Josh and I have dipped our toes into the ocean of adoption. We spend most of our time happily gazing at our wet feet, looking at all the little fish swimming around us and thinking these waters really aren’t that deep. We can do this. We can sign our names to a million forms and explain to our social worker why we want children and take a trip to the police station to get fingerprinted. No problem. Bring it on.
But then I’m forced to lift my gaze to the vastness of the ocean we’ve stepped into. 143 million orphans worldwide. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Abuse. Neglect. Heartbreak. There are new places in my heart where pain and ugliness and cruelty reside. Facts in my head that never used to be there. Questions about the justice of God in a world that is far worse than I ever imagined.
I don’t know what to do with this. How will I not sink in these waters? When we were first considering adoption and all was light and newness a friend wrote to me something I will never forget. She told me that adoption is always the result of grief – of things not being the way they’re supposed to be. She was telling me what a precious bond can be formed between children who miss their biological parents and parents who could not have biological children. She was encouraging me, at bottom, to embrace the heartbreak – the “fallenness” of the world – because the Lord can work wonders in the midst of it all.
I don’t know how to be OK with fallenness. I don’t know how to survive in this world of ugliness; hating it, and yet willingly living in it. I think of all the terrible things that happen to children and I want to run far, far away. How will one adoption help?
I am afraid of these things. They bring me to tears. So why is it that I somehow feel such honor and privilege to be entering this world? Why is it that I am glad to be here and that I hope I stay all the rest of my life?