The Words That Feel Like a Punch in the Gut
Adoption is part of our story, but it does not define our day-to-day lives. It’s been almost five years since we brought home our baby boy through the miracle of adoption. So, when we were driving in the car having a silly conversation, the last thing I expected was for my son to say “Mommy, I really want to be adopted again.”
Kids say the darndest things, right? But in this particular situation, his words hit me like a ton of bricks. I may have even gasped a little. Immediately, the following questions ran through my mind: Why would you want to be adopted again? What is wrong with our family? Are you unhappy? Have we done something wrong? Are we good parents? The questions felt like a firestorm.
Our family of five is made up of two biological children and one adopted child. Each child is different and unique in their own right, regardless of heredity. Each has their own quirks and challenges and obstacles. When one of our biological children says something out of left-field like, “No one in this house likes me,” (yep, that really happened). I have the ability to shrug it off and chalk it up to a child testing boundaries. Easy Peasy. But, when our adopted child says, “Mommy, I really want to be adopted again” it felt as though someone had taken the rug right out from underneath me. I began to question, doubt and panic.
What am I questioning and doubting? I’m doubting God’s plan for our family, plain and simple. I’m doubting all of the ways that God showed up in the details beginning with our call to adopt all the way to the present. God intentionally chose this boy for our family and our family for this boy. It wasn’t an accident or happenstance. It was all part of God’s plan for growing our family. I knew that. I prayed for that. But in the moment, that moment where our sweet boy said he wanted to be adopted again, what I knew to be true disappeared in an instant. Those affirmations of God’s presence in the knitting together of our family seemed fleeting. Instead, I focused on all of the What-Ifs. I began to think of all the ways I could be a better parent and all the ways I’ve felt as though I failed at parenting. Literally, I had to stop those thoughts dead in their tracks. Those thoughts had the ability to steal my joy and question God’s plan; a road I didn’t want to continue further.
Instead, I popped up that roadblock in my mind, took a breath, and asked this question: “Buddy, why do you want to be adopted again?” Without any hesitation, he said, “Because I want to eat another giant donut.” After all that worry and doubt, this child of ours wanted “to be adopted again” because he enjoyed the celebration. What celebration, you ask? The celebration of his adoption day when we invited all our family and friends to witness our family’s court hearing and then had a party, which included a giant donut all to himself. I exhaled. Then, I laughed.
I mean, what almost-five-year-old kid DOESN’T want a giant donut all to themselves? In fact, most adults I know would want the same! I’m positive this isn’t the last time I’ll feel squashed by the weight of his words, but I may exhale a little sooner next time before the doubt creeps in.
Adoption is hard. There’s no question about it. It stretches me in ways I never knew I could stretch (and I do yoga!). But, the good far outweighs the tough. I have no doubt that we will continue to navigate conversations and questions, but holding onto truth is what will get us through those difficult times.
What are your truths? I have mine. Think about them. Maybe even write them down. What are the things you know, without a shadow of a doubt, that you can remind yourself of in those times when your adopted child says something that hits you right in the gut? The following verse guides me when doubts arise. Perhaps it can do the same for you.
“Beloved, God chose you from the beginning”. II Thessalonians 2:13