My good friend was sitting in front of me yesterday in church holding her precious little foster son. The bond between these two is apparent and palpable. You would never know she hadn’t given birth to this precious little guy. During the ‘meet and greet’ time she came over to update me on his case. She had gotten word this past week that his case was probably going to TPR (termination of parental rights) and that she was going to let the ‘powers that be’ know that she would like to adopt him if he becomes available. As much a she loves him and deeply desires to make him her son, she also gets it.
Adoption is not a win-win. Someone loses. Someone walks away with empty arms and a child-sized hole in their heart. Even if the fault is their own, they leave the case with a finality and brokenness that is really hard for me to even imagine. My friend asked what I thought about a gift she was going to give her baby’s mother at court. Chills ran up and down my arms as she spoke and an all to familiar ache filled my thoughts.
“I bought her a blue elephant identical to the baby’s. I wrote her a note telling her that he has one too and I’m giving her some pictures of him.”
Perfect, just perfect.
I’ve thought a lot about birth parents over the course of the past 22 years. Being immersed in the foster care and adoption world, you can’t help but think, and pray, and hurt and really just groan for them. Sometimes when I look at my two children, who became my son and daughter through adoption, tears fill my eyes as I realize what they have lost, what their birth families have lost. And questions flood my mind…do their parents wonder about them, do they miss them, do they think about them every day? Those questions will likely never be answered, but rest assured my children will understand the value of their birth families, tempered with the truth wrapped in love and compassion and grace. Because no matter how horrific, how frustrating, how unfathomable a case is or how little we understand, agree with or even like birth families….in adoption there is loss. We need to first realize that, then respond in ways that build life and hope and joy into our children and the families that gave them life.