Thursday, June 14, 2012

my keynote address for the Central Region Families Supporting Adoption Conference in Denver

i love these types of events! i love being a part of this community! a community of individuals who have been or hope to be a part of the miracle. we represent all angles of the triad; adoptive parents, adoptive hopefuls, birth families, prospective birth parents, likely a few of you have been adopted, and then we have our adoption professionals who WE adopt into OUR elite and privileged club. lucky them. some of the finest people in my association and some of my best friends are people i’ve found in this work.

when i placed for adoption, there was no community, or if there was, i had no knowledge of or access to it.

i was honored but surprised to have been asked to do this. i was beginning to think i was becoming obsolete as the stories you will have will look very different than mine.

in these 16 yrs since I placed, the face of adoption has been beautified and come out of obscurity but that was a ball that had started rolling even years earlier, first very gradually and with much resistance and then in my opinion, very rapidly, particularly if you consider that for generations and generations, adoption had been done in the same way. there were always exceptions but the rule was that adoption was an institution of shame, mystery, misconception, and secrecy.
many of the women who placed in those days did so not because of a conviction that it was right for them or their child but as a result of social, religious, or family pressure, as a way to conceal the unwed pregnancy as the stigma was far greater then. these women would have little peace in their choice as it had not truly been theirs.
birthparents had no representation, no voice, no face. they were mysterious even to themselves as they were encouraged to practice denial and shroud the most defining experience of their lives.
they would begin each day with the burden to carry alone of a secret and a broken heart and a thousand nagging unanswered questions as to the whereabouts and well being of their offspring.
often having never said hello, never said goodbye. the child they carried had no face, no name, and in many cases not even a gender.
the assumption on the receiving end, where there was a total absence of a true story, was often that the child was abandoned, unwanted, and unloved by whatever creature could be so heartless. often, the parents were encouraged to conceal the tragic truth so as to protect the child from the knowledge that they were..... (adopted). this had an incalculable detrimental affect on many adopted children. when at age 8, 18, or 80 they discover the true beginning of their own story, they would feel confused, betrayed, and ashamed. the people they’d trusted most in the world had withheld from them information about their very identity.  who they were was a skeleton in the closet, something to hide, not to be spoken of. it must be an awful shame.
or if they had known, perhaps it was whispered about, spoken of like a disease or a handicap.
The mind tends to fixate on the mysterious or the forbidden. to many adopted children with no actual birthparent representation, she became a fantasy or a villain, as needed. she is sometimes the favorite scapegoat or the reason for all their problems. or perhaps she would be pegged into the catch-all stereotype of the knocked up 15 yr old who’s surely now living in squalor or died of an overdose.
In my observation, it is very difficult for adopted children to not identify themselves to some degree by their impression of their birthmom so as you can imagine, this would be less than awesome for ones self esteem.
Or conversely she would be the favorable alternative to the adolescent mind’s perceived oppression. “if i were with her, SHE’d understand me!”. i attended an adult adoptee panel where a woman expressed that as a child, she was convinced that Whitney Houston was her birthmom..... she was white.
For adoptive parents, there was most often a total lack of preparation, no counseling or education-”just pretend it’s ‘normal’. you’ll figure it out”. insecurities and grief related to infertility were not addressed and did not disappear automatically with the placement of a child. many went into adoption hoping to overcompensate for or cover up their “problem”. “now we can be normal”. but adoption isn’t normal, it’s unusual, it’s different. it’s wonderful, but it’s not normal. any effort to make it so invites a culture of denial which transfers to a child who feels like plan B. it can be awesome without being normal. sometimes i secretly wonder if it's not better than normal and some studies would suggest that it is.
they often could not embrace and celebrate adoption if they had not had the opportunity to grieve and bury their plan A, often carrying the feeling that their non-biological family was somehow second rate. these parents would likely not be prepared to have a birthparent in their circle, even if she were made available. they might feel threatened by, in competition with, or resentful  of her.
And they were subject to drawing the same conclusions about this entity, this figment, this birthmom who almost existed in a different realm if at all.

