• The Hard Part of Adoption

    Date: 2014.06.28 | Category: Adoption, Hope, Jasmine (Shuang Shuang) | Tags:

    There are many wonderful things about adoption.  It is beautiful and a blessing to watch little lives grow and thrive.  I believe in adoption with my whole heart which is why when God called again we proceeded. But the truth is adoption is hard.  These children come from a very hard place.  Adoption will test you and build you and strengthen you in ways that you can’t even imagine.

    There are many things that you encounter on the road to adoption.  The paperwork is crazy.  The first few weeks in China are trying.  The jet lag is a kick in the butt.  It’s not easy.  I knew that going in, but I wasn’t afraid because parenthood itself is hard.  Loving little people can be hard.  They will try your patience.  They will push your buttons.  It’s just hard.  Now take all of that and add to it hurt, abandonment, malnourishment.  The list could go on and on.  There are bound to be some issues.

    Even if you adopt them from birth, they can have issues as to why they were left.  They will question why they were given up.  They will wonder why they have certain characteristics.  Are they like someone else in their family?  From whom do they get their artistic ability?  Why is their hair straight?  Why is their toe crooked?  The unknowns are the hardest part.

    I remember people questioning us at the beginning as to why we told Hope the truth about her birth story.  They wondered why did we let her know that her pre-adoptive parents backed out and her mother left her in the hospital?  Why?  Was it because we wanted to cement her love for us by letting her know that we were the only ones who cared?  Was it because we enjoyed being mean and hurting her?  No!  It was because at any point in Hope’s life she could send for her medical records and it is all there in black and white.  We wanted our relationship based on trust.  We wanted her to know that we would never lie to her.

    Hope learned about her story in increments.  It’s not like you throw all of that information at a two year old, but Hope has always known her story.  She has heard over and over again how daddy fell in love with her right when he saw her.  She knows that we fought for her.  First, to be able to bring her home and let her die with family and then by trying the surgeries that could and would save her life.   We told her over and over again that it wasn’t her fault.  We let her know there was nothing she did or could have done.  We let her know there are many, many facts leading up to her birth that we just don’t know. Her birthmother might have been scared.  She might have had no support.   We didn’t know all the answers but what we did know was Hope has always been loved by us and we considered her a wonderful gift.

    We have never held any animosity towards Hope’s birthmother.  We have always told Hope to pray for her.  We don’t know the pain or the anguish she went through or might still be going through.  We just don’t know so the best course of action is to pray for her and while Hope is praying for her, Hope’s heart is healed a little more with each and every prayer said.

    Hope is very quiet. She doesn’t say a lot.  She has always been that way.  I worry that she is holding too much in.  I worry about what she thinks about her heart defect, whether she will live a long life, whether we love her, how she was abandoned, etc.   She says she doesn’t, but I always wondered.  Then one day she said, “I get it now.  Ben didn’t do anything to deserve to be abandoned and neither did Maisey.   I get it.”.

    These things are hard for a child to process.  Jasmine is trying to heal right now.  As her English gets better and her trust grows, she has been sharing more and more. She has a lot of pain and hurt and many years of abuse to contend  with.  But Jasmine’s light bulb moment was when we she was holding Evie.  Jasmine asked me where Evie was abandoned.  I told her and I showed her the picture.  Jasmine said, “Why?  Evie is such a sweet, pretty girl.”  And then you could see Jasmine slowly get it.  Jasmine then said, “Mama, Evie didn’t do anything.”

    evie abandonment

    Which is exactly right.  I remember when they took us to Evie’s finding place.  I wondered why would they put this down as a child’s finding place?  Why would they even take us there?  What must have been going through her parent’s minds?

    There have been a couple recent articles about the people abandoning children in China in the hatches that have been set up outside of orphanages.  There are many heartbreaking pictures of parents dropping off children.  Heartbreaking Goodbyes.

    It’s easy for us a half a world away to stand in judgment of these parents, but we don’t know what it is like in China.  There is no health insurance.  There is a soaring number of birth defects.  Nothing is handicapped accessible there.  The old ways consider birth defects a curse on the family.  I can not possible know why my children were abandoned but I can’t imagine that it happened without pain.

    I know that Ben was abandoned at nine months which leads me to believe that his parents wanted him.   I also know that I have children that were left in places that I don’t understand.  I want to believe they were all loved and cherished and abandoned for medical reasons but I know that isn’t true.  I know it isn’t true because I have a fifteen year old who is sharing her truth with me.  Her heartbreaking, mind boggling, truth.

    I want her to know she can talk to me about anything and that anything she shares will not change how I feel about her.  I want her to know that her life had worth and that those years had meaning.  We are dealing with some pretty heavy things.  Things my heart would rather not hear.  I don’t want to know that she was beaten because she could no longer move her legs the way she was supposed to.  I don’t want to know that at the age of four her father told her he hated her.  I don’t want to know that he drank bad stuff and hurt her often.  I don’t want to know that her paternal grandmother tried to care for her but one day when Jasmine was “just too heavy” she decided to just leave Jasmine at the orphanage.  The list of what I don’t want to know goes on and on.  But even if Jasmine didn’t tell me I would still know.  She has burns and scars that tell a story of their own.

    Jasmine has started to journal about her feelings. She recently shared these words with us…

    “Hello everyone my name is Jasmine.    When I was 8 years old when I was my grandmother fell to the orphanage.  I fell into the orphanage.  I am very, very sad I weep and weep……   I know my grandmother did not want me.  But I really really want my grandmother to go home?  I said why why why do not I have a grandmother.  Later, my grandmother came to see me a few times just would not come.  Then I lived in the orphanage makes me feel very scared very scared very scared:  But then when I was about 14 years old when I’m scared scared scared scared.  Because when I was 14 years old when I could not be adopted.   I vow that I want a family.  I beg you.  But one day someone told me that Americans want to adopt me, then I really so happy so happy so happy!  I said I have a mom and dad.

    I know that the biggest lessons I have learned have come out of my pain.  I know that healing comes with sharing and talking and most of all forgiving.  I know that I can help her because I once was that lost, hurting child.  I have written about forgiveness in a past blog. (How to Forgive)  I believe that one day Jasmine will help others heal.  I believe that by sharing her story other older children might be adopted, which is exactly what she has been praying for.

    I consider it an honor to be able to parent these children.  I consider it an honor and a blessing to be able to help their hearts heal.  I don’t take this lightly and although it is hard and heartbreaking and unbelievably sad at moments, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  I wouldn’t!  It’s the truth.  It is a blessing to bring God into their lives.  It is a blessing to be able share how I healed from my hurt and learned to forgive.  I know what a gift that is.  I know what lies before them….HOPE!

    Hope for healing.  Hope for family.  Hope for an eternity without pain.  What a beautiful blessing it is to be able to share that with them.  Just because something is hard doesn’t me we shouldn’t step up and do it.

    I don’t have more strength than anyone else.

    Truth be told, my strength comes from the Lord.

    I don’t have more faith than anyone else.

    I don’t have more answers than anyone else.

    I don’t have more patience than anyone else.

    But what I do have is perspective.  Perspective for what is important.  Perspective for what truly matters.  Things of this world do not matter.  Cars and houses and vacations and trim bodies and beautiful faces will all fade.  They will all pass away.  The only thing of worth is how we treat others.  How we love.  If we don’t have love, all is in vain.   This song is says it better than I ever could.