If you had asked me ten years ago what I thought my life would look like today, I never would have imagined where I am right now. Some things have remained the same…I am still a teacher, still in love with shoes, still with a nose buried in a book, still fond of painting every room in my house a different color, still attracted to pretty, sparkly things. But the core of my world, the fundamentals of my life, have changed and transformed into something “exceedingly abundantly beyond all that I could ask or think.” The additions of my husband and my daughter have brought out the deepest part of my soul and redefined the very essence of who I am. I have become more aware of myself as a child of God, as a woman, and as a human being. And the roots of this transformation and depth lie in adoption.
To be quite honest, adoption was always on my periphery. I thought it was beautiful and often asked my parents when I was growing up if they would adopt a child to add to our family. As a teacher, I tried to be sensitive to adoption issues and learned some of the complex intricacies about the molding of adoptive families. But that was about it. There was no adoption in my immediate, connected family; I knew of no adoptions in the families of close friends. My only connection to adoption at all was through a few acquaintances and co-workers who had horrifically beautiful and beautifully horrific stories of adoption and court and paperwork and finances. I listened intently as they spoke. I cheered on their families and thought they were “such wonderful people for doing something like that.” I was aware that the Bible spoke of adoption and, in fact, called me an adopted child of God. But I never realized what adoption does to those who grasp it firmly, who wrestle the demons who battle against it, who define themselves by it. I never realized the pain. I never realized the beauty.
Over the past few years as adoption has woven itself into the fabric of my being, I’ve discovered some of the saddest words I hear are “I have always thought about adoption, but…” I look at my husband interact with his family and tangibly feel the love and bond they have. I sit in my daughter’s nursery long after she’s been asleep, listening to the sound of her soft snores and dream giggles. I think about how these relationships and the intense love we share mimic the one I have with my Savior. And I, too, begin the statement, “I always thought about adopting, but…” But now my concluding words must be, have to be, are “I never realized how much it would change my life for the best.”