boy.... that was a downer. i do not mean to say that adoptions done in these less enlightened times were not often replete with miracles as well, because i personally know of many that were.
BUT! rejoice! for we are the beneficiaries of evolution! a trail has been blazed by those who sensed something was not quite right in the established way. adoptees who could not have access even to their own medical history. adoptive parents who came to realize more resources were necessary to do their best, and birthparents who FINALLY removed the scarlet letter and broke the silence. as well as professionals who saw the ethical flaws in their practices. we owe these pioneers our recognition and gratitude and our continued efforts toward progress in these matters.
adopted children now know they have a larger than usual support system, they have extras. they know that they came FROM love TO love. adoption is one of the things that makes them special, not 2nd class. they can talk about it openly and have their questions answered. they are allowed to love and be loved by she who put her heart on the altar in exchange for the life the child COULD have.
i know many birthparents and adoptive parents who have found a dear friend, even a sister through their open adoption. THEIR support systems are expanded! as Lindsey Redfern, who some of you may know as the dynamic Mrs R, has said of her sons’ birth families “THEY have adopted US! we’ve adopted each other!”.
furthermore, there is so much counsel and information available to the preparing adoptive parent. i’ve seen many a mind set on closed adoption become a changed heart at their first birthparent panel, or their first meeting with a prospective birthparent. these women cease to be an inaccurate stereotype and become humanized. i’ve seen many an adoptive father particularly, once opposed to “sharing” become the biggest cheerleader of a birthmom who’s association is felt an enhancement to their family or social circle. they no longer fear or judge, they have her her back.  
birthparents have a forum and an audience to tell the stories that so need telling.
they have mentor birthmoms further on the path who they can see have survived and even thrived post placement, who can pass on their lists of  “wish i woulda’s and wish i wouldn’ta”s.
we, as birthparents, receive even greater confirmation and peace to our hearts as we see with our own eyes the fruits of our sacrifice. i’ve seen those who placed in the dark ages of adoption trapped in a stagnant grief held just below the surface, and i’ve seen birthmothers of today have their aches so tempered by their joys. it’s always bittersweet but i’ve observed that the bitter to sweet ratio is directly proportional to the degree of openness.
it is indeed a great time to be a part of this community.

growing up LDS in the bible belt, if ever i happened upon another mormon, it was so exciting, instant rapport, like we were cousins or something. that’s how i feel anytime i make a new adoption association!
to give an example, i was at the baby shower of a friend and saw a clearly white woman with a clearly asian baby. of course i struck up a conversation and asked all of the right questions and discovered she had 2 LDSFS and 2 internationally adopted children, i then revealed myself as a birthmom. this brand new acquaintance grabbed me somewhat forcefully into her arms and told me through her tears “i don’t have contact with any of my childrens’ birthmoms, let me hug on you for a minute” to which i replied “i have no contact with my son’s mom, let me hug you back!”.
we have in common an experience that is uncommon. our mothers and our sisters and our friends can empathize and rejoice for us but i never feel i can find the words to adequately convey. but when i talk to another birthmom or adoptive parent, there is an understanding.
our experiences parallel in so many ways after all. as birthparents and as adoptive parents we know loss, worry, sacrifice, being misunderstood, and letting go of our plan A. we also know compensation, an increase in capacity to love, answered prayers, and gratitude. we both know the sacred privilege it is to be a parent as for some of us it was had and lost and for some it was not easily come by.
we need eachother! for women like myself who want their child to have the world but don’t have it to give, for those who pray for children but can’t conceive, and for children born into less than ideal situations, adoption is, as Isaiah says, “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness”.
Troy Dunn, calls it prayer trading. Adoptive hopefuls pray for family, birth parents pray for the best life for their child, and through eachother the Lord answers their prayers. the beginning of both paths are troubled, a crisis pregnancy/infertility, but in hindsight we may ALL call ourselves blessed and we thank God for his wisdom and even our tribulation.

i believe in the power of sacrifice AND the principle of compensation and i believe it applies to all of us. Joseph Wirthlin, in his talk “come what may and love it” says “The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude.” to that i say AMEN!
the sentiment is echoed in Matthew 19 29 says “And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.”  (hudredfold joke; that’s alotta babies!)

