Recently a few people have either written to me personally or left comments here saying that, perhaps, I don’t share enough of the hard part of adoption (specifically our adoptions). It has also been mentioned that I don’t give an accurate picture of what adoption is like and that [because of me] people may go into an adoption unprepared for what lies ahead.
I have thought about those comments a lot over the past few days and I finally have a few minutes to share my heart.
I will start by saying that one of the things I have always been very intentional about doing as a blogger is keeping it real! I have always wanted the pieces that I share here to be the real me–the person who I am in real life. I have tried to stay true to that (and if I haven’t, I hope that my friends in real life–those who know me best–will give me a swift kick in the behind!). What you read here is who I am–the good times, the bad times, the victories, and the struggles I face. Because that’s what God expects of me.
So getting back to adoption, and more specifically our adoptions.
Is it difficult?
Do we face challenges?
Are we stretched on some days?
Do we wonder, “How Lord?”
Of course, we do!
But here’s the thing.
Raising any child has its challenges and struggles!
It seems grossly unfair to me to separate our children into two categories–those who are adopted, and those who are homegrown! I find it horribly unfair to any adopted child to put them in a different category to those who were birthed from the womb.
Honestly? Adoption is no different to raising our biological children. It just isn’t! They’re my children–no matter how they made their way into my heart.
Do adopted children have their challenges that, perhaps, biological children do not? Absolutely. Adopted children do come with their own unique history–very often a history of abandonment, institutionalism, profound loss, deep emotional scars, and of course, their possible physical disabilities. For many of these children, a life of pain and suffering is all they know. They often arrive in a family with broken hearts and a desperate need to be loved unconditionally and accepted for who they are. There can be nothing worse for an adopted child than feeling like they are in a different category to other children in the home–the adopted kids with the “issues” and the “typical” kids.
Guess what? Though my biological children didn’t arrive in my arms with the same baggage as many adopted children, they too have their own issues to deal with! They face challenges every single day of their lives and we walk through those challenges with them. Any biological child can stray from the narrow road at any point in their life and choose the road that leads to pain and heartache. No child is immune.
And as a parent, journeying through ups and downs with any child is difficult! It’s just life!
For us, being prepared for anything (with any of our children), equipping ourselves with knowledge (as any adoptive parent needs to do!), and trusting God completely is how we have set out to raise our family. As Anthony and I now navigate the teen years with a few of our kids, we do so with open hearts–willing to learn, to listen and to help our children to grow and mature into godly young men and women. We’re realistic! We know that we will face a few bumps in the road–with our biological kids and our adopted kids. Their challenges may certainly be different, but they’re all our children, loved passionately and treated the same.
I guess for us, it’s how we choose to live our lives. We don’t dwell on the hard times! I don’t choose to wake up every morning dreading the fact that I will have to change about twenty diapers, make many meals based on who can eat what, wipe snotty noses more times than I can count, conquer the never-ending laundry pile, make still another unexpected trip to the emergency room, or know that when evening eventually comes, I will literally fall into bed exhausted.
The LORD never called me to live a life of grumbling and discontentment. Especially after we chose to have this family, these children. He called us by name and burdened our hearts for the least of these–but we still had a choice!
We always have a choice!
For me, I chose to focus on the good, the lovely, the positive and the HOPE that we, as a family, have in Christ.
We teach our children a principle that Anthony and I live by…
GOD NEVER CALLS US TO EASY!
We have many conversations here in our home about how the world is not called to do the hard things! We, His people, are!
We’re called to get our hands dirty and have our hearts be broken.
We are called to love without ever getting a single thing in return and give until we have nothing left to offer.
We’re called to live a life of sacrificial love–emptying ourselves daily for the sake of others and allowing Him to fill us back up for tomorrow.
Our children get to live that out and learn that truth every single day in our home. Yes, some days are hard for our homegrown kids as they deal with health crises, crying, developmental delays, very dependent little ones, and tantrums. But what a lesson in life the challenging days are! They are learning how to give, how to love, and how to be a blessing…even on the days when they don’t feel like it.
It’s true! The world is not called to do those hard things. We are.
As so I will continue to blog honestly and openly–sharing my joys, the health challenges our children face, and the difficult times we walk through as a family. You will never hear me say that adoption is easy and that parenting in general is a piece of cake. Because my reality is that nothing my God has called me to do in this life is really easy. But neither will you hear me complain about how difficult things are and how much time and attention our adopted children need from me every day!
I will continue to give glory to God in the good days and the hard days.
I will continue to be mindful of that fact that His praise should always be on my lips–and that’s what I’ll share here too.
And as far as adoption goes…No, it really isn’t easy. That’s the truth.
But if I wanted easy I never would have had a single child.
I am so blessed by this life that He chose for me.
And if I had to do it all over again…
….my answer would be, “Yes, Lord,” in a heartbeat.
Because there is no place I would rather be than in the center of His will for my life…
Wiping endless snotty noses.
Making countless meals.
Helping precious little ones to become all who He has created them to be.
And seeing His glory shine brightly…
….in the good days.
And in the tough days too.