Adoption is a picture of redemption. True.
And adoption puts children into forever families. True.
And for us, as the adoptive parents, I think the picture of the journey to our children is often filled with waiting, pursuit, longing, waiting, paperwork, waiting lists, more paperwork and more waiting.
And there comes a point when, after all that anguish, we are able to put the journey behind us and declare it all worth it in the end. True.
But there is more to the story. There is so much more to the process and to the journey than our “yes”.
There is hard, too.
Because while we were journeying and paperchasing and waiting and waiting and waiting,
Our children were walking through rejection, abandonment, shame, loss, hurt, longing, relinquishment, lonliness, abuse, trauma, neglect, malnourishment, sadness and grief.
Yes. Adoption is restoration, and it is redemptive, and it can bring beauty to brokenness.
But. BUT. It is also hurt. and loss. and more loss…..
It can be too easy, in my experience, to see the finish line and declare ourselves victorious without considering the hidden things. the broken things. the layers upon layers of hurt that we must carefully help our children peel back to bring true and complete healing.
We must be willing to walk through the hard, too, as parents. We must be willing to acknowledge that those early hurts deeply affected our children. And we must be ready to grieve with them. To talk about the hard things. To be honest and trustworthy with our childrens stories. To love them through the anger–which will undoubtedly be directed at us– and to sit and wait as our children examine deeper and deeper inside their protected little hearts for the things they most want to be rid of….
We must understand that that finish line we celebrated. Was the starting line. We had simply arrived at the race.
And intentionally. purposefully. honestly. We must walk through the hard stuff with our children. We must cover shame with His grace and love. We must acknowledge unfairness and grieve hurts and losses and unanswered questions. We must be fully present. constant. never failing in our love and consistency.
Never forgetting that for us to be their forever family…
they have to have lost their first family.
“Adoptive parents and families are not always aware of how being relinquished has deeply impacted their adopted child. They are just so thankful to have that child in their life. But, all the while adoptive parents are rejoicing and celebrating, their adopted child is grieving the missing parts of his or her life before living with their family. Their adopted child has lost a part of his or her history, his or her DNA, his or her life –- and no one is available to talk about it.”
Ashley Smith is a passionate and enthusiastic Blogger, Mother, Christian and Adoption Advocate. She often writes to release true stories and emotions about International Adoption, Faith and The Everyday Life over at In My Own Words and prays that her words would bring hope and life to readers. She is the analytical left-brained wife of a creative worship-leading right-brained (and yet still amazing) man and Mom to a 5 year old superhero-loving boy, Marvel, who joined their family in the summer of 2012 from Ethiopia!