It was a smile I had waited years to see, one I had only dreamt about. Continents away, oceans apart, two boys I had never met, yet our lives were now intertwining. I held them in my arms for the first time. My sons, who for so long I only knew in pictures. A different language and a different way of life, but now becoming one family.
Adoption, a word that changed my life. A word that gave me the great honor and privilege of being a mother. A word that brought strangers together from different parts of the world. A word that comes after loss, heartache, and tragedy. A word that carries with it grief, sadness, joy, hope, and the reality of the unsurpassed love of God.
November is National Adoption Awareness Month. Adoption, something that my husband and I never really thought about, something we never discussed in marriage prep or heard talked about in the Church. Something God put so strongly on our hearts that I cannot imagine our story written any other way.
Adoption, something that seems surrounded by a stigma, a cloud of misconceptions. A stigma that is present in the news, in the movies, in how we talk about it with our children, and how adults talk about it with each other. A stigma that says mothers don’t love their children, they give them up, the children aren’t wanted, or that they are a mistake. A stigma that leads women to choose abortion over adoption. A stigma that needs to be erased and rewritten.
While adoption is certainly a calling and not for every family or couple, it is so often overlooked because of the misconceptions that surround it. Fear of the unknown, breaking the mold of the traditional family, going out of our comfort zone, and wondering if we have enough love for the job.
According to adoption statistics, one out of twenty-five families in the United States with children have a child through adoption. Almost 100 million Americans have adoption in their immediate family, whether it be adopting, placing a child, or having been adopted. It wasn’t until after we brought our sons home that I began to encounter more families in the Church formed through adoption.
It is truly humbling to be entrusted with another mother’s child, it is an honor and incredible privilege, one that I will spend my life striving to live up to. Birthmothers are often the unsung heroes in adoption. They are the ones who loved them first, gazed upon them first, and often made the painful decision to place their child for adoption.
Some of my children were born in my heart and others in my womb but seeing the bond between my five children one would never know the difference. Seeing them together, a family that doesn’t match has different backgrounds and different stories, but above all unified in love. In that is found tremendous beauty, far greater than words can summarize. Beauty that provides a glimpse of the Heavenly Father.
You received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, “Abba, – Father!” The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. -Romans 8:15-16