November is Adoption Awareness Month and this is my offering, as controversial as it may be. This post contains the truths I’ve learned in seven plus decades of being an adopted person. I’ve used this art for many years, but I’d like to think that my updated version is still applicable to those touched by adoption.
Back in the day, I envisioned adoption like the beautiful art you see above, created by my niece, Emily Eldridge. That was my faith’s interpretation, based on truths from the Bible, such as “God knows every day of my life before any one of them come to be.” (Psalm 139:16) and “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered (Luke 12:9).
I strongly believe that adoption, both physical and spiritual, are God’s idea, yet at the same time they are different entities that must be worked through by parents and adoptees if the child’s healing is to occur.
When parents liken physical adoption to spiritual adoption, it is extremely upsetting for adoptees, like running our long nails over a blackboard. Spiritual adoption is when a person chooses to place their faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Physical adoption is when a parent or parents make the decision to take a child into their home that is basically homeless and needing love and safety.
All would agree that identity is huge for adoptees. After all, we’ve got two sets of parents–first and adoptive. Some of our parents might not accept the fact that they are one of two sets, but the truth is that we indeed do, and it’s very confusing.
For me, I still like to envision how God sees adoption, realizing that in our broken world, His original plan is totally crushed by our waywardness.
The following article is what I believe about adoption. It came straight from my heart years ago. You don’t have to agree, or even read, but here it is…
Long, long ago, in eternity past, God created a beautiful braid and named it “Adoption.” The braid would showcase his grace in forming families. The braid wasn’t his second thought or Plan B. It was His idea before I ever drew a breath on planet earth.
Ribbons That Make My Beautiful Braid
There are three colored ribbons that comprise my beautiful braid. To the trained eye, they’re not a Walmart special, but instead, shining, gleaming, and lustrous.
The green cord represents my late first parents, whom I have full history on now because of Ancestry.com. The green reminds me how they chose life in the womb and after the womb. For some reason, their biology became my birth, since there are no mistake lives. No matter how wounded or lacking they were, their genetic make-up blended to make me.
The second cord is purple and represents my adoptive parents. Deep purple stands for royalty, distinction, eminence, greatness and nobility. They dreamed of adopting a child when infertility slammed the door on their shame-filled faces. Dad always said, “You were so tiny that I could hold you in the palm of one hand.” He told me that til his dying day. They would have done anything for me, yet in the midst of their home, I experienced neglect from mom and abuse from dad.
The red cord is symbolic of me as an adoptee–a unique weaving together of nature and nurture into one marvelous human being, with unlimited potential. When God created me, he may have said, “I will take a little bit of this DNA and personality from the first parents and this type of nurturing and love from the adoptive parents to make my child.”
Around the three ribbons is a thicker cord, woven within, around, up and down. The gold represents God Almighty. Good Father. Shepherd who leaves the 99 to find the one lost lamb.
When we blame God for the pain involved in adoption, its misplaced blame. He doesn’t hurt us. We hurt because of our brokenness.
For healing to occur, we must accept that God is sovereign–that He works everything together for good for those who love Him.” (Romans 8:28) We must also believe that He’s good Himself, as the popular praise song says, “You’re a good, good Father….yes, you are, yes you are.”
BROKEN, TORN, FRAYED, OR CUT RIBBONS
The metaphor above is what I believe physical adoption was created by God to be. Healthy parents, both first and adoptive. Parents who always put the needs of the child first.
The reality is, however, that some mothers don’t deserve to be called mother and some dads don’t deserve to be called dad. From a human perspective, they wouldn’t be chosen to parent a vulnerable child, yet they were. Such was the case in both paternal and maternal sides of my family. My first mother was raped.
I’ve struggled with saying anything negative about parents because of my faith, but a wise counselor taught me that honoring my parents means telling the truth about them. What freedom that has brought.
The adoptee’s beautiful red ribbon declaring the awesomeness of who we are has been cut up by broken parents who have to give in to foster care for their beloved child. Our ribbon is sometimes thrown away by adoptive parents who send their vulnerable child away on a plane never to be seen again. And, our ribbons are frayed when the only belongings we have are a garbage bag filled with necessities for the tenth foster placement. And, our ribbon is stained by our tears that we can’t stop crying because we carry a deeper-than-death wound.
May I ask you….
- What is the condition of your ribbon?
- Is your ribbon frayed, or shiny?
- What is the condition of the other ribbons in your braid?
- How close are the other ribbons to you?
- Is there openness and honesty with both sets of parent, the green and purple ribbons?
- What choice can you may to enhance truth telling and authenticity?
So, this is where I’m at this year of 2019 while considering it the Beautiful Braid of Adoption metaphor is still applicable.
Where are you? Are you:
- Ticked off?
- Turned off?
Whatever your reaction, I invite you to leave your thoughts at the end of this post. If you’re experiencing negative thoughts because you don’t agree with me, I encourage you to sift out the gold and throw the rest away.