So often we talk about the beauty in adoption. And I often use the hashtag #adoptionisbeautiful. I