Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Not the Highlight Reel

My perspective on adoption has evolved since I started my journey.  In the beginning, I was super self-focused.  I was excited to become a mom!  I couldn't wait to adopt a healthy infant, because... it was all about Me and My wants.  What I could handle.  What I wanted.  My dreams.  My longings.  I didn't want messy.  I didn't want special needs.  I wanted picture perfect.  I wanted those beautiful moments.  The Hallmark card.  The perfect story.  My daughter would be named Sofia because that was My girl name.  The name I wanted for My daughter forever.  Me.  Me.  Me.

I spent hours upon hours watching Gotcha Day videos.  I imagined the day some orphanage worker would place a beautiful baby in my arms, the camera would zoom in on my face, tears streaming down my cheeks, everyone filled with joy!  The moment captured forever when we became family and everyone lived happily ever after.  Can you see it?

And then God said, "we'll see about that my child, because I have a different plan."  He let my heart marinate in loss.  While the juices of sorrow soaked in, a funny thing happened.  My heart became tender to the things for which God's heart is tender.  And when it had been saturated enough, He brought the sweetest six-year-old into my life.  I'm so incredibly thankful God didn't give me my way.  

As I've continued on this path, other scales have fallen from my eyes.  Their extraction has been in large part, due to my children.  I look back at videos of my first two adoptions and cringe at things I did.  I was naive.  Even though I had read and researched VOLUMES on trauma and attachment disorders and been through hours of training, I can clearly see my mistakes.  Behaviors I mistook for attachment were clearly survival skills.  Two steps forward, three steps backwards.  We trudge along.

Right around Roopa's family day celebration, snuggled up in bed one night, we were talking about our trip to India.  We talked about the day we met Roopa and our time in India.  It was extremely traumatic for her.  Nervously laughing, Roopa said, "I thought you kidnapped me."  Her remark caught me off guard.  I looked at her and with fear in her eyes but mustering all the courage she had, she timidly asked, 

"Did you kidnap me, Mom?"

My heart shattered into a million little pieces.  Sorrow filled my being as I thought about the weight of that ugly lie she had been carrying in her heart for three years.  How many times had she looked at me and wondered?  How many times had she shoved that deep down within her?  How many times had she denied herself the answer to that question?  How many times did she wrestle with loving me and reconciling her emotions over the fear of the answer to that question?

I told her immediately I understood how it seemed completely logical that I kidnapped her.  Here I was, a total and complete stranger.  I looked nothing like any other woman she had ever seen.  I had blue eyes.  Blonde hair.  Funny looking skin.  I smelled different.  I didn't speak her language.  And I took her from the woman who, for all intents and purposes, was her "mom."  Even though she was a woman who worked at the orphanage, she had taken care of Roopa since the very first day she arrived at the orphanage.   So, in Roopa's mind, I kidnapped her from her mom.  I'm quite certain that many children who are adopted, have very similar emotions.

Thankfully, Roopa witnessed me go through two adoption processes.  I talked to her about all of the paper stacks for Mohini and Dove.  We talked about driving to the state capital for the apostille process.  We talked about how I had to get blood drawn.  We talked about the social worker coming to our house.  We talked trips to the bank, to the post office, to staples to make a zillion copies.  We talked about the fire marshall coming to our house to do the fire inspection.  We talked about all of the hoops I had to jump through to get to the point we are at now in Dove's process.  I told her, I had to do all of that for her!  I did not kidnap her.  I adopted her and it took a very long time.  I'm glad she asked me that question and she let me tell her exactly how she became my daughter.

These are the conversations you don't see in the youtube adoption fairytales.  

In January, I received two short videos of Dove.  I showed them to my neighbor.  The first thing she said was, "She's an old soul."

She's right.  She is.  You can see it in her eyes.  There is a loss.  A deeper understanding.  The other day, I received two more videos of sweet Dove.  We were able to send her a little book of us.  She saw our faces and our names.  As she is looking through this little book, she gets overwhelmed and looks off to the side.  And there it is.  That look.  So much loss.  Her little best friend was with her.  He is being adopted by an European family.  I don't know if he will be gone before we get her or not.  He was also in the videos I received in January.  This is a special relationship for her.  Another major loss.  So much change.  Her entire life is being decided for her.  Everything is changing and she has no say whatsoever.  Can you imagine?  How stressful that would be?  Obviously, a family is ultimately better than living in an orphanage.  But, these precious children already come with such loss and endure so much brokenness.  When I watched those videos I thought, this is a truer reflection of what our kids suffer and a more realistic portrayal of adoption.  

When it's time for us to finally go get our Sweet Dove, we are anticipating some intense grieving.  I'm mentally preparing myself for our trip to be similar to how Roopa grieved.  Roo told me that she's going to sing lullabies to her.  She has a compassionate heart and an understanding I can never know.  I think about my little family and our mosaic and how God has knit us together so perfectly in our brokenness and imperfections.  We pray for Dove every night.  We pray for her tender heart.  We pray that she will let us love her through her transition.  We pray that peace will override fear.  We've been praying this verse for our family and continue to pray it for Dove as her life nears a new dawn.  

"For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun!  Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland."

Isaiah 43:19


  1. Beautifully written post about a heartbreaking reality! Thank you for sharing!

    I am going to adopt (I'm starting the official process this fall) and I truly appreciate that you shared this. Adoption is amazing and adoption is traumatic. As an adult, I couldn't imagine going through what my child is going to go through. Like you said, having a family is better than living in an orphanage. When it's all they've ever known it's such a difficult change and loss for them. In every video I've watched of "Gotcha Days" I can't help but think of how confused and how amazingly BRAVE the children are.

    I look forward to continuing to follow your journey as I begin my own.

  2. This post is so beautiful and so needed! Thank you so much for sharing with us, I love following you and your beautiful family! Praying for you all!

  3. This post is so beautiful and so needed! Thank you so much for sharing with us, I love following you and your beautiful family! Praying for you all!

  4. This post is so beautiful and so needed! Thank you so much for sharing with us, I love following you and your beautiful family! Praying for you all!