In case you haven't heard, November is National Adoption Awareness Month. My facebook feed is full of encouraging pictures and sayings about adoption. However, this year I've noticed more people taking the time to balance the warm fuzziness with the realities involved in adoption. I am super-glad about that. I think in any matters of the heart, it is easy to get caught up in romanticizing about it and not ever being real about the nitty-gritty involved. It's like marriage...if you have taken all kinds of time dreaming about the wedding and planning the wedding and fantasizing about the fairytale life you will have but given no time to preparing for the demands of the commitment of marriage and the potential struggles you may encounter, you'll find yourselves in the weeds in a hurry. So to the folks that have kept it real in a way that was transparent enough to give constructive information without divulging the personal details of your child's story, I appreciate you. I do believe there's a line of appropriateness. Joe & I have been open about how we have navigated the ups and downs of marriage, but we don't ever throw one another under the bus, and there are certain details that are meant to be kept between a husband and wife. I believe this is true of parenting, as well.
Anyway, I haven't said much in this month of awareness because I have been contemplating it all. I am passionate about children having families, this is true. However, I have been concerned about some of the "rainbow & unicorn" mentality that I have seen. There are absolutely beautiful moments, especially those lump-in-the-throat ones where you see your child for the very first time. They are photo-worthy & make your heart swell.
There are also the tough moments. The questions you don't have answers for, the realities of pain behind those questions, and the insecurities that have taken root in your child stemming from early experiences they cannot even put words to but feel in the depths of their souls. And many times when they can't find the words for those things, their behaviors reflect the uncertainty of it all.
So we seek to find balance. We balance the beauty that is developing as we work through the fears and questions. And I take pictures like this...
To the onlooker, this is such a sweet moment between sisters. Indeed it is, but what you should know is that it is really a picture of balance. One sweet daughter has been struggling as they discuss "family" at preschool. She asks often, "Did you miss me when I in China?" Her heart seems to need to know that she belongs here and that we need her as much as she needs us. So we process, we love, we reassure. Today was a rough day for her, but there is beauty. She has a family to continue walking through the uncertainty, and in the immediate, she finds comfort snuggling on a snowy afternoon watching a movie with her sister. That is the full story of this picture.
Hard and beautiful. I don't have all the answers and I can't make everything right, but I am thankful every day for the resources God put in my path to help prepare us to expect the hard and look for the beautiful. If you love raising children and feel pulled to adoption, great!!! I would encourage you to talk to other adoptive families, check out the latest literature on adoption, and most importantly, seek input from adult adoptees that so graciously share their stories. I think these are some of my most treasured insights, so be willing to listen, even if it is hard to hear. As the saying goes, anything worth doing is bound to be difficult. My marriage, raising my children...yes, worth the hard to experience the beautiful. I am thankful.