There are so many questions we encounter as a mixed-race family, an adoptive family, and an international adoptive family. I am by no means an expert on the subject. I can only speak to what has happened to us. You cannot take our experience, laminate it, and call it "Adoption 101". Every adoption is a journey as unique as a snowflake. Sure, there will be similarities--but we won't be the same. I have found the journey of adoption to be the most grueling and the most rewarding. About the time you think you cannot possibly take one more day of agony, waiting, wondering, and exhaustion--a glimmer of hope flickers, and you find you have it in you to sign one more paper, to make one more phone call, to wait one more day. Our family is a reflection of what David and I are most passionate about. Racial reconciliation, wiping out extreme poverty in Africa, and justice. We made ourselves available, and God led us down the beautiful path of adoption. Make no mistake--our children are not the results of our pity. They are not charity cases that we "saved." They are not "so lucky" to have us. They are our children, pure and simple. Adoption is not a solution to the crisis the children of our world are suffering from. Deep down, I believe the best option for all children is to be raised with their biological parents. I wish our country did a better job of being there for young women faced with the impossible choice of raising a child below the poverty level or relinquishing their baby. I wish our world did a better job of helping families fight extreme poverty so that they could not only keep their children with them, but have a decent meal every day. I wish the church would put aside the anti-abortion rhetoric for one month and use their energy to support the children who are already living and breathing on this planet, desperate to stay with their families. I wish, I wish, I wish...

One of the best pieces of parenting advice I received was from a woman leading an adoption training class back in 1998. She said, "Until your children can speak for themselves, you are their advocate." That is a huge responsibility, but I shoulder it with pride. I speak not only for me, but for Carver, Lily, and Zianbu.


Vali said...

Love this post! Although I'm only an "expectant" adoptive parent, I already feel so much more responsbility to advocate than I did when we started the process. And I already I have a better understanding of the racism that still exists.

I hope to learn a lot from those who have gone before me. Thanks for sharing your experiences!


Deirdre said...

Wonderful post, Cathy.