I do not run marathons. I do not run at all, in fact, although I used to, once upon a time. To train for soccer, I ran high school cross country; my short, muscular legs weighing me down as I trudged through sand and even snow (I lived in Michigan). While I struggled to keep my shoe spikes from snagging on wild strawberry vines, slimmer girls with superhuman lungs whizzed by me on the trail.
But the thing is, I hadn’t signed up for cross country to win medals. Had winning been my aim, I would have despaired at the end of each race. I signed up for cross country simply because I knew good things would come of it.
And for most people who do run marathons, a similar approach is taken. I’ll see friends of mine on Facebook wearing size L running shorts, with paper numbers safety-pinned to their shirts, smiling broadly with their fists in the air – proud as punch to have finished 1,354th or something like that. They wouldn’t be so gleeful had they been attempting to break the tape. They were impressed with themselves for finishing, as darn well they should be.
Adoption: the hardest race many of us will ever run. Sure, there are times when the road is level and there are trees overhead to shade us from the sun. But so often the journey is hilly and life-sucking, and our lungs burn for air. It is in these more difficult moments that we must remember why we adopted. Did we decide to adopt because it sounded like fun? Was it a back-up plan to birthing children? Did we feel pressured to adopt because all the other really cool families are doing it?
I hope you could answer no to all of those questions.
The truth is, we don’t sign our names on the bold black line, while our brand new toddler screams bloody murder on our lap, so that we’ll pop back into Life As Usual and feel totally like that child’s mother, cutting the crusts off bread and vacuuming under the rug. If those were our expectations, we would be undone by disappointment when our child doesn’t eat, doesn’t sleep, doesn’t feel like our own, and the rug doesn’t get vacuumed until three months after Gotcha Day.
Friends, let us not forget why we signed up for this. At some level, at some point in time, each of us realized that this life is not about our comfort, or even our happiness…or even, I propose, about us at all. The reason my husband and I adopted our daughter was because, quite simply, we are a family, and she needed one.
Well shoot, if being a family is the goal, no matter how pieced-together we are/feel at the moment, then I can raise my fists in the air and smile for the camera, because the victory has already been won.
Love this, Kayla, and wholeheartedly agree. ♥
Thanks for putting into words what I attempt to articulate to those who as us “Why?”.
“At some level, at some point in time, each of us realized that this life is not about our comfort, or even our happiness…or even, I propose, about us at all. The reason my husband and I adopted our daughter was because, quite simply, we are a family, and she needed one.”
We are in process for our second adoption, 5th child. We wrote in our Dossier for why: We know that there are children in China who would like to be in a family and we are a family who likes children”, your sentence is closer to my heart.
HOORAH – that is what it is all about – and that’s why when your flight home ends up in Holland – well you can find beauty in windmills and tulips too…
Amen! Really beautifully said, Kayla. And such an essential perspective to keep, ALL the time 🙂
Wow. I needed this today. Thanks for the reminder!
“Well shoot, if being a family is the goal, no matter how pieced-together we are/feel at the moment, then I can raise my fists in the air and smile for the camera, because the victory has already been won.”
Amen and amen.
What a lovely post, Kayla! It reminds us all what adoption is truly about- building a family.
Great post 🙂
Hmmm….I did sign up to adopt, not because I was a saint saving orphaned children in the world, but because I longed to parent more children. It was hardly an unselfish decision. I did want to add more love and joy and happiness to my life and family, and, through adoption, I have! We were parents who wanted more children and we knew that there were many children around the world who needed parents. We hoped that adding children to our family through adoption would be a win-win situation; it certainly has been a huge “win” for us as parents; let’s see what the kids decide about that as they grow up! When it gets down to it, we believed we could love any child unconditionally and adoption seemed like a great fit for our family. I think that adoption is about building/growing families, loving and raising children. Adoptees repeatedly say that they don’t want their adoptive parents to burden them with the perspective of having been “saved”, they want to have been longed for, they want to have been wanted (and not to have been simply a charity project). Sometimes adoption is hard, but, honestly, I think the whole thing is a lot harder on the child than on the parent. Tedious paperwork and long wait times can be stressful, but it pales in comparison to the loss of and grief an adopted child has suffered. There is a lot more to adoption than this but, as the mother of six children, three by birth and three by adoption, I adopted because I’m passionate about children, I love being mother, and I wanted parent more children. I agree that the adoption terrain is hilly but parenting, in general, can be rocky regardless of how the child joined the family. I must say that I do disagree with the life-sucking part. Raising adopted children comes with a unique set of challenges, but nothing that I have ever been a part of in my life has been more beautiful or life-affirming.
Thank you, Wendy, for your honest response. I am very glad to hear that your adoption journey has been so positive for you! Praise the Lord!
And I agree with you completely that all parenting is hilly. Aint that the truth:)
It is wonderful that you know exactly why you became an adoptive mom, and exactly why you didn’t. That is important. From one mother to another, I wish the very best to your family! 🙂
Exactly how my husband & I feel. Also feel God knows the right family for each child. I, too, was adopted. Great mother and extended family. But lived with crushing challenges because of my father. By the grace of God, I met and overcame. I know my life is full and blessed because of all my life’s experien es.
Wow thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I needed this today!