptare  “chose for oneself,” from ad-  “to” + optare  “choose, wish, desire”.

adopt (the verb form of adoption) as:

adopt  (əˈdɒpt) v. 1 law to bring (a person) into a specific relationship, esp to take (another’s child) as one’s own child.  2 to choose and follow (a plan, technique, etc).  3 to take over (an idea, etc) as if it were one’s own  4. to take on; assume: to adopt a title.  5 to accept (a report, etc)  [c16: from latin adoptāre  to choose for oneself, from optāre  to choose]

  interestingly enough, it then goes on to define the biblical form of adoption as:

the giving to any one the name and place and privileges of a son who is not a son by birth. (1.) Natural. Thus Pharaoh’s daughter adopted Moses (Ex. 2:10), and Mordecai Esther (Esther 2:7). (2.) National. God adopted Israel (Ex. 4:22; Deut. 7:6; Hos. 11:1; Rom. 9:4). (3.) Spiritual. An act of God’s grace by which he brings men into the number of his redeemed family, and makes them partakers of all the blessings he has provided for them. Adoption represents the new relations into which the believer is introduced by justification, and the privileges connected therewith, viz., an interest in God’s peculiar love (John 17:23; Rom. 5:5-8), a spiritual nature (2 Pet. 1:4; John 1:13), the possession of a spirit becoming children of God (1 Pet. 1:14; 2 John 4; Rom. 8:15-21; Gal. 5:1; Heb. 2:15), present protection, consolation, supplies (Luke 12:27-32; John 14:18; 1 Cor. 3:21-23; 2 Cor. 1:4), fatherly chastisements (Heb. 12:5-11), and a future glorious inheritance (Rom. 8:17,23; James 2:5; Phil. 3:21). “adoption.” Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary. 14 Jun. 2011. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/adoption>.

dictionary.com defines motherhood as:

motherhood  (ˈmʌðəˌhʊd) n.  1. the state of being a mother  2. the qualities characteristic of a mother

as much as i appreciate the previous definitions of adoption, the simplest way to conclude what motherhood is can be summed up in this:

motherhood is a lifelong commitment to a child.

 over the past four years i’ve heard and experienced many differing reactions to our choice to adopt. unfortunately, not all of them have been positive. when we first adopted sterling we received hundreds of hateful, condemning, and even threatening e-comments from various hate groups that seem to take pleasure in lies and the misery of others above anything else. we were shocked. up until that point we had never experienced such intense opposition to what we felt in our hearts was right… and best for a child that needed a family. yes, there were times when our worldview confronted blank confusion on the faces of others… especially on the east side. but for the most part people spoke out of ignorance, not hate. (sometimes the key is recognizing the difference.) i can honestly say that even from the moment the concept of adoption began forming in our hearts everyone in our lives were very supportive, prayerful and encouraging. as such, it truly was a shock that so many people would think of adoption as an injustice to a child… in other words, their anonymous cyber-bullying suggests that it is better for a child to remain in an institution until adulthood, than to receive the love and affirmation of a family. in every sense that kind of argument is ludicrous. there is certainly nothing right or good about any child being institutionalized. i believe that every child deserves to be loved… and just as importantly, every. single. child needs  to be loved. on this premise we began our own journey towards adoption.

the truth is, the gift of adoption made me a mother.

i can’t tell you the exact  moment i became a mother… for it certainly felt like a process. beginning in childhood i was drawn to the idea of giving a child the gift of family, of belonging… especially to the children who had no hopes of experiencing either. but if i had to pinpoint a time or an event when i became a mother i guess you can say i became a mother in my heart the moment we applied for adoption. at that moment i began to transition fully into motherhood, kind of like having a positive pregnancy test. then, i saw my baby boy in a photograph. and my heart leapt for joy… “yes, that’s my baby!” there was never a doubt, no second guessing. just like seeing an ultrasound, i knew that the picture was only a representation of my child. but that was enough. then… the moment… the one that changed my heart and my life forever, sterling was handed to me… and my whole world shifted substantially. i became forever his  mommy.

i can honestly say i’ve never been as happy, as content, as hopeful, as joyful, as thankful as i have been since sterling entered into my life, our family. i truly am a much better, more fulfilled, more laidback person since his adoption.

you see, adoption is a gift. it’s not so much a gift of what you will receive from the child… but a gift in that adoption allows your heart to grow larger, to learn how to love sacrificially… and maybe even differently than you’ve ever loved before. adoption is a gift in that you have the power to invest in, bless and impact a child for all eternity.

and for me, the gift of adoption allowed me to become a mother.

and i hope that ultimately sterling will also come to the conclusion that adoption is a gift. please know that i in no way want to ignore the painful aspects of this fallen world, of his own story that caused adoption to be a part of his life. but i certainly hope that the thread of redemption woven throughout his life is greater than the pain he’s sure to experience.

for it is through adoption that sterling will (continue to) experience the gift of family, of belonging… and my lifelong commitment to love him fully, unconditionally.

because if i am anything, i am forever and ever, no matter what, his mommy. and i will always, with all my heart, love him.

praise be to God who allowed us to experience the gift of adoption.

 this is the final post in the girl’s {mothering & motherhood} series.  if you’d like to read more visit here.

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3 thoughts on “mothering & motherhood: adoption

  1. Adoption is one of the most beautiful things this world has to offer, and a great way to respresent how God views us as his adopted children. My brother was adopted as an infant before I was born. In fact, our family’s story has many similarities to yours. Adoption changed his life, and that of our whole family, and I have never viewed him as anything less than my big brother.

    So grateful that you are willing to share your story, even with all of the hateful things you have gone through from outsiders who seem to disagree. Seems like they should ask themselves… how could love like this be wrong?

    Love to you all.

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