Read the first part of this series here.
Adoption is impossible to describe in many ways. On a thousand different levels it seems illogical. Loving someone who's not "your own" seems like a tall order. I get that. And in my many experiences of counseling women in crisis pregnancy, I understand why it is their fear that giving up a child for adoption seems cruel. How will the child ever feel the love that they should without their "real parents."
It is incomprehensible, until you have the privilege of experiencing it for yourself.
When I took Ethan in my arms that night in the hospital, all the bonding I missed not carrying him myself happened in an instant. Instead of nine months of falling in love like I had with his older brother, and very shortly after would with his little sister, it took about nine seconds.
My theory is that God himself stands above the adoptive child and his new parents and takes his very best supernatural needle and thread and sews hearts together. I know there are lots of stories told about the contrary, attachment disorders and the like, but I firmly believe those are the exception (but people like to tell the tales anyway). Now mind you, God pierces his blessed needle through both the parent heart and the heart of the child (and eventually other family members as well) but picture the thread - for Ethan and I, in an instant I felt my heart completely drawn to his and I am thankful that in my case I had the privilege of being the only mom he ever knew, I know that's not always the case. For older children or parents even who struggle a little, the pulling of the thread may take a little longer until the hearts are intertwined, but the connection is there regardless. It's a "God thing." One of those things that is hard to put into words.
Despite the fact that I felt like I got a glimpse into God's heart for us - broken, with little or nothing to offer Him, He loves us anyway. For me I felt no benevolence in my love for my little boy - only gratitude. Grateful to be his mama, grateful for the deeper understanding of what it is to choose to love, but also overwhelmed how quickly the choice becomes an impulse that I could not overcome.
My biological daughter came very quickly after we brought Ethan into our home. There are less than ten months between their births. Because Ethan's adoption was so extremely complicated and full of struggle, I didn't tell his birth mother about my pregnancy until I no longer had a choice. At that point Ethan's placement wasn't even official (seriously, the details of our story... would send people RUNNING from the prospect of adoption) and when I finally had no choice but to tell her about another baby coming, she could have easily removed Ethan from our home. Losing Ethan was a realistic fear we lived with for almost three years, and it was more than three before he was legally a DePriest.
So the night that it was clear by my bulging belly that I had to tell her I was pregnant was a difficult conversation I did not want to have. When I told her it got very tense, and she got very quiet on the other end of the phone.
"What's wrong?" I asked her.
"I'm afraid you won't love him as much as you do your own kids," she said.
My own kids. She still had no clue.
Ethan was mine. Ethan is mine. As incomprehensible as it is, biology had nothing to do with that.
"I'm worried I won't love my next baby as much as I do Ethan," I told her. And I was.
Thankfully love and hearts are things God enlarges. We don't have limited amounts that we have to dole out, we just get more. It is an unlimited resource and biology has nothing to do with that either.
Sometimes I will stop and catch myself and it will suddenly occur to me that Ethan is adopted. Most days though I completely forget. The truth is, I have the knowledge in my mind - and I am proud of the incredible testimony that is the story of HOW Ethan came to us, and HOW we fought to keep him, but it's only there in that tiny little box. It exists in no other part of who I am. Not in my heart, not in my soul, not in my love, like or care.
Adoption is a miraculous thing, one I wish the whole world could experience. There are simply no words that do it anywhere near the justice that it deserves. And that's why I tell you...
The beauty of adoption - incomprehensible.
The heart of adoption - incomprehensible.
The experience of adoption - incomprehensible.
It's like a secret club, no matter how much you may support, approve or like the idea, without the experience, the fullness of it, is just simply, incomprehensible.