Wednesday Wisdom 4/11/2015

“In adoption, God takes us into his family and fellowship—he establishes us as his children and heirs. Closeness, affection and generosity are at the heart of the relationship. To be right with God the Judge [justification] is a great thing, but to be loved and cared for by God the Father [adoption] is a greater. “

J.I. Packer

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“What Not To Say To Parents Of Adoptive Families”

Another article on using the right adoption language, but written also out of a Christian worldview and perspective on adoption. Well worth the read!

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/what-not-say-parents-adopted-children#eMeDZyBfPkcuySMe.01

“All My Children Are “My Own””

A very good look at both adoption as we know it to be but also our adoption into God’s family by the work of Jesus Christ.

All My Children Are ‘My Own’


OCT 292014
The theological significance of adoption language.

“We prefer not to refer to our children as ‘adopted children’ as we see adoption as having been a one-time event. We just call them our children,” Hagerty said.

“If Mommy gets a baby in her belly, will you send me back?” my daughter asked, with nervous eyes searching the floor, inhaling the shame of those words as if they were her indictment.

It’s often near the surface for this one — not the year she was “chosen” and a mommy and daddy flew all the way across the ocean to look her in the eyes and call her daughter — but the too-many, earlier years that still seem to weigh heavier. These days, she lives buoyant and giddy. Her eyes have found a sparkle, and we see them more than we see those hands that spent nearly a year awkwardly covering them. My little girl laughs. A lot. And this week when I hugged her I could tell her body wanted to melt (not stiffen) in my arms.

But just within her reach is the shame she feels about her life on the other side, when her given last name tied her to no one. One phrase or question or hint of her past and I watch those eyes, which just harnessed a sparkle, go dark.

Adoption saved her and it haunts her, because of its open-ended definition to her. It’s still a question. She, like many of the rest of us, has yet to reconcile the power of this one act.

Children of My Own

I hadn’t even kissed their foreheads or tickled their feet and this stranger’s words about them stung.

“Oh, you’re adopting? Just you wait. Once you have them at home I’m sure you’ll be able to have children of your own.”

A phrase I’ve heard a hundred times, and it never ceases to give my heart pause. Children of your own, words that expose a subconscious understanding of adoption as charitable affection versus primal love. As if these, once-adopted ones, were somehow, not truly mine.

There is a distinction in our language about those children, once adopted, and their biological counterparts that reveals much more about the state of our hearts — the state of myheart — than it does about the children to whom it’s referring.

That simple phrase, often spoken by beautifully intentioned people, reveals the shame under which my daughter sometimes lives. But she’s not alone, she just lives an outward existence that represents the battle each one of us fights in our understanding of him.

It is inherent to human flesh. We are interlopers, or so we think, hanging on to the coattails of another person’s inheritance. Certainly we’re not “one of his own,” we hold deep-down; instead we grasp at something we believe will never really name us. We are simply recipients of his charitable affections, we subconsciously reason.

Our language about physical adoption reveals the gaps in our understanding about how he has adopted us. And those words that sting when I hear them make me hurt more than just for my children, but for the representation of his name.

Most can’t imagine a love beyond what we see in the natural as the most intense form of love — the kind birthed when a mother’s body breaks open to give life to one that shared her flesh and her breath. How could it be that a mother could not only love, but see as her own, a child that her womb did not form and who wears another mama’s skin? We see the struggle of attaching, mother to child and child to mother, that so often happens in adoption, and it only reinforces our subconscious belief that true love between mother and child is only inherited through blood … and not won.

Adoption Changes Everything

When my daughter’s eyes fill with the shame of her history and her heart begins to clamp behind them and adoption is still her question — am I truly “in” or just posing? – I see me. I see a hundred weak yeses as just plain weak and all the things I’ve declared with my mouth that my body never fulfilled and the times I poured out prayers to him only to forget him, the real source of my strength, hours later.

I see a never-ending list of failures. I live, subtly, as if I am on the outside of that fence. Just like her. All things that could be wiped away in an instant if I understood the power of his having adopted me. This reality changes everything.

I am a child of his own, this God-Man who wrapped his holiness around my sin-stained existence and renamed me. Adopted. Grafted. I am one who is marked by his name more than any of my failures.

A child who knows that adoption isn’t really about the past that haunts her, the forever stamp of separate, not included, but instead the name of the King who fought, hard for her — she wears a love that is fierce. She’s a force with which to be reckoned, this wildly-loved former-orphan. Me.

So when I hear that phrase “a child of your own” separating the children under my roof from the one born from my womb, and my heart saddens at the misunderstanding of this wild-love that’s been birthed within my home among children who wear another mama’s skin, I can’t help but think of him.

He calls me “his own” when the world and my heart wants to label me forever severed.

Adoption is his great declaration.

Sara Hagerty is a wife to Nate and a mother of five whose arms stretched wide across the ocean to Africa. Sara is the author of Every Bitter Thing is Sweet: Tasting the Goodness of God In All Things and she writes regularly about life-delays, finding God in the unlikely, motherhood, marriage and adoption athttp://EveryBitterThingisSweet.com, where this article originally appeared.

* This article was first posted on Christianity Today.

