Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Adoption = Loss + Complication + Joy

Then, of course, there's the joy of it all.

When I, as a teenager, prior to marriage, prior to fertility issues, first had the notion that I would someday adopt a boy from Africa, I never knew all of those things we encounter today:  The loss issues; and the complications of it all.  I thought about the joy of it all, the wonder of bringing a child into my life.  And I didn't even know then yet that the boy I dreamed about would bring a sister with him, a daughter for their mother.

The joy is profound.

In the years of our infertility before the miracle of Matthew's birth, and in the many years we journeyed towards adoption, much of my energy and focus was centred around whether or not we would be able to have a family.  When one wants children so desperately, their entrance into one's life is nothing short of miraculous.  Lucky, fortunate, blessed me that I have three children.  Two sons and one daughter.  Ten years ago, I despaired of ever having even one.

Three miracles.

At least that's how it's been for me.  As both a bio and adoptive parent, not a day goes by (even on the hardest days) when I don't remember how much I longed for these children.  The pain of our wait hasn't gone away because they're here now.  I remember the whole decade+ in excruciating detail - it's one of those ongoing life experiences that profoundly changed me, shifted my priorities in life.  I listen to other parents gripe about their children at times and I don't want to be like that (though, admittedly, I fail in this goal at times).  I want to treasure my children and let them know what they mean to me.  Amongst all of the reasons we h/school, this is one of them...because I waited so long for these kids that I don't want us to spend any more time apart.

There is joy.

I usually don't blog while my children are awake.  But today I needed to put these thoughts to paper because the words were in my hand waiting to be written.  And so as I write this, my kids are laughing and bickering and rolling over and on top of each other instead of cleaning up the huge mess they left in the front entrance earlier.  They are singing made-up songs to each other and farting in each other's faces, and ordering each other around in desperate attempts to avoid doing any more clean-up work themselves than is absolutely necessary.  Lizzie has a little pink blanket thrown over the top of her head and Seth is reminding her that this is the blanket we gave her in Ethiopia; then he jumps on her and wrestles her to the ground, Matthew piling on top.  They scream with laughter.

There is joy.

And security.  And, increasingly, well-being of heart and body.

In the midst of the world's injustices that would take children from family to family and from country to country; in our long journey towards family completion; in the multi-layered challenges and complexities involved in adopting children and the extra layers attached to older child adoption; in the often-challenging reality of day-to-day life...


...when I see their faces in the morning, with mercies new every day...

...when I watch their peaceful faces at the end of the day as they lie in their beds...

...I thank God for the gift of my children's lives and for the first parents of Seth and Lizzie...

...and yes...

There is joy!

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