Adoption: The act of transferring parental rights and duties to someone other than the adopted person’s biological parents. (Concise Encyclopedia/Merriam Webster)
I ran across this definition of adoption when doing some research. It seems so simple; too simple. It doesn’t take into account the emotion, waiting, persistence, patience, grief, giving, receiving, love, and joy that travel along the way towards adoption, and it certainly doesn’t describe life held after adoption. It is so much more than just transferring parental rights.
Adoption is hope. It is commitment. It is patience. It is waiting. It is grief. It is joy. It is giving. It is love. It is receiving.
I gave myself away to my children before they were legally mine. I did not wake up the morning of their adoptions and discover new-found love based on transfer of parental rights. I dreamed of them. I yearned for them. I grieved for them. My soul grasped for them. My imagination sculpted them. Truthfully speaking, I loved them before I even met them.
In return, I received so much more than the legal status of being called mom. I have been given the chance to push a little harder to make the world better for them. I have been awarded the opportunity to imprint their lives with love. I have received living, breathing, laughing joy.
I have received those moments of feeling full well the Lord’s penmanship of my life. I see the Lord in my children’s eyes. I feel Him in their embrace. I hear Him in their wonder of the world. I still remember being that girl who didn’t know when or if I would ever be healed from the pain of barrenness. I still think about her and who she used to be. I still grieve at times for what she went through and for the pain she carried through the years. But then….I look at my children, feel His presence, and know full well that I am healed.
Adoption deserves so much more than a legalistic definition. It is defined by the path that one walks – whether birth parent, adoptive parent, or adopted child. It is shaped by the loss along the way. It is refined by the waiting. It is colored by the emotion and highlighted by the joy. It is enhanced from the giving, and humbled by the receiving. It is love in action, hope in process, and life lived in the full awareness of Him.
Yes…adoption is so much more.