Recently I heard someone tell about an adoption of a special needs child from another country. He explained some of the parents’ arduous and expensive, heartfelt process, and then said, “Imagine the joy…” as he described how the child must have felt about being adopted. The little boy would be loved unconditionally and taken care of his whole life. He would experience privileges in this country that he would never have had a chance for in his home country.
Though I completely understood his point, all I could think about was the child, who probably was not initially overjoyed with the transition. The kid couldn’t have known the joy his new parents were experiencing when they arrived at the place to pick up their chosen son. He couldn’t have known about the years of paperwork, preparation, and financial strain, or the longing that fueled the family’s commitment to welcome him into their home.
He probably didn’t even know he was in need of parents, or that unconditional love is a thing.
My guess is that he was far from joyful when he was removed from all he knew, when he was thrust into the arms of people who would take him to a world beyond his comprehension. He would have had no way to visualize the potential joy that awaited him in his new life, the pleasure, the blessing, the fierce love of a mother, the protection of a father.
I know that transitions are part of life; but even with my experience, age, and resources, I still fear the unknown. I buck change.
Children don’t know change is necessary and unavoidable. They don’t know when there is no reason to fear.
Dear friends of mine adopted an 18-month old child several years ago. On their first meeting, they were greeted with tears, some punching, mistrust, and outright rejection. Their long-awaited, fought-for daughter knew nothing of their love and the expanding, vibrant future that awaited her. All she knew was that she was being torn away from her people and her home.
Adoption, even in its most perfect scenario, is not how things should be. Adoption is only a thing because loss is a thing.
Adoption is necessary because of brokenness.
There is no restoration without destruction.
And so it goes.
I resist and cling to what I know because I’m afraid and distrustful. He knows He’s offering me a future full of abundant grace and goodness, but I don’t see what He sees.
God freely offers me unconditional love and acceptance, rejuvenation and life for my brittle, dry soul. I spit at Him, ridicule the idea of Him, doubt He’s capable. My deepest fears are manifested in all sorts of self-preservation tactics.
He holds on with no intention of ever letting go. His grasp is tight and firm as He graciously leads me to my future, which is unimaginable to my childish eyes and heart. All I comprehend is the pain in front of me and the certainty that I know better than God.
Thankfully, He knows more than I do and gently tolerates my tantrums. He waits. He holds on. He knows the restoration rising from the ashes will be so beautiful that His love and deep longing will have been worth it.
photo from Katie Chase