Adoption is not natural. There is great beauty but there is also incredible pain. It is the joining of two completely separate lives. One broken fearful child with another broken set of humans trying to very clumsily create this word “family.”
For us it looked like entering a government building on a stifling hot August day in Guangzhou, China pacing back and forth knowing our daughter waited on the other side of the room behind a brightly colored curtain. Our little family of four waiting for a complete stranger to join us to make us a family of five. Our arms flung wide open with joy and anticipation knowing full well we were moving toward something that had the potential to be messy and scary and completely unnatural.
And then we saw her. All of that waiting. All of the prayers. All of the preparation. And in that moment my heart did something completely unnatural. It made a spot for a perfect stranger to come in and take hold.
I thought my heart would literally burst open when I wrapped my arms around her. There she was. This little tiny dark headed girl that we had seen only in pictures.
But in adoption great joy often comes with profound grief and sadness. And her fear was pronounced. I was on top of the world. She was terrified. I was relieved and elated and crying tears of joy. She was uncertain and scared and shedding tears of complete terror.
To me she was my daughter. To her, I was a stranger. Someone who didn’t look like her or sound like her. I was leaning in toward her and she was fighting to get away. My green eyes willing her dark almond eyes to let me love her. It was all very… unnatural.
The adoption papers said she was ours but this idea of family took time. Lots and lots of time. It was a dance. A weaving of sorts.
A steady rhythm of pain and hope. Pain and hope. Pain and hope.
Rejection and hugs.
Fits and kisses.
Defiance and snuggles.
Disobedience and tickles.
Tears and laughter.
Grief and smiles.
Weaving weaving weaving. Days and weeks and months.
A family and a stranger.
East and west.
God slowly, patiently putting it all together. A community of friends and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and neighbors standing right beside us cheering and smiling and seeing something amazing come together. God took something so unnatural and broken like adoption and in His way intricately intertwined us. A grafting. A joining. Something only God can do.
This gorgeous weaving of something separate into something whole. It is hard to tell now where one of us begins and the other ends because in truth we are just that.