when i made my choice, i knew that adoption would mean that Justin wins, he would have a wonderful family with 2 parents who had the stability, experience, maturity, and preparation he would need. i knew that his parents would win, they would receive this precious, perfect child they’d prayed for. but i believed i would be the loser in adoption, even a victim of it. but that was a deal i was prepared to strike. i fully anticipated being pretty broken from that point but it didn’t matter, if Justin wins, i win.   
but i have happily found that i was very wrong. i’ve had part in the sweet as well as the bitter! i was TRANSFORMED in this experience! MY life as well as Justin’s BEGAN with this experience! i believe he was theirs before he was mine but that he came to them through me because nothing short of maternal love and responsibility would’ve shaken me awake. i found healing! the changes i made for my Justin would benefit me for the rest of my life! there was a miraculous degree of deliverance! from the confusion and pain and resentment of having grown up in abuse as well as from many of the effects of my own foolishness. Joel 2:25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten
my God is so kind and so concerned for me that he sent me a most precious little missionary.  the few months i spent carryin around my favorite little parasite, for me, were the most significant of my life. those were my deciding months. those were the months i spent dying and being born again. my heart being broken and then made whole. this was the time of my conversion. those 9 months changed the course of my life more drastically than anything else has. i learned more in those months than i had in all the years that preceded them. i began to see truth and light where my view had been dark and distorted. i began to be me. i remember walking by the mirror in the upstairs bathroom and literally doing a double take. i saw a new countenance and i had pleasure in my reflection for the first time.
through adoption and through my son i learned love. the moment i laid my eyes on him for the first time, i felt my heart grow in my chest! i’d thought i’d known what love was, love meant i like being around them, i miss them when they are gone, i get something from the association, they’re nice to me. but this was so different in purpose and proportion. i’d have cut off my right arm for him! i’d step infront of a bus for him! i knew that i would do anything for him, anything. and i realized i’d never REALLY known love before that moment.
in placing a child with a couple who could not give eachother children i did for them what they could not do for themselves and in turn the Savior has done for me what i could not do for myself. He has said “whosoever will lose his life shall find it". the Lord has always remembered my sacrifice, and he has comforted and taught and carried and preserved me.

now this doesn’t mean i was spared from any and all hardship, not at all.
the adoption path is blessed and beautiful and miraculous, but it is also hard! and painful! but even this is part of the gift.
the night before Justin’s 14th birthday, i laid in bed remembering. something i’d done many times before but something different started to happen in my heart. i’m often emotional when i think or speak of the experience but it’s generally gratitude and sweetness that evoke my tears but this night they wouldn’t stop comin and it felt...different. it’d been years since it had...hurt really. probably like 6 or so. I’d always say “it doesn’t hurt anymore. I’m not sad anymore.” So I sat arguing with my heart that this emotion must be something other than pain. til finally i had to surrender, It hurt. it felt like a fresh wound again. i found myself holding my stomach like i used to do, feeling the empty space like he’d just been there. But there’s a beauty in this kind of pain. There HAS been healing, My pain has faded and settled into its proper place and proportion but I think I’d been wrong. I think now that perhaps it never goes away all together. and That’s ok. My burdens have been made light enough to bear and even laying grieving in my bed that night, as it was 14 years before, the bitter is tempered with a compensatory sweet. there is peace in it and gratitude is the overarching emotion.
pain makes up many of the strokes in my beautiful picture. James Gritter, Author of The Spirit of Open Adoption (if you haven’t read it, write that down) says “I would not give you a nickel for joy this side of pain, but I believe the joy on the other side of pain is a priceless blessing. To get to the genuine joy of adoption, we have to pay our dues.”

Wirthlin also talks about the power of humor in the hard times. i think some have been surprised and maybe even offended by my levity at times. when i disclose to people for the first time, they often get very heavy and honestly, kind of uncomfortable. that’s when i like to say “yep, i got knocked up”, or when i tell folx he’s 16 i like to say “yeah, i was 11 when i had him” so as not to disclose the well kept secret of my age. i have a dear friend who in their year end letter to all of their friends and family would always include some uncomfortably personal, yet hilarious commentary of their fertility treatments and/or efforts....if you know what i mean. i can’t share the details here but see me after if you wanna know. ha!

i want to borrow again from Joseph worthlin. he also speaks to the importance of patience and perspective in the hard parts; “Learning to endure times of disappointment, suffering, and sorrow is part of our on-the-job training. These experiences, while often difficult to bear at the time, are precisely the kinds of experiences that stretch our understanding, build our character, and increase our compassion for others.
Because Jesus Christ suffered greatly, He understands our suffering. He understands our grief. We experience hard things so that we too may have increased compassion and understanding for others.”
i know a birthmom who has been the shoulder to cry on for her child’s adoptive mom who still just wishes she could feel life growing inside her.
i know many adoptive parents who haven’t turned away in the face of the loss that bore their gain. they have followed the admonition of Christ as they’ve mourned with her as she’s mourned, they have lifted her hands that hang down, they have felt her burden with her. and their joy is not diminished but the fuller for it. they know the price paid for it. and they can share their joy with her. and the witness they can offer their child can be invaluable. an adoptive father shared a story with me; he was showing off their second child they’d just been placed with. a friend, looking at this cute little bundle said “she just didn’t want him huh? how could anyone not want him?” to which my friends impassioned reply was “you weren’t there. you didn’t see the anguish in her face, you didn’t hear the gut wrenching sobs”. if his child ever wonders if he’s precious, his parents have this account as one more evidence that he is.

