The last few weeks I have thought a lot about William and Marissa. Their past. Their biological parents.
It’s probably because of the books I’ve read. There is No Me Without You, Love in the Driest Season, and Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew. Not that I don’t think about it at other times, but reading about other peoples lives, always help me to think in ways I wouldn’t normally think. It brings out other points of view, that help me to see the world through eyes not my own.
I have mostly been thinking about their biological parents.
Are they still alive?
Do they know where William and Marissa are?
Did they see the ad in the newspaper?
Do they perhaps still think they are in Uganda and long and hope for the day when they will see their child again?
What were the circumstances that led them to make the decisions they did?
Do they know and love my Jesus?
If isn’t heartbreaking enough for me to ask those questions, what of the day when my children ask them?
I have, and likely never will have any answers for them.
They will never know the names of the ones who gave them life. They will never know the face of the ones who loved and cared for them the first few months of their lives. They will never have the answers to why they abandoned them.
Yes, that’s right I used the word abandoned. I could dress it up and put a nice little bow on it and call it relinquishment. Maybe that would make everyone fell a bit better. But at least for one of my children it would be a lie. Perhaps for one, left at a hospital, it could indeed be considered relinquishment. For the other, left on a dusty dirt road in Africa? It is what it is. Abandonment. What happens on the day my sweet child realizes the magnitude of that act?
I am not judging the hearts of those who would leave a child on the roadside, in the bush, a trashcan, or a pit latrine. What I am thinking about, is what that does to the heart of a child? My child. I have no doubt that my children’s first families loved them deeply. What I don’t know, is the gut wrenching circumstances of their lives that led them to ultimately leave a part of themselves behind in a hospital and on a roadside. I can guess. Extreme poverty. Hunger. AIDS. Maybe even for Marissa, the very real social stigma that would be on her family because of a small and seemingly insignificant difference of her right foot.
What I am thinking about is not the whys of the situation, but the when and how. When my children ask, and I slowly begin to unfold for them the truth that is their past, how will it affect their hearts? When I look into the eyes of my sweet child, and I convey that truth, how will I be able to say in the same conversation they loved you and they “relinquished you” on a roadside, and make my child believe it? I can raise them, with the daily knowledge that they are loved and are valued by US. How am I supposed to make them understand that they were loved and valued by their first parents? When they don’t know them. When they never will? When the circumstances regarding their early lives are so clouded and really don’t look anything like love?
You see, this is where many authors on adoption and I part ways.
I received a great deal from reading Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew. It was good for me to hear those things. It is good for me to think upon the deep pain my children will experience as they process their adoption. The fears they will have, and the questions they will ask. While I think the suggestions of the author were good and filled with some wisdom. It was indeed worldly wisdom. Unfortunately she missed the boat, at least in the book.
I can tell William and Marissa that they were loved by their biological parents, and it would be truth. I can tell them what little I know about the first years of their lives, and that would be truth. I can tell them that we love them, and that would be truth.
What about their fear that one day we will leave them too? Apparently this is common among children who have been adopted. Throughout their lives they struggle with the fear of those they love abandoning them. Can I tell them in all honesty that I will never leave them?
No I cannot. I am not promised another moment on this earth. The truth is, most likely, someday I will be leaving them as well. What then? No amount of reassurance that I will always be here for them would be truth.
There is ONLY ONE who will always be with them. He is the one who was with them when they were left in a hospital and on a roadside. He was with them when they were moved to Welcome Home. He was there, with them, in the mommas at the home who loved them, bathed them, fed them, and prayed for them. He was with them when they found out that they were getting a mommy and daddy in America. He was with them when they were terrified meeting us for the first time. He was with them when they boarded a plane for a land they never knew. He was with them, when that plane landed in a strange, busy, and noisy place. He was with them when they were afraid, lonely, grieving, hungry, and with out hope. He was with them when they rejoiced, danced, and sang. He is with them today. He will be with them tomorrow. He will be with them every second of everyday for their entire lives.
I cannot do that for them. Their first parents could not do that for them. Their friends cannot. Their future spouses cannot. Only ONE can fulfill their deepest need. Only ONE can assure them they are loved and valuable. Only ONE will never let them down. Only ONE will always be there for them in the way they need. Only ONE will never leave them or forsake them. HE is the answer to their hurt. HE is the answer to their needs. HE is the ONE. Jesus alone is their hope and salvation. HE alone is the one who can heal their deep hurt.
Not my validation of their pain. Not worldly psychology. Not giving them a voice. Yes, those things are helpful, and good.
What they need most is not a voice, but the Savior.
What they need most is not validation, but healing, from the Great Physician.
What they need most is not a diagnosis, but redemption.
Yes, it’s good for me to see though another pair eyes. The problems, hurts, and fears are real.
So is the only One who can bring redemption, hope, and healing.