If anyone is willing to admit adoption is hard, it’s the two of us. Me and my adopted daughter.
I foolishly anticipated her adoption would have some kind of natural rhythm to it, the way welcoming her 5 month old sister from foster care did. But welcoming a stranger who is grieving the life and Mommy she left behind has proved anything but natural. There have been no motherly instincts to rely on because, sadly, my instincts tell me to protect my life from her. She came in looking more like her broken biological parents than she did an 8-year-old. Emotionally immature. But worldly-wise. Filling my younger daughters’ once innocent play with talks of death, hate, divorce, sexual awareness, and every form of dysfunction. She had a mouth full of lies and a heart to wound. Her choices fulfilled the adoption nightmares that keep people from adopting. In her own words, she tried her very hardest to be her very worst, hoping we would “send her back”.
Thanksgiving marked 6 months of adoption for us. I’d like to say my heart was full of thanksgiving for the healing, connection, and healthy ground we gained in this half-year together. But that wouldn’t be honest. Chaos, destruction, heartbreak, helplessness, and discouragement were still my daily companions. Moving from victory to victory wasn’t her tangible reality, yet. Jesus was the only reason we were all even trying. It was the irrevocable truth He declared over her life that we held up to our souls. And that those closest to us tied to us when we were weary.
Adoption is worth it. But we have had to repeat that like a spiritual mantra. Every Single Day. Because, if I am being raw, it hasn’t felt worth it. Until today. Today is my thanksgiving. Hallelujah.
It started with another breakdown two nights ago. But when that ended in real breakthrough, I wondered what Holy Spirit would seal in her heart as she slept. Would the truth finally set her free?! When she woke up different yesterday, I noticed. Still, I held my breath. I waited for the hard to hit. Something familiar. But it didn’t. By the end of the night, I found myself thanking her for being “so peaceful” all day. I laid in bed, marveling at this Red Sea miracle. Was it truly the only day like it in the last 6 months?
She woke up this morning with the same lightness. This time, I let myself feel it too. I held back a million billion trillion tears. Feeling freedom made me profoundly aware of the constant attack we have lived under. Our home has been a landmine of triggers and we have all been casualties of the war the enemy waged.
But resurrection is real. Jesus conquered His cross and every one of mine. That breath brought life back into me today. And I am ready to shout VICTORY. We will triumph by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, as Revelation 12:11 promises. Yes, after just one day, I now remember what I knew before adoption. LOVE WINS. JESUS CANNOT BE DEFEATED. AND HE WILL HAVE HIS WAY!
As someone who once saw adoption as immediate redemption, I want you to know it hasn’t been like that for us. It’s been much more like salvation. The lifelong commitment has been made. But the relationship that will lead to change is being built. If you are considering giving an orphan somewhere to belong, know your weakness will be put on display. And your family will hurt. (That’s the hardest part on a mama’s heart.) Look to Jesus as the author and finisher of your child’s redemption. And trust it will come.