If you follow our family on Facebook or Instagram, you may have noticed that our family seemed to miss this year’s #WorldAdoptionDay and #OrphanSunday both of which occurred this past weekend. That was only partially intentional, to be honest, we needed a weekend to just be a family. We dealt with some heart issues that had been festering in our home, spent time with grandparents (which heals all wounds), took advantage of the beautiful weather by riding bikes, and played a highly competitive round of Children’s Bible Trivia (not for the faint of heart).
But, #NationalAdoptionAwarenessMonth, #WorldAdoptionDay, and #OrphanSunday are all very important to us as a family so we are celebrating with our smiley faces today.
I also want to talk with you about the hashtag we use consistently, #adoptionrocks and why we believe that adoption really does “rock”.
Recently, I ran across several articles written by both adoptive parents and adoptees promoting a movement that I’m sure isn’t new but is new to me called #passTheMicToAdoptees (I’ve also seen #notmynaam). In one of these articles, the author expresses a negative view of the popular hashtag, #adoptionrocks and even suggests it is offensive to adoptees. I definitely recommend adoptive parents read articles like these written by adoptees because other perspectives are always essential to understanding the depth of adoption.
However, I disagree. I believe that adoption really does rock and here is why:
First and foremost, there is no better picture of God’s love than adoption. The Bible says that we once were slaves (Galatians 4:3). We were nobodys that God chose to be sons and daughters. The God who created heaven, earth, and everything we see (including the eyes we see it with) adopted us and now we have all the benefits of being heirs to the King of Kings including eternal life, unending grace, and direct access to God. He was the first adoptive parent. He was the first parent to break the destructive cycle of sin for us. His love inspires us to do so for others.
Secondly, there is no better picture of what true family is. What is a mom? What is a dad? An aunt, grandparent, etc.? Adoption has challenged the way I used to understand these family terms. A mom is not simply someone who gave birth to another, a mom cares for, protects, leads, instructs, and on and on. In the same way, an aunt, cousin, grandparent is not simply a blood relative of one’s parents. They pray for, encourage, show up to meaningless school events, give endless hugs and kisses, and sneak you all the goodies mom won’t let you have.
Third, there is no better picture of how God takes tragedy and makes it into something good. Adoption begins with a family ripped apart but it doesn’t have to end there. Adoption can be the breaking of a cycle of addiction, poverty, and even certain behavioral and developmental disorders. Adoption can be redeeming and provide a child a chance at being a successful and influential adult they might never have had. Does God want families broken? No. Did He intend for some children to be orphaned, fostered, adopted? No. But it happens. Kids are hurt and removed from their families at an alarming rate. With God’s help, these kids can be a voice for change, advocating for other kids just like them in a way that the rest of us can’t. They also can be a voice of compassion and encouragement and provide that connection with other foster and adopted kids that they so desperately need.
Yes, there is nothing more tragic than adoption. It’s messy, painful, and traumatic for everyone involved. The effects it has on those connected to adoption never go away. May we never forget that. May we also never forget that adoption as we know it will not go away this side of heaven. There will always be children who need a home because of circumstances that may or may not be out of their parent’s control. That is the nature of the world we live in today and no amount of avoiding the discomfort or awkwardness will make it go away. We can’t be afraid to get our hands dirty and our hearts broken.
We have a choice. We can choose to dwell on the loss and the tragedy of adoption, or we can shift our focus to the beauty involved and the desire it places in us to make a difference by working to encourage others only we can relate to and strive to make changes that only we can make. I fully expect my children to waiver in that choice more than a few times before they reach adulthood. Grief has many layers and stages and I will respect each stage and walk with my children through it. My prayer is that they will ultimately be proud of who they are, where they have come from, who they were made to be, and that they are adopted.