Adoption is beautiful.
When a family chooses to love a child who grew in their hearts instead of their bellies — to BE the raw and real hands and feet of Jesus, to embrace hard things, to take on new challenges and to learn to love in ways that a child who may or may not have a broken past can receive, clinging to the strength of God because they know they don’t have the wisdom or strength or patience to do it alone — THAT is beautiful.
That is inspiring.
That is the heart of God.
And it paints the most beautiful picture of the Gospel. Of a Father who gave everything to adopt US as His children.
Not when we had it altogether.
Not when we were the picture-perfect models of joy and obedience.
Not when we were cute and little and innocent and adorable.
But when we were just one hot mess in need of a Savior.
Adoption presents this BEAUTIFUL picture of the way our Father God chooses to passionately love US.
But despite the BEAUTY, at the heart of every adoption story is BROKENNESS.
Heart-wrenching choices and complicated decisions.
Loss that I will truly never fully understand but that I grieve over every time Superman conquers a new challenge. Hits a new milestone. Celebrates another birthday. Does something the beautiful woman who carried him and loved him and delivered him will never be able to see.
Loss that I would give my life to restore to this boy I love so much.
It’s easy as an adoptive parent to allow myself to believe that I’m a savior. That I am the one who gets to swoop in and save the day. Save a child. Save a life.
And it’s true that we as adoptive parents get the privilege of helping to change the orphan story.
But it’s not because we’re good.
It’s not because we’re heroic.
It’s not because we’re anybody’s saviors.
My child has a Savior, and his name is not Michelle.
It’s only because that Savior, in all His grace, allowed US to play a small part in this boy’s story.
I get the honor of entering the picture not because I’m good, but because I simply said I would GO. Because I asked my God to break my heart for what breaks His, and He showed our family a child who HAD a mother. Who HAD someone who loved him. And whose mother, because of circumstances and culture and laws in her country, chose for one reason or another to place him on a hospital floor where she hoped someone could find him and give him the life I’m sure she wanted for him.
I was not a better choice than the mother God gave to my child. I was the SECOND choice.
But in the brokenness of what this precious woman faced, she made the best decision I’m sure she knew how, and instead of leaving her sweet boy in a trash can or under a tree or on a front porch or in so many of the other places where our friends’ children have been found, she left him on a hospital floor. In a place where he would surely be cared for. In a place where he could receive the life-saving surgery he needed immediately.
As an adoptive parent, I can decide that Superman’s mother abandoned him because she didn’t love him. Because she didn’t care for him. Because she didn’t value his life. And I can write that narrative in my head all day long so that I can justify my new role in his life. So that I can feel like I’ve really done something “good.”
But as a biological mother of children myself, I know that’s not true.
Superman’s biological mother valued his life so much that she put hers at great risk to leave him in a place where she was sure he would receive care.
She valued his life so much that she chose to carry him for nine months, despite very ready access to abortions in a country that sees more than 13 million per year.
She valued him so much that because of her circumstances, her family, her finances or her access to healthcare, or maybe to protect him from what a traditional family might think about his outward deformities, she chose to gingerly wrap him in a blanket and place him outside a door to surgery. And I can only imagine that she has clung for five years to the picture of those perfect black-brown eyes I get to the honor of gazing into every morning.
This loss — for my son, for his biological mother, for our family who will never get to meet the woman who gave us the greatest gift of all — it’s real. It’s hard. And in our adoption culture, it’s often overlooked.
Because it means we have to stop and acknowledge the fact that these BEAUTIFUL STORIES come FIRST from BROKENNESS.
And brokenness is not SAVED. It’s REDEEMED.
God comes straight to the heart of these broken stories — straight to the heart of these pain-stricken birth parents, straight to the heart of the children who feel lost in the confusion of their parents’ life-changing decisions. And there, He sends HIS SON to heal and comfort and restore the broken people who live in a broken world and are in need of a life-giving Savior.
And then He gives adoptive families the opportunity to be part of not the SALVATION story but the REDEMPTION story.
To play a part in the REWRITTEN STORY. To help change the ending. To be His hands and feet as He exchanges beauty for ashes and restores the years the moths have stolen.
To stand by in awe as God REDEEMS a broken story … and somehow uses more imperfect, broken people to do it.
We CAN change the orphan story. And we WILL.
But NOT because we’re good. Not because we’re saviors. Not because we have anything amazing to offer.
We can change the orphan story only because we know the One who is. Who is. And who does.
And in OUR brokenness and our children’s brokenness and the brokenness of the millions of orphans around the world just waiting for their new story to begin, the God who specializes in making all things new can use US to heal. Restore. Redeem. Rewrite.
In our own imperfect, broken states, we just have to be willing to give Him the pen.