the day i met Justin’s parents, i became aware of a silver lining. yes, i was losing a child and yes, that was very sad, but here were these 2 incredible deserving people, with whom i was immediately in love, who had waited and wondered and prayed and cried and finally, they would have what they’d dreamed. i was SO excited for them that for a moment, i forgot my own loss. i wanted to see pictures of their bliss! i wanted to see them all enjoying eachother! a portion of all of their happiness was mine!
and likewise adoptive families can not only watch and celebrate, but be a part of their birthmoms success! i’ve seen adoptive parents be such a tremendous force for good in the lives of their child’s birthparents. for some birthparents, it will be a first opportunity to be a part of a unit that functions.

and we can all do that for eachother (talk about adoption community in Mesa;totally integrated). i was allowed 5 short yrs of limited correspondence and in that time i’m afraid i might have said some pretty insensitive things. i had no understanding of so many of the dynamics of their journey and their feelings until i began to meet other adoptive parents through my volunteering.

there is SO MUCH NEED for our efforts in this work. i can say for myself, that EVERYTHING i thought i knew about adoption initially, was wrong. and i know alot of you have also had some pretty powerful misconceptions before someone shared their story with you. (yeah? who of you had some notions you are now a little embarrassed of? huh? huh?)
we encounter the unenlightened everyday, don’t we? people who will inadvertently say the most offensive things to us about adoption. i have to remind myself to cut them some slack because i once was ATLEAST as ignorant.
right out of the gate, i thought you only place for adoption if you “have to”, if there was no other possible way. only if you would absolutely be the worst of parents, and that didn’t apply to me. i thought that if i placed for adoption my son would feel abandoned and hate me. and that i would be evading responsibility. that adoptive parents might not be able to love him as much as i could
and i was difficult to educate as many of us are. these misguided attitudes, if not corrected, would have prevented me from making the best choice.
i’ve encountered many who have expressed regret saying- if they’d only known, if they’d only had accurate information- that they would have chosen differently.
one of my friend’s mothers confided in me that she wished she had done for her daughter what i’d done for my son. but she didn’t know. nobody told her.
i’ve had 2 girls after having had abortions express to me after hearing my story that they wished they’d heard it before they made their choice.
this is why i never miss a chance to educate, grocery store line, whatever, cuz you never know the need or the impact it could have.
our stories are powerful testimonies. people started calling me an advocate and i’m goin -all i’m doin is tellin my story. it’s not even hard, it’s like my favorite story.
i knew a girl who’d become pregnant as result of a rape. she didn’t want to select a family. she didn’t want to see the child. she wanted no information about or contact with the adoptive family. her caseworker twisted her arm to attend group just once. she bolted immediately after but came back to ask for my discretion as i worked at the school she attended. it is not common for me to ask a stranger for a ride and my home was easily within walking distance, but for whatever reason, i did ask. we sat in my driveway just shy of 3 hrs and i told her the miraculous blessings that had come to me and Justin’s family. her expression changed, her heart softened. she said “it hadn’t occurred to me that there was any joy to be had in this”. she now enjoys such a sweet relationship with her beautiful daughter’s family.
i worked for an amazing wilderness therapy program in AZ called the Anasazi Foundation for a few yrs. in that time, i believe i only shared my adoption story 4 times. from each of those there was a girl who would later become pregnant. 2 of them placed for adoption and the 2 who did not could atleast have the peace of having made a more informed decision, having had more information. one of the girls who placed told me that immediately her mind took her back to that night around the fire and she remembered how her heart felt.
i’ve been tracked down by a girl who reported that, had i not come to her HS and told my story, she’d have never set foot in an agency 2 yrs later when she found herself pregnant.
there's a video on youtube in which i share some of my thoughts and experiences with adoption. there are comments below relating how that video had been instrumental in the choice they made.
there was a couple back home who were hoping to adopt. the wife was open to open adoption but the husband would say “why do i hafta share? will they be my children or won’t they? i don’t want some girl lookin over my shoulder, monitoring my parenting. etc”. his clever wife invited me over for family night to tell my story. fast forward a yr or so and he’s askin me “how can we hear more from our birthmom, we want to know how she is, did we do something wrong?!”
