This is not normal.
This community I’m surrounded by is not normal. And I mean this in the very best way. Today I feel acutely aware of it in regards to our adoption. I am completely overwhelmed by the amount of care and support we’ve received throughout our entire adoption process, and don’t want to take it for granted. I wish I could give a shout out to every individual who has blessed us in some way, but there are too many. So instead, let me just share some of the ways I’ve been blessed by my not-so-normal community (when I say “community” this primarily consists of my family and my church, but extends to other dear friends, neighbors, and co-workers).
People around me celebrate adoption. Nobody is bothered by the prospect of interracial families. Nobody challenges the legitimacy of a son or daughter who doesn’t share DNA. Nobody questions adoptive parents: “Why would you adopt out of country when their are so many children in the US needing families?” OR “Why would you adopt here when there is so much need internationally?” It’s ALL celebrated. International, private, domestic, adoption through foster care. I’m just surrounded by people who value children of any race and ethnicity and enthusiastically rejoice at their adoption.
People care through the process. I can’t go to a family function, church service, or hang out with friends without at least one person asking how I’m doing and if there’s any news. Then they almost always follow up with encouragement. And I’m not just talking about my closest relationships. Many people, who I don’t even know that well, have been a significant source of encouragement at various points in the process. The wait is long and hard, and I know for many adoptive families, it can be terribly isolating. Yet I don’t feel isolated, I feel carried. Each person who asks, prays, and encourages is carrying a bit of our burden and making it a little easier. I’m so thankful for the blessing and comfort of community.
People gush with me. This might seem like a silly one, but seriously I am just so thankful for how people share in our joy. I show everyone her picture. Literally everyone. Thankfully people are always nice and never look at me strangely when I corner them and shove her photo in their face. Even if they’ve already seen her. Even if I don’t actually know them. “Hi, nice to meet you. I’m adopting! Let me show you her picture… isn’t she beautiful!” has definitely come out of my mouth more than once.
One woman in my church, who always emanates wisdom and encouragement, upon looking at the picture even took the time to point out all the little signs I could be thankful for. Look at her grip, that’s good fine motor development. She has crumbs on her mouth showing she’s able to eat and not just drink a bottle… so her teeth are probably coming in ok. She’s got plump little cheeks so she’s probably getting a decent amount of nutrition. And look how her eyes are focused right on the camera. That’s probably a good sign that she was attentive to whoever took her picture. To some of you, that might not seem like anything amazing. But guys. When you know basically nothing about your child or the care they’re receiving, having someone point out those little encouraging signs is a beautiful gift.
People are generous. I read in an adoption book about a family that was adopting and the soon-t0-be grandmother saying, “I hope you don’t expect any money from me!” Now first I want to clarify, we don’t have any expectations towards anyone. We’ve been planning and saving for a long time, and are so thankful for God’s provision in our life. We are confident that as we continue being faithful, God will supply us with all that we need to bring our daughter home. Yet part of how He has supplied this need is through the people around us. We had friends who unexpectedly gave to us early in the process, right after I’d found out I’d be losing my job. We have nieces emptying their piggy banks to “bring their cousin home.” Our church gave us a generous gift of support. Our family and some close friends have been SO sacrificially generous. The money is a huge practical blessing in itself, the love and support behind it leaves us humbled and amazed.
I know there are many places where these things couldn’t be said. I know there are plenty of adoptive families who have to bravely “break the news” instead of excitedly “share the news” as we did. I know there are families who endure opposition and racism from their relatives and community when they adopt a child of another race. I know there are many who are questioned and challenged about why they would pursue adoption, and don’t receive any emotional, let alone financial support. I am so beyond thankful that none of this has been experience! I don’t deserve to be surrounded by such wonderful people, but I’m so grateful that I am.