“When you adopt, you are walking into someone’s suffering.”—I heard these words spoken a couple of years ago at an adoptive parents gathering, by an adoptive mom of two children from the Congo. For me, these words were a “light bulb” moment—I never had thought about adoption in those terms before. “Suffering”?—yes, suffering.
That’s a pretty heavy statement. But it is so true. All adopted children have endured some level of suffering. That suffering began with the separation from the one whose’ body they inhabited for nine months. That suffering continued for the child who never knew her birthparents; for the child bounced around multiple foster homes; for the child forced to beg on the streets; and for the child abused and neglected by her birthparents. The scenarios are multitude.
A big part of our job as adoptive parents is to walk through the deep valleys of residual suffering with our children. The sleepless nights with endless crying. The over-the-top temper tantrums. The food hoarding. The unanswerable and seemingly endless questions like “Why did my birth mom give me up?”, “Why can’t I go back home?” and “Why can’t my skin be white like yours and Daddy’s?
Dads and moms, if you are currently walking through suffering with your child you may be wondering if you will make it. You may be thinking “This is not what I signed up for.” I don’t have easy answers. I do hope you have a good support system. What I can say is this: What you have “signed up” for is a high calling that is nearest to the heart of God—to parent a vulnerable and hurting child, offering them hope and a way out of what otherwise could be a bleak future at best. Be encouraged. Don’t give up.
Photo on Unsplash by Eye For Ebony