“the very pleasures of human life men acquired by difficulties”
Every night, Lev climbs into our bed. 99% of the time, he lays down and goes back to sleep almost immediately. Bust last night he was having a hard time settling back down. He said he was itchy. So after we took care of the itchy arms and feet, I settled him back into bed and then went back to our bed.
Sleep was elusive as it so often has been during the last 5 years of non stop adoption of both Lev and Violet. I had been looking through her court papers and her birth certificate yesterday because I was helping someone with a form I had to fill out. The things on her paperwork leave with so many questions. Like her birth father signing the register. Why even bother? But he did it. And I have a certain amount of respect for that, no matter what choices he mad after that. He acknowledged her. I’m grateful for that.
I also noticed that her birth father’s birthday is on the same day we go back to orphanage to pick Violet up. I have a lot of mixed feeling about that. Will I remember that day that’s it’s his birthday? Do I say something to her about it? In a way it doesn’t matter becuase she won’t realize what I’m talking about.
I guess that as an adoptive parent I’m supposed to feel fiecely protective of my role as Lev and Violets mother. That I should be disgusted by the choices made by birthparents who ultimately place children for adoption and surrender them to the system becuase they either can’t or don’t want to parent. But that’s not how I’ve ever operated. Yes. Violets birthparents made some truly awful choices, but in the end, there’s some evidence they knew they just couldn’t parent. And I can’t really see that being so much different from the rest of us. We all make truly awful choices, and God gave himself for us. His compassion on us compels my compassion for her birthfamily. They are lost. They don’t know the Lord and they left this little person parentless. I hope it wasn’t a callous choice on their part. I think it’s going to stick with them for the rest of their lives, and they’ll always hear in the back of their mind the guilt that haunts them, “I did this thing to that child”. And I feel compassion for them becuase they have to live like that. Hopefully someone will come along and share the gospel with them and free them from addiction and guilt. But they won’t ever know that it all turned out for the better for Violet, and they’ll always wonder what happened to her. I hate the torture of that for them. I really do.
To be honest, I want Lev and Violets adoption experiences to be the same. I want the openness that Lev has for Violet. I like knowing Lev’s birth family because it means when we have questions, we can just ask. One some level, that doesn’t exist for Violet. Her openness will be different. Her little playmates at the orphanage will all be within a days drive from us. She’ll be able to know them, and hopefully continue her relationship with them, becuase in a way, they were her first family along with the nurses who cared so well for her. But I’ll miss not knowing anything about her birth family other than a few names and dates and places.
And that’s what I think about in the dead of night. I think about what brought about the events of the day that Violet was born. And if they wonder about her, and why her birth father bothered to even sign the register if he had no intention of being her father. I’ll probably never know. And in some way, while I already dread the discussion about how Violet came to be in the orphanage, I know that it will also have to be a conversation about her birth parents and that there will be a lot of “I don’t know’s” for all of us. It’s the ugly downside to international adoption.
I have to acknowledge though that I’m thankful for what little information we have about her birth family. We know she has a birth sister, and a birth grandmother. We have dates and places and some names. I made copies of all the documents that came to us and put them in a box for Violet that has letters I write to her, and some other random things I want to give her later in life.
And this is not say that her birth family is more important than us. Becuase they aren’t. We’re her family, the one that God designed for her. Her birth family biologically prepared her for the life that God has for her to lead, and Alex and I get the priviledge of preparing her spiritually and emotionally and physically.
I think one the most important blessings of adoption is the clear view of the gospel it gives us: Lives lost and found. The old off and the new on from first Corinthians. The perseverance of the Lord pursuing his children all the way to the very bitter end and beyond and our year of incompleteness, paperwork, and cranky Ladyjudge. That our lives are hidden in Christ with Jesus. So I think that no matter what our conversation with Violet about her birthfamily and how she came to the orphanage have to be rooted in the gospel. That her identity is less about biology and more about who she is in Jesus and with us. We have to tell her ” we didnt save you. God did. He made it so you were my daughter and I am your mother and he turned all our sadness into joy!” otherwise we’re all rowing down the wrong river.
This was long so I’ll stop here. Adoption is bittersweet. But the Jesus and the Gospel are better. That’s what I want Violet and Lev to hang onto in life. Who they were and how they started are not as important as who they will become.