"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
- James 1:27
Last month I wrote this post after a really meaningful experience. Along with a tour my husband had the privilege of running, featuring Steven Curtis Chapman, Focus on the Family Canada organized a series of adoption workshops. End the Wait is an effort to take steps to advocate for the more than 30,000 children in the foster care system across our country and resource families who have an interest in adopting. I was fortunate to be in the room at one of these workshops in Toronto. Since then, I am beginning to hear there are "tentative matches" for some children who have hoped for a family... and if I hear any more news, I will be very eager to let someone know!
I sat in a room with another two-hundred people, listening to a discussion about adoption. As I looked around, I noticed that other than the people with the microphones, I was definitely one of the older people in that room.
Look. These are couples wanting to build a family. They are dreaming of building a family through adoption. That’s why they are here. To listen. To learn. To take information and resources. To start, or continue, or finish their path of adopting. They’re inquisitive, curious, anxious and a bit naive.
I felt as though I wanted to pull each person aside and hear their story:Are you infertile? Do you want a baby from Canada or an older child from Ethiopia, or a little girl from China? Do your friends and family know and support your decision?
I’m sure I could have asked each couple questions for hours. And then what if they asked me what I was doing in that room? How much would I love to tell them my story of adopting... I love to tell my story...
But there I was sitting, listening and learning. On the other side of adopting, I was soaking up all the information, advice and wisdom given by people who had been there - both professionally and personally. And their dialogue was alarmingly honest:Remember that parenting an adopted child is DIFFERENT than parenting a biological child.Adopted children have experienced loss, abandonment and more.Love won’t fix everything.
As the tears flowed down my cheeks I couldn’t help but think that no one ever said that to me. Twenty five years ago professionals didn’t talk like that - such honesty didn’t enter my ears. No one dared say to me that my adopted child would be different. Maybe I wouldn’t have heard then.
But on Saturday, I was silently cheering on the conversation and all of the people in the room who listened. Maybe they didn’t hear absolutely everything that was said, but bold truth was there. And couples didn’t leave. They soaked it in, asked questions and mingled to meet others like-minded.
Everyone thinking of adopting deserves to hear that being an adoptive parent is different. Although parenting of all children is tricky, exhausting, challenging and unpredictable - the uniqueness of parenting an adopted child is just that: unique. And having conversations about that uniqueness only builds a stronger foundation to an amazing journey ahead. The journey of building a family through adoption.
I pray that each of the couples there realizes their dream.
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