A full week has passed since we've been home from China. I've been thinking so many thoughts about so many things, it's truly a tornado inside my brain. Then again, when isn't it!
Mostly though, what I think about most, is how adoption changed my world.
The changes though, are not what most would expect. Before we adopted any children we went into adoption blindly. To be honest, we thought adoption was a good thing. We thought we were making a difference in the life of a child. We read cliche quotes like the following and gave a loud resounding AMEN!
"I can not make a difference in the life of all the children, but in the life of one child I made a difference"
(note, these things and quotes may all be true, but there was an aspect to adoption we were totally missing)
We thought we could parent a hurting child and make it better for them. We thought we would hold them, and care for them, and their world would be a little bit better. When we thought about the impact a child would make on our lives, we thought about therapies for them, help for them. We would do whatever it took to help them. As my friend stated; "the healthy helping the unhealthy, the strong helping the weak."
We brought our second son home, and were wildly mistaken. We were faced with parenting a child with pain, abuse, malnourishment, loss, and fear.
Let me tell you, all our initial thoughts could not have been further from the truth!
We came face to face with brokenness, and we realized we couldn't face our son's brokenness without coming face to face with our own gross, ugly brokenness too.
again, in the words of a friend...
Fear, shame, pain, anger, and insecurity cause my child to break down and lose it. My own fear, shame, pain, anger, and insecurity fuel my embarrassing responses to his behavior. To say this isn't how I imagined these scenarios playing out pre-adoption would be laughable.
Before adopting I thought I'd be here for my child, the instrument of help and healing to my child. The real truth is, I'm simply here with my child. Walking through our hurt and dysfunction together. Holding my child after an episode that leaves us sweaty and breathless admitting that we're both a wreck in need of healing. In need of a miracle.
Me, needing to be parented by God while I attempt to parent.
Me, a child of this fallen world and thus a child of trauma to some extent, attempting to parent a child of trauma.
And that is where the change in my world came in.
Prior to adopting I thought we would be bringing hurt and pain into our story, but now I realize hurt, pain, trauma, dysfunction, lies, fear, and hate were ALREADY a part of MY story.
We thought prior to adopting that God would use us, we would be His hands and feet, all to bring healing to a child.... and yet adoption will forever be the reason healing, redemption, and restoration began in my own life. In the words of Alanis Morrisette... "isn't it ironic?" In this midst of a heartfelt story, I want to note, I secretly do still like her, ah yes, I am multifaceted!
So we bravely and courageously decided to adopt two more kids, we went into it, again like my friend said...
"we're already imperfect in this house, feel like fat parenting failures most days while raising kids without a lot of emotional scars, and yet we're willing to rearrange our own dysfunction to make space for another life filled with hurt and fear."
What adoption has done for me, is brought me to my knees. People say all the time, "how blessed these children are to have us." They do not realize how blessed I am to have them. These children have shown me myself. They have revealed the sin in my life. They have brought me out of my middle American ways. They've allowed me to see things I have and would have never seen before. They've given me a chance to live real Christianity, not a watered down version. Who Christ is has been revealed to me in these last years, more than my lifetime.
It doesn't take a family adopting to realize our fallen state, the sin, the pain, fear and suffering we all have in our hearts. For me, for this family, I am thankful He brought us to adoption, without it, I have no idea where I would be. I fear it would be drowning, but the worst part about it is, I would have had no idea I was.