Moving Beyond Infertility

This short post sums up so much of the emotional complexity when dealing with infertility and making decision to refocus your energy on adoption.

Part of this process is to make peace with the fact that you most probably will never conceive your own biological children. As one sentence in this post says: “You have to mourn the children you will never have in order to heal completely.”  

I was emotionally raw after every round of infertility treatment, and unsure how I will ever be able to come to terms with the fact that I might never conceive, never experience the wonder of having a baby grow in my womb, never look into a child’s face and recognising my own or my husband’s features.

Our journey with the fertility treatments ended not necessarily by our own choice, but we were advised by our specialist that it is probably futile to pursue IVF further. So we were forced to redirect our efforts and focus on adoption.  During this time we read a book “Adopted for Life” by Russell Moore which helped tremendously.

I was  initially worried whether I would have to carry the burden and pain of infertility for the rest of my life, but our Lord was and is faithful! I always tell people that God did a miracle in my heart once we started the adoption process. The moment we decided to move on, I felt as if a dead weight was lifted from my shoulders. I felt free! For the first time in so many years I could see pregnant women and not feel as if I wanted to break down and sob. I could attend friends’s baby showers without feeling resentful and pitying myself. I could start looking at baby clothes in the shops and not despair that I will never experience the joy of buying clothes for my little babies. What a blessing! What a miracle!

Mamma en Siya

It is 5 years now since our last effort to fall pregnant, and my heart is filled with gratefulness and joy! Grateful that I could experience the miracle of adoption. Grateful that I am blessed with two beautiful children. Grateful that I could learn so much from our Heavenly Father about how He adopted us into His family. Grateful that I can be a mommy!  I am filled with joy when I see my husband playing with our kids. I am overwhelmed with joy when my little girl throws her arms around me and tells me: “I love you to bits!!” .

Pappa en Nina

There are definitely still days that I wonder what it would have felt like to experience pregnancy. There are times that I wonder what our biological children would have looked like, or how their personalities would have been. But when these emotions come and linger a little bit longer than I want them to, I choose to rejoice and praise our Lord God and thank Him for this blessing!

Read the post “Are You Done Trying? On mourning, healing and accepting infertility” here.

 

Siya – 9 months old!

Siya 9 months

I cannot believe how time has flown these past 7 months. Siya is now 9 months old already! He continues to be a BIG eater and loves his food. 🙂 Weighing around 11kg – my arms can testify to his healthy appetite! He has
started to explore his world by several interesting moves (everything except crawl!). Sliding and rolling seems to be the most effective at this stage! He also loves to stand up holding onto things and I’m starting worry that he’ll skip the crawling phase altogether…

He’s also starting to babble quite a bit, practising his “mamamamama” and “papapapapapapa“ to our delight!

We’ve settled into a good routine of being a family of 4, and Nina especially has really made it easy. She loves being the older sister, and showers him with kisses and talks with him like a real mommy.

Most days I even forget that Siya’s skin color is different than ours – only to be reminded by the stares from people in public places. Mostly people stare because it’s a strange sight for them I think, not because they don’t approve of it. We have not encountered anyone making a rude comment so far, although I know that day will come and I must be prepared for it. Siya actually sets us up for good conversations with people regarding adoption, the Gospel and the plight of orphans in our country. When people understand or get a better idea of why we did it, they normally react in a positive manner.

Parenting two children doesn’t always come easy for me. (And as I type this I cringe, because I know quite a few families with 3 or more children!) There are days that I want to plug my ears when Siya moans or cries a bit longer than normal. There are days that I long for a quiet afternoon. There are days that I long back to the days where I could get in bed at night and not wonder whether it will be a good or bad night. There are days that I get frustrated when I hear Nina or Siya starting to cough again. Like my dear husband said: “Parenting is relentless”. It never stops. But it brings joy! Seeing a huge smile on his chubby cheeks early morning after a night of not sleeping well. Being hugged and kissed by a 3 year old. Seeing my fairy dance around the house in her ballet outfit. Seeing Siya really try to crawl and move. Seeing how Nina starts to immitate me. Seeing how excited Siya gets for his food. Seeing how he stretches his arms out to us and knowing we are his parents. That is what makes it all worth it!

Siya 9 maande 2

Knowing that our Heavenly Father planned for these two special children to become part of our family, knowing that He will equip me to be the best mommy for them – that gives me comfort and peace when I feel downcast and frustrated.  Through these children – with the joys and frustration they bring, I know that God is building my character, changing me every day (baby steps at a time!) to more closely resemble Christ.

Familie Mei

Wednesday Wisdom 23/04/2014

“That’s why adoptive parents understand God’s passion to adopt us. They know what it means to feel an empty space inside. They know what it means to hunt, to set out on a mission, and take responsibility for a child with a spotted past and a dubious future. If anybody understands God’s ardour for His children, it is someone who has rescued an orphan from despair, for that is what God has done for us. “

Max Lucado

Wednesday Wisdom 26/03/2014

“While it costs us a lot to adopt children, it cost God the blood of His own Son.”

Rick Morton & Tony Merida

  • Taken from the book Orphanology by Rick Morton and Tony Merida