adoption has impacted our lives significantly. for the better.
and it is through the heartbreaking gift of adoption that i became a mother. truly one of the greatest blessings i’ll ever experience this side of heaven.
even so, for all its significance and all of its joy i rarely speak of it – anymore.
pre-adoption i shared many of the joys (hope for our child & our future together) and struggles (w-a-i-t-i-n-g) related to our journey… but beyond that we rarely talk about “adoption”.
the reason for this is simple.
you see, when sterling joined our family, when he was permanently grafted in, he became our son, not our adopted son.
so when i look at him, stare him in the eyes, shower him with hugs, hold his hands, blow his nose, trim his hair i see him… not from outside, but from inside. inside our family. inside my heart. a permanent resident.
that’s not to say that i don’t see differences – ever.
sometimes i do. but it’s usually in the context of total amazement.
such beauty, such brilliance residing in one human life.
my son. our son.
he is completely ours and we are completely his.
since the forming of our family we have held nothing back, not an ounce of love, commitment.
however, that’s not to say that the realities of adoption haven’t visited us.
one of those realities is that every.single.day someone, or more often than not, someones make a comment about sterling not looking like us.
sometimes i shrug it off. sometimes i ignore them. sometimes i respond with a casual, “zenmebanne?” (what can be done about it?).
however, when i know that it’s someone we’ll see repeatedly i nip the constant comments or questions in the bud by stating matter of factly that he’s adopted.
over the last several months i’ve noticed sterling paying more attention to people’s comments and questions. i’ve noticed his face, how he’s thinking it through. and i’ve seen the surfacing of his adoption conscience.
so it was, when the other day someone decided to once again state the obvious that i was tempted to lose my temper, protect my son, and yell at them, “really? you think you’re the only person who tells us this? we hear it several times a day! can you please just stop!?!”
but i stopped myself. because rarely is yelling at someone an appropriate response to their ‘ignorance’. besides, i can’t yell at enough people to make it stop. (besides, yellling never does anyone any good.)
so on that day i followed one simple rule. i couldn’t say anything nice, so i didn’t say anything at all.
but i did look them in the eyes. my weary eyes eventually diverting theirs.
maybe, just maybe they saw my moment of pain. pain for my son.
but the true tears came hours later when sterling was asking me to tell him stories. stories about us on a subway, stories about him, liberty and daddy. and then, as if out of the blue, “mommy tell me about me at the orphanage.”
his request, asked with complete innocence and even with a hint of happiness made my heart grieve. i shed a tear or two. but more importantly i didn’t make his inquiry an issue.
i didn’t tell him that an orphanage is a sad place. i didn’t say it was bad.
i simply told him his story.
a simple telling of his humble beginnings.
because i had begun preparing my heart for this since he joined our family, the words came easily.
and because i had pre-planned and practiced what i was going to say, i was able to say it without emotion. without causing him any more unnecessary pain.
and then we rested content. in each other’s arms. him resting securely and happily in my lap. and me hugging him, unnoticed tears trailing…
i suspect this isn’t the only time he’ll ask innocent and hard questions about his life, his identity… nor will it be the last time this mommy cries tears of pain for him.
i also supsect that in the coming years, and maybe even for a lifetime, we’ll have moments, encounters of how the heartbreaking gift of adoption has significantly impacted our lives. for the better.
Ephesians 1:11In him we were also chosen,e having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
if you’d like to know more about our journey you can visit here or type “adoption” in the search query (right hand side bar).