"THIS ONE MATTERS".
I have been trying to write this post for two days now, but I honestly just can't find the words. I want to be completely honest, beg unashamedly, and write the beginning of a "happily ever after" story all in one blog post. I don't know how to do this eloquently, so you will have to look past my words and hopefully get a glimpse of my heart.
I do not in any way, shape, or form consider myself an expert on adoption. Adoption is a lot like "regular" (snicker) parenting in that you keep waiting for the day you feel like you've got it all together. Every morning you hope it will be the day you have "arrived" and every night you pray that tomorrow will be that day because today, well...it wasn't. We have only successfully adopted once and an older, international child adoption at that. Every adoption is different and there are specific nuances to each situation, so I always feel very awkward making any attempt to proclaim any broad statements about adoption. There are no succinct, accurate Cliff Notes for this stuff. I can't tell you what adoption might be like for you. Some days I can't even expound well about what adoption is like for me. Our family is just like any other family. Except we're not. We deal with all the normal things other families deal with, except for those things that we deal with other families don't even think about. Adoption is no big deal to us, except when it is.
How's that for clarity?
I struggle with blogging about our own day to day adoption experiences for a couple of reasons. One, much of the story is not mine to tell. Years before adoption was on my radar, I heard an adoptive mom answer an acquaintance's inquiry about their child's birth family by saying, "That's really his story to tell. We will let him decide what he feels comfortable sharing when he gets older." It was gentle, kind, and brilliant. I try to remember that on here. Alina's story is hers. Her story is also now ours, but there are aspects of her life (past, present, and future dreams) that are hers alone to share. Some of the things I wish I could talk more openly about on the blog just can't be done because I don't want to tell her story. Two, I never want to discourage anyone from adopting. Adoption creates families, and families are just plain good stuff. But there is pain and struggle and unique challenges with adoption (I'm specifically aware of those with older child international adoptions, but I think I can generally say all adoptions have challenges in some form or other), and sometimes it is h-a-r-d. If someone feels called to adopt, I don't want to cause them to fear or doubt. Three, the counter to number two is that I don't want to be the sunshine and unicorn blogger who wants everyone to have their fairy tale ending via adoption. I have read more adoption blogs than you can shake a stick at and a few of them left me thinking I must be doing something wrong or I am not spiritual enough, because on occasion I collapse into bed feeling like the most ill-equipped parent in the universe. I don't ever want to pretend my life isn't real. My life is good. It is very, very good. But it is also very, very real. And it is hard to walk that line without either sounding pessimistic or Pollyanna. I don't know how to do it well.
One of the downsides of our older child adoption is that now I cannot pretend I do not know. I know there are children out there who don't have a mom or dad, who stand little chance of being adopted by many because they are "too old", who don't know what it is to be able to relax and grow and learn surrounded by grace and encouragement (and the occasional emotional eating binge). And these are whole, real, three dimensional people - just like my daughter who is joy and light to us - who have dreams, hopes, likes, dislikes (math...), bad habits, favorite foods, and deep hurts. They are not statistics or faceless numbers anymore. Once you know, you can't unknow. And for me, that is one of the hardest parts about having adopted. I know.
Of course, I also know that Mark and I cannot adopt them all. Mark and I love and parent the three we have and pray often that God will help us make wise decisions about our family size as we go. I doubt we will ever be the family that adopts 15 kids (there are not enough Oreos in all of middle TN, my friends), but we do pray that we will keep our hearts open as God leads. Adopting again for us isn't a decision we could make flippantly or lightly. I honestly don't know if we will or not. It is scary to me - both the prospect of someday adopting again and the prospect of our family being complete.
All of this emotional blog vomit is due to one post from a Facebook friend about one boy. One boy who caused me to lose sleep much like I did with this sweet young man. It is almost embarrassing to admit, but I have cried so many tears over these last few days about this new fellow. Now before you go thinking it, there is not a child I hear of that doesn't go breaking my heart just a little so I don't presume that this means that Mark and I are meant to be his family. I don't think that Mark and I are the answer to every child's need - heck, most days my own children would wholeheartedly agree with that statement (and then some!). But there is just something about this boy, Max. I literally physically ache to see him find his family. I don't know why out of all the children who are available for adoption, this one has so broken my heart, but he has. And I can't pretend I don't know. All the talk I've done in this blog post boils down to the simple fact that I want this boy to find his family.
So here is a much better written blog post about this young man by my friend who has met him personally. Several other folks I know via an adoption Facebook page have also met and spent time with him, and they are all consistent in their praise and concern for him. They are praying and crying and hoping he finds his family soon, too. If you know anyone who is considering adoption or even better - is paper ready to adopt from Ukraine - maybe you could pass on his information. Can you join me in praying for him? He has broken my heart and I am so ready to rejoice that he has found his family. Because this one - this Max - he really, really matters.