Monday, April 29, 2013

bittersweet

Last Friday was bittersweet.

BITTER: I learned about an adorable Congolese 9-month-old baby boy who died of presumed malaria and respiratory problems (both TREATABLE AND PREVENTABLE in many countries). He was waiting with his foster family to go home to his adoptive family after paperwork had cleared. If that doesn't break your heart, I don't know what will.

SWEET: I had the privilege of viewing a video of our friends as they officially met, hugged and loved on their daughter in Ethiopia. I cried, but in a good way.

Adoption is bittersweet, too. After all, it is the result of a broken world. The pasts of the adopted were dysfunctional--including abuse, neglect, starvation, lack of physical touch, lack of attachment, being the result of an unplanned pregnancy, etc. Even if they were living with a great foster family and end up with an amazing adoptive family, children who have been adopted will have scars; and it will take a great deal of effort and prayer to help them overcome their pasts and heal their scars.

I have heard stories of children who fear being touched because they were abused. I have also heard of children who stash food away in their rooms because they never knew if/when they would get to eat again at the orphanage. Even Brody, who we see as a happy, well-adjusted, smart, and active little boy, will have to deal with the fact that his birth mother did not feel able to take care of him. We hope he doesn't take that personally or see it as a defining factor in his life, and we hope he can identify with us in such a way that none of that matters, but we know it will take some reconciling when he truly understands what it means to be adopted. Anyone who is adopted must deal with the past. And sometimes the past is bitter.

But the future for them is sweet.

My weak mind cannot reconcile the death of a sweet child in the Congo, particularly when he had such a promising future through adoption in front of him. To me, everything about his story is bitter. I am praying for his foster parents and his adoptive parents, that they would find comfort in such bitter circumstances. I have only had a small taste of the bitterness they must now have. But I know this well: Adoption is hard. Crazy, unexpected, inexplicable things can happen in the process of an adoption. However, when that baby meets his true forever Abba in heaven, adoption will (at the very least) be sweet to him, too.