I remember etching our family plans into a napkin at our two-year anniversarydinner.
We were eating at Rio in Sisters, Oregon and I couldn’t wait to get back to the little cabin we had rented to watch Harry Potter and dream about babies. Weird combo? Probably.
First we would conceive and carry a miracle baby in my actual womb. Then after a bit of time had passed, after we got “the easy one” birthed, we would enter into the adoption world.
I think back to my barely 20-year-old self and think about how naive she was—I still only have about half a clue. The difference is I now know I only have half a clue.
We did know adoption was big and complex, an entire world we couldn’t yet understand or fathom. We were busy building a youth ministry from the ground up, and adopting sounded like it’s own giant adventure in and of itself . . . one we didn’t yet have the capacity for. Adoption seemed so far off, way in our future.
But then the whole conceiving miraculously was taking longer than I thought He’d allow, and we just wanted to be parents.
So we decided to begin that journey, to crack open the pages of adoption and explore what that might look like for our life.
What I didn’t know was how much it would wreck me and rebuild me.
I wasn’t aware adoption would be what was used to tear apart everything I thought I knew, whittle me down to my rawest form, and force me to see the world with much clearer eyes.
Adoption has been an avenue most used to sharpen me, reveal to me, build my faith, and humble me.
My glasses became a little less rose-colored but a heck-of-a lot clearer. My perception began to fill in and become a little fuller, whole. I began to truly acknowledge the tension of both suffering and joy—instead of simply skipping to the happy-go-lucky-God’s-got-me attitude I mustered 24/7.
But I wasn’t prepared for how much adoption would humble me and reveal to me that I actually don’t know much. Who is ever prepared to be undone, to find out they don’t know much at all?
It sort of silenced me in a lot of ways, slowed down my words and my assumptions . . . but also created an urgency and confidence in other ways.
Adoption has made me a better person because it has taught me to slow down enough to genuinely embrace other people’s and culture’s lived experiences. A definition of embrace is to adopt; I began working really hard at mentally adopting other people’s lived experiences, thinking through how it might actually feel to live in someone else’s shoes, and quickly realized I had no room to tell someone how to feel or live or protest or fight for justice.