Figuratively speaking, the floor around me is littered with balled-up wads of paper as I’ve started this slice many more times than once. I don’t think I have the words, and when I think I might have found them I’m afraid they’ll come out wrong. I’m worried about privacy, I’m worried about coming across too maudlin, or I’m worried about how my writing could be misinterpreted, especially by someone who has experienced or is experiencing something similar. This story is just too common throughout our nation, yet hidden at the same time.
So, I’ll dive in.
When you ask soon-to-be parents what they “want” concerning their new baby, some will state a preference: We want a boy or a little brother or a son to carry on the name. Or, we want a girl, a strong little sister, a princess to call our own. It’s not uncommon, though, to hear a third answer: It doesn’t matter, as long as he or she is healthy. No one, it seems, wants or hopes otherwise.
But some do.
I recently traveled north, as I do during most longer school breaks, to visit “my side of the family.” My wife goes many of the times, when work and other commitments allow, but not every time. (Did you know there are people who don’t just get a week or two or ten off at a time?) As we’ve made that trip so many times over the years, we’ve celebrated births and birthdays, deaths, holidays, graduations, and sometimes just the ability to get together for a shared meal on Sunday afternoon. My siblings and I have watched our children grow into their twenties as we’ve grown into our 40s and 50s.
Now, though, as it’s just starting to get more difficult to crawl around on the floor, I have a niece and nephew, both under the age of three. My sister and her wife, it seems, are in the process of adoption. Full stop. Wow.
Those two little kids are nothing short of precious. Their young lives hold the potential of every new birth, and they’ve already grown to bring so much joy to the new family around them. The oldest, a boy, has a mop of blonde hair and an impish look that never ceases to bring a smile to anyone who sees it. The youngest, a girl who’s yet to see her first birthday, wears a grin most of the time and has the odd habit of rolling/scooting instead of crawling. Her chunky little legs cry out to be gently pinched, and her dark brown hair is in a constant state of muss.
They’re kids. They’re a son and a daughter to their new parents, a niece and a nephew to some of us, grandchildren to others, and new cousins to the rest. Adopted into the family (well, almost, as the wheels of the system move slowly).
Choosing to adopt is an act of love and grace. Adoption, in and of itself, is incredible.
“It doesn’t matter, as long as he or she is healthy…”
Adopting children who were born into opioid addiction? That takes things to a whole new level.
Some folks, it seems, want and hope otherwise.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.