I'll tell you what I see...
I had finished high school a couple months prior. I had just turned 18 a couple weeks prior. I was just weeks away from breaking up with my high school boyfriend. I was to leave for college in a month. That coming fall I would meet my husband-to-be. I had been in Romania for two weeks. I was with a group teaching English at a bible camp for a week. We were about to leave to head back to the states in a day or two. We stopped at this orphanage. I think we were only there for an hour, maybe two.
These kids were so starved for attention. I use that word very deliberately, starved. Have you ever been hungry? Without food for a day? What about years? Can you imagine being without attention, much less love, for years?!
During our adoption class (for those adopting children age 2+) we were asked to do an exercises. I am going to ask you to do the same one. Seriously, I am asking you to answer these questions. You will need to write them down. Please humor me. It really is not the same unless you actually get out a pen.
- Write down 5 people in your life that you care most about.
- Write down your 3 favorite memories.
- Write down 3 traditions you look forward to. (ex: picking out the Christmas tree)
Ok, you are about to be adopted, taken to a strange country by strange people. They say they love you but you don't even know them. You are about to leave behind everything you have ever known.
- Cross off #2 and 3 of your people you care about.
- Cross off #3 of your memories.
- Cross off #1 of your traditions.
- Now go back and cross of #5 of your people you care about.
- And cross off one more from your memories or traditions.
Kinda hurts doesn't it? And this is just an exercises...
Ok, now you are one of the ones that never gets adopted.
- Cross off every line on your list. One at a time. Line by line. Do it.
Are you crying yet? I am.
When I look at this photo, I wonder where these children are now. I wonder if they ever found a family. Chances are they didn't....
Adoption can't be about a "rescue mission". You can't adopt because you want to "save" them any more than you can get pregnant because you want to have a baby that will give you unconditional love. You can't bring a puppy home from the pound and expect them to be so grateful to have a home that they never poop again. And a man cannot marry a woman who came from a previously abusive relationship and say "well at least I don't hit you" after forgetting their anniversary. In the same way you can't adopt a child and expect it to be easy from there on out because you did a "good deed". You certainly can't expect them to say thank you any more than any other child says thank you for having a home and a bed and food and a mom and a dad and love.
So why adopt? I don't know your answer. It is not the same for everyone. But I can give you my answer. I want to adopt because I believe that my children were born to another woman in another land. I believe they need me. I believe they are waiting for me. I believe they are mine.
I started this post with the intent of sharing a nice little story with you of where our adoption journey began... but I guess I took a tangent. I started this blog in hopes of advocating for adoption... and I still hope that is the result but it is just not a simple thing.
I look at that photo and I think it is funny how one small moment in time can shape so much of your life. I didn't know then what that moment would mean to me but with time it became very clear.