Some of my regular readers will know that I have long had a heart for adoption. I have read online and experienced through friends and relatives many adoption stories. I have cried tears of joy and tears of anguish, and been exposed to the possible challenges and milestones unique to the adoption process. So I felt that I wasn't a complete adoption novice.
Until our own adoption story began.
Every adoption story is unique. It centers around a unique, specific individual, with a name, a history, a past. A person, made in God's image, with their own thoughts and emotions and dreams. Each person comes to the moment of adoption through different, though often similar, circumstances. And every family who enfolds the new member into their hearts is also a unique family with their own story and history and dynamic. So it is no wonder that every story is different. No-one's adoption story is exactly like another.
But the process of grieving the losses involved with adoption and accepting or cleaving to the new life has similarities for many adoptive children.
Learning it by living it is entirely different than learning it by hearing about it.
Not gonna lie. It's hard. It's also wonderful, exhilarating, heart-wrenching, and painful.
Part of the uniqueness of our adoption story is that there wasn't and isn't a clear break from the first family and the life the first family represents. Our new daughter is not completely "ours." Her heart and loyalties are divided. Her process of grieving and cleaving is continually interrupted by contact with her first family. How confusing and painful this is for her! And how painful it is for us, to watch her suffer, and to help her navigate through the turmoil and despair her suffering brings. Yet, it is still in her best interest to see her first family. This is the path God has marked for her and for us.
How can this be?
That this is God's plan is an awesome, terrible, mysterious, tragic, beautiful thing. It is not the way I thought adoption would be. The details are not what I would have chosen. But our girl...... is amazing and beautiful to me beyond description. That she has endured all she has and is who she is, is nothing short of miraculous. She is worth every long night and every difficult conversation and every moment of hardship.
And she is even more amazing and beautiful to God her heavenly Father, than she is to me. I can trust Him with her. With this. I do trust Him.
Daughter H has started a 7 week girls group with our counselor. It is for adoptive teen girls, and the first session was this past week. Each week they will be discussing one of the 7 core issues of adoption. H was very apprehensive, but she loved the first day. Loved, loved, loved it! And I, who had intended to drop her off and go grocery shopping during the 90 minute session, loved it too. I sat in the waiting room with the other moms and we had our own impromptu "adoptive moms" group. I didn't realize how much I needed that support until I got it.
Oh the blessing of being with moms who get it! Who get how different the issues are for adoptive teens, and how our parenting must address those issues. After the children were tucked into bed that night, I poured out my heart to my husband and had a really good cry. They were tears of anguish, and relief, and gratitude, and wonder. I was processing a lot of stuff ~ stuff that happened on our camping trip, stuff that the moms had discussed that morning, stuff between H and I. It was good to share it, name it, take it out and look at it a bit before putting it back in its little compartment in my heart. God is so good. Just so good.
Our adoption story is still young. It will continue to be a process, probably a very long one. But I know that it is God's doing and that He is in it with us. There is much I do not understand. But both daughter H and I are cherished by the One who does.
My heart is full of gratitude.