i was asked by my bishop to speak about adoption in sacrament mtg. 3 weeks later i sat by a woman i’d never seen before in Relief Society. the girl teaching the lesson mentioned my adoption talk. immediately after RS the woman turned to me and asked if i was the girl who’d spoken on adoption 3 weeks previous. she was visiting her sister who was in my congregation. her parents had been visiting the Sunday i spoke. she gratefully told me “i’m an adoptive mother. my folks have never really understood the legitimacy of adoption and particularly not open adoption. you taught them more in 10 minutes than i’ve been able to in 10 yrs. thank you.” for them, it was only the story, told first hand, from the perspective of a birthmother that would change their heart.
my mother’s had opportunity to share her experience with those who’s children are in crisis pregnancy. she can give them a heads up about the attitudes and approaches that worked, and those she regrets.
the stories of both birthparents post-placement and those adoptive parents who’ve already been placed with are SO helpful to those who are considering placing and those hoping to adopt.
ok, i’m tootin my own horn a bit with these stories but they illustrate the tremendous impact we can have on others. and honestly, these experiences are so gratifying!  
"it’s by small and simple means that great things are brought to pass."
i know it can be really daunting to expose ourselves sometimes.
people WILL judge a birthmom. though in my mind my adoption story has NOTHING to do with sin, that’s the first place alot of minds will go. neither bringing a child into the world nor placing a child for adoption are transgressions, on the contrary, it is the holiest thing i’ve ever been a part of . i have no shame attached to this story, it is about what i did right, not what i did wrong, that part is gone from me. but some will try to pick up something ugly and stick it to me.
as adoptive parents your journey through infertility really is nobody's business, except that for all you know, the person you’re talking to may’ve just received the diagnosis.
these stories are our pearls and yes, if we give people access, some of them will not understand and some will say hurtful things, i used to get angry or hurt, now, i get on my soap box. it’s teachin time!
my "coming out of the closet" was a gradual process. i remember 3 months out, i moved west and thought “ok, i’ll leave that behind me, nobody here needs to know”. well first of all I needed the telling! this is something you HAVE to talk about but also, again, people needed me, they needed my story. so for a few yrs i would talk about it in group or even to rooms full of strangers but many of my friends didn’t know. i was never ashamed but i did fear judgement and being misunderstood. though i’d been VERY active in advocacy, speaking, writing, whatever, it was actually not until i did some more high profile things that i was like “well, here goes, i’m goin public”. i stopped skirting it in conversation, i posted stuff on my fb, and now, to be honest....sometimes i steer the conversation in that direction. it was interesting to find, as is so often the case, that what we feared is actually not even that scary once we face it, especially when you think of what can be gained. i’ve experienced more reactions of compassion and admiration than those of misunderstanding and meanness (though there have been those as well)
i say, wear your adoption t-shirts, sport those bumper stickers, answer frankly in the grocery store line when asked where your baby gets that hair from.
we are under-represented and misrepresented in the media, all we got is Juno and 16 and pregnant, we have alot of work to do.
we can change someones mind even in our tone. i don’t whisper shame-facedly “yeah, um, i placed a baby for adoption”. i show people from the beginning of the conversation that i am blessed by my choice and that i don’t regret it.
i’m well versed in the stats and studies, i  practically have prepared statements in response to some of the most common misconceptions should they come up. (only after years of being over emotional and fumbling over my words of course)
i became an adoption advocate before i’d ever even heard the term. i’d just been blessed in biblical proportion and i was like “cool! thanx! that was awesome!” and for a couple yrs people would, through the most random means, cross my path and they’d have some perspective or insight or comfort to give me and i was like “wow, that’s so nice!”. but then...another sorta folx started gettin put in my path, folx who I could support, whose burdens I was equipped to share, who needed MY story. it became apparent to me that my having been blessed so much came with a responsibility.
“For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” (Luke 12:48- not spiderman like i’d thought)
or as the hymn says “because i have been given much i too must give”.
it may be hard sometimes but hello...we are adoption people...we’re not scareda hard!

i was speaking at a conference once and i was addressing adoptive hopefuls in regard to open adoption, I made the point in regard to the concern that open adoption can be hard, that placing a child for adoption, the very thing that would make adoption possible for them... is also kinda hard. I made the point that I’d learned I was capable of doing very hard things and encouraged them not to be….chickens. then, I sat down and the next presenter came in and talked about foster adoption. As I sat there, in my mind, I could hear my own hypocritical voice saying “wow, people who adopt from foster care are amazing but I could never do that. That would be way ‘too hard’”. I changed my mind. If I’m able to be married, I will be more than open to doing foster or international adoption.
Open adoption CAN be hard. You wanna know why? Cuz it’s a human relationship! Having siblings is hard! Shoot, having neighbors can be hard. Does this mean we eliminate these relationships? of course not. We apply the same principles to an open adoption relationship that we apply to relationships with any human being. Patience, empathy, reasonable boundaries, and above all communication. As in any relationship, an open adoption where there is entitlement, pride, envy, competition, and lack of consideration on either side, will fail. we don’t hit a bump and go “well, we tried open. it doesn’t work for us”.
So, open adoption, it might be hard.
Going through infertility and the adoption process, hard!
Foster/international/or special needs adoption can be even harder.
Placing a child for adoption….HARD!
But what are we in it for? An easy time? No, we are ALL in it for the best interest of the child.
We don’t place babies, as birthmoms, so that WE can have fun and time and money, or to have greater ease in education, employment, and social life. Adoptive parents don’t adopt to fill THEIR need. We don’t do open adoptions JUST cuz we like eachother. These are all happy bi-products but they are not reason enough on their own. We do these hard things because our children need it. And I have found that we are qualified and made equal to the task. Our resources are miraculously expanded and our losses are miraculously made up, our heartaches are abundantly compensated for.
one of my main initial resistances to adoption was  fear of my own weakness. i thought “right or wrong...i can’t, it’s too hard”. i was shown that “the Lord giveth no commandment save he shall prepare a way”. if He brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it. i didn’t have the strength OR the wisdom, but He did. HE sustained me and through him, i did the impossible, i defied my own heart and very instinct.
i gotta give a quick shout out for OPEN ADOPTION
when my cousin was reuniting with her birthmom, my uncle was pretty uncomfortable with it. he said “she’s ours. i don’t want to share her”. i replied “you share her with all of us and there’s no less of her to go around!”. let’s not be greedy!  Love is an unlimited, renewable resource. we are ALL family anyway. Justin wasn't mine, he isn't theirs, and I am not my own. adoptive parents AND birthparents must always recognize that they are merely stewards over one of God’s children. If we esteem every man as a brother and we are our brother's keeper, we are ready for open adoption. but i imagine i’m preachin to the choir here.

i want to tell you briefly and in closing what my son’s adoptive family has been to me and what you have the opportunity to be for YOUR birthparents.

  They are an extension of my family in a way I cannot explain. i have total confidence in them and in my decision. i NEVER worry about him. i wasn’t choosing a family, i was finding the family that God had chosen. the biology that Justin and I share is real and significant, it’s a connection that should not be denied, but it is nothing to the mantle, stewardship, and intuition his parents have. biology does not have to exist for complete and genuine family love to. blood is thicker than water but family is something thicker still.
it was a matter of good, better, best. i would have been good. they were better. i would have been enough. he has the best.
i imagine it this way; before we came here to this mortal/earth experience, God says “Tamra, you’ll have a tough assignment, you’ll go to parents who are sad and confused, your little soul’s gonna get hurt, you’re gonna stumble, you’re gonna get lost. but don’t worry Tamra, your sister Debbie (A-mom) and your Brothers Gale (A-dad) and Justin (our boy) have volunteered for the rescue effort. Debbie and Gale will wait and pray and cry and wonder and they will share their Justin with you. he will come as your missionary on his way home, and though you won’t love yourself enough to get well, you’ll love him enough. and you’ll remember Me, and I will heal you”.
Matthew 18:5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
on this side, it looks like MY gift, MY sacrifice, but when we return i imagine we will see more clearly that it was them who gave to me, their sacrifice. THEY shared him with ME! how can i say my gratitude?!
i figure adoption is the work of eternal families and the work of reclaiming lost and wounded souls. what could be higher on the priority list of The Most High? there are no coincidences in adoption. it sure ain’t random and it certainly wasn’t MY genius that orchestrated it all, i can’t even keep my ROOM in order! God is all up in this business. it’s His business! and He’s good at it!
do not be short-sighted and misunderstand. right now you may be drinking from the bitter cup or carrying your cross but those of us on this side of the tribulation know that we are the lucky ones. so my message today is- fear not, and look forward with hope for the time when inspite of all tears shed, you may with your new and cherished associations call yourselves blessed.