Now, you know.
Not just know with your eyes when you see pictures online.
Not just know with your heart as you pray.
Not just know with your mind, “Yes, there are orphans”.
You’ve stood in the rooms full of cribs full of babies.
You’ve strained your ears to hear cries that have been silenced.
You’ve seen the few women who have the overwhelming responsibility of caring for many children.
You’ve walked brightly painted hallways that contain only the faint echo of your own footsteps.
You’ve seen one, just one (Oh, God! How can we leave the others!) walk out of an office building and join you in learning what forever means.
You’ve spent sleepless nights wondering what you have done; contemplating how big a change this really is for every one.
You’ve cocooned, fought hard for affection, fought equally hard against indiscriminate affection.
Maybe you have even wondered when you will ever feel normal again.
Now, you know.
You know what it’s like to try to others to understand the scars trauma leaves without sharing too much of the story.
You understand that emotional trauma often outweighs medical needs; physical things can be mended, emotions run deeper and require more patience than you dreamed you had.
You’ve heard the comments about your family looking different from the norm.
You’ve perhaps watched people whisper and point as they stare at your child’s visible differences.
You’ve walked through surgeries and recoveries and spent countless hours reading medical journals while only understanding half of any of it.
You calmly listen to your child as cracks in their façade spread wider and for the first time in months you feel like you’re hearing the person they really are… the person they now feel safe enough to be.
You’ve cheered for the smallest of victories knowing that in your world, the small things are giant.
And you would do it all over again, wouldn’t you?
Knowing changes everything.
Adoption changes everything.
– images by Laura James Photography