More and more people are talking about how abandonment and adoption can cause trauma to a young brain. And there is so much good coming from this discussion. People do need to tell their stories and therapies need to be tried and research needs to be done. It needs to be done so these precious children can thrive. But I have also seen something else coming from this discussion. And that something is fear. Men and women who once were open to adoption now questioning that path. Others who have deemed that adopting outside your own race or culture is unacceptable and causing further damage to an already traumatized child. I have been a part of a few adoption groups over the years that I had to leave because my soul just could not handle the increasing negativity. Truth: Adoption is hard on everyone. Also Truth: Adoption is also incredibly beautiful in ways you can't even begin to imagine until you are a part of it.
My baby girl turned seven yesterday. I was not there when she took her first breath. I have put together a story plot of that day in my imagination, but the true details will forever remain a mystery. She spent her first birthday in a small crowded room with about twenty other babies; one who shared her crib. There were no balloons, no presents, no overly doting relatives and no smash cake. The knowledge of those things makes each birthday a little more than just a birthday. It is a reminder of her life in the orphanage, a reminder of her first moments with her birth mom and also a reminder of our family without her.
As I thought about it all this year, my mind was consumed with "What If?" What if we had decided that adoption was too risky? What if we had not selected "spina bifida" on our allowed special needs? What if we hadn't gotten to her in time to remove her tumor? What if we had thought instead about all the things we might have to give up? What if we had delayed adopting until we were older... wiser... had more money... had a bigger house... had done lots of traveling.... finished having bio kids???
The answer to every single one of those questions.... We would have missed out on being the family for one very, very special little girl. She is pure sunshine that radiates joy. And I have found when she is away from the house there is a huge hole. I know that we still have many things to travel through together but I will never regret that we took that step of faith to bring her home. We have adopted internationally, transracially, special needs and out of birth order. We have done many things that "experts" warn not to do. And I am so thankful that we did.
Faith and I were recently working together in the kitchen. She stopped and looked at this photograph of the two of us on the counter.
"I love looking at pictures of just me and you. They make me happy inside."
"Me too, baby, me too."