Adoption: How Did I Get Here?


"How did I get here?" Talking Heads - Once In  A Lifetime (sonofwashington.com)

“How did I get here?” Talking Heads – Once In A Lifetime (sonofwashington.com)

Now that is a great question.

It all started when our son was maybe a month old. One night, after he was rocked to sleep, my wife floated this harmless little thought: “Would you consider one more child? What do you think about adoption?”

I was in my comfortable chair, having an adult beverage, watching the NCAA tourney, in the warm house so I think I replied with a not very well thought out and dismissive “that’s a really nice thought”. Back to the game.

Something Others Do

The funny thing about my wife’s harmless little thought is that my heart told me that adoption was the right thing to do. I mean, we’re taught to care for the widows and orphans and there isn’t a parent out there that hasn’t considered what life would look like for their children if they were orphaned.

The problem was my head was in the way. I was scared of the big change adoption would bring and I wasn’t sure I wanted it.  It felt dangerous.  Also, I saw it as a noble thing that other people do. I saw this as something that younger parents do. I saw this as  something well organized, well financed, got-it-together types do.  It was during this time frame that a couple of things happened in my life: I got downsized and then I went to Haiti.

Downsized, Haiti

When I got downsized, any talk or thoughts of adoption went out the window. We were in find-a-job and save money mode. The thought of adding to the family at that point was something I couldn’t do. Fear won that round.

It was while I wasn’t earning a paycheck, but helping my wife with her business, that I had the opportunity to go to Haiti. I wasn’t sure what toThumbs Up expect other than I was going to see things that might break my heart. It’s funny to think back on that trip and consider I was out of work, didn’t want to think about adoption, but was going to go to another country and work in an orphanage. Along with some good men I know, we spent a hot week in the sun working and playing with the children.

The orphanage was a safe place for these children, but it was kind of an island in a sea of poverty.  Many of them didn’t know their parents. Some had  been dropped off at the gate, some had medical conditions that were beyond the parents ability to provide care for. One little girl was literally rescued from a latrine as a discarded newborn. Then you notice something else: kids are hanging off of you.  They are smiling, singing, playing, running, laughing and tugging on you ALL DAY. They like to swing. They like baseball. They love soccer. They love you to put them on your shoulders. This gave me perspective.

Surrender

I got back from Haiti and life slowly returned to normal. Eventually, I went back to work and when that happened, I knew we’d be in a place to consider adoption again.

My wife said she would never forget the moment I finally said yes. We were standing in the bedroom closet when the question of adoption came up again. I think she was getting tired of asking and needed to know if this was really going to happen. To her surprise, I said “yes” and told her all of my thoughts on it. I let her know that I’d prefer domestic, did not care about the race or sex and that we should probably get on it pretty soon. We’d need to make some arrangements, but I was in. To this day, I think she is still surprised.

A Wall To Restore

Adoption has reminded me, a little, of Nehemiah. I’m no theologian, but the gist of it was a man stayed true to being asked by God to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. In doing so, different people with different talents were pulled together and rebuilt the wall – often with a sword in one hand. The work was hard but they answered the call.

That wall was in need of restoration and in many ways, adoption is like that wall. The work looks never ending and impossibly hard.  There will be opposition, objections and challenges to overcome. It’s costly, its risky, and never ending. It’s also worthy of our best effort, because were not just restoring a wall for the sake of restoring a wall, but we are stepping up to say we will take a child into our home as our own.

I’m finding my place on the wall.

 

 

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