I remember it as if it happened yesterday. After our adoption of our daughter in 2010, family and friends gathered a local Starbucks to celebrate. It was obvious that we were a happy bunch by the joy and laughter going on.
The barista behind the counter asked, “Are you celebrating something?” I said, “Yes. We just adopted our second child.” He then said, “That’s great. Are you going to have children of your own, too?”
Hit the brakes. Inner Mama Bear rising up (Ladies, you know what I’m talking about). Deep breath. Tender smile.
Pause…bless his twenty-something, hipster little heart…
I responded with, “Our children are our own.” “Oh,” he said. “Well, congratulations.”
I always try to give people the benefit of the doubt when it comes to questions about foster care, adoption, and infertility. I really do. I’ve heard some doozies over the course of my lifetime of barrenness; ones that just ripped right into my heart. Yet, I try my best to respond in a manner that is both respectful and educational. After all, if we (foster/adoptive parents) want respect, we need to show it. Plus, knowledge really is a powerful tool in helping to expand someone’s worldview.
Children who enter our lives, often through the tragedy of brokenness, are not replacements or an after-thought. These precious souls are each born with their unique talents, challenges, and personalities. Their histories are sometimes scarred but their futures are limitless. The tapestries of their lives are weaved with love, loss and that incredibly soul-inspiring notion that there is always hope.
Adoption is beautiful and heart-breaking. It is humbling and faith-building. It is joy and laughter and tears all wrapped up in one. It is a whole lot of things but it will never be second-best. It is the path to parenthood that many families facing infertility choose to walk down. It is a choice. It is not easy and can be wrought with many unknowns. Yet, each step is padded with the firm belief that adoption is a distinguished road not for the faint-of-heart but for the faithful one.
When following the command to care for orphans and the least-of-these, we should also look in the mirror and know that we, too, were orphans. The Lord said, “I chose you”. Not only are we chosen, we are cherished and known to our Father in Heaven. I believe that Jesus had you and me on His mind when He carried that burdensome cross up the hill towards our salvation. If I thought for one minute that adoption is second-best, I fear the glory and humbling essence of belonging to our Heavenly Father would be trivialized.
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. -Galatians 4:4-5
Each child in need of adoption is a treasure to the Lord; worth more than gold or the greatest riches on Earth. To Him, they are not second-best. When I look into the eyes of my children, I do not see a secondary option. No. I see a longing fulfilled, redemption and the scripting of life without the borders that humans like to establish. I see children who are worth it.
Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. -Luke 12:7
Is adoption second best to having a biological child? I don’t think so. Instead, I believe that adoption is a predestination lovingly anointed with the mystery and power of the Lord. When I hear people comment about adoption being less than giving birth to a child or just a fallback plan, I cringe. Friends, these thoughts are the whispers of the enemy trying to sabotage what our Father holds so dear. The Enemy wants to destroy families. He wants to bind children. He wants to remind us of our own loss. He wants to complicate the calling on our lives to care for orphans.
However, the voice of the Lord is stronger and more powerful. He calls us upon the seas. He asks us to tread where others fear to go. He seeks the willing. He equips the courageous. He does this in the name of love. If we believe in this, then how can we ever accept adoption as second best?
To the hipster dude at Starbucks, it’s okay. I’ve long forgiven you for questioning whether I would have my “own” children. Just know that my children – the ones who the Lord declared and prepared for my life – are mine. They are not second-best. They never have been. They never will be.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. -Psalm 139:13-16
Note: This was written as a guest post featured on the blog, Mess Into a Message Blog and can be viewed there along with other thought-provoking posts by the author of “Mess Into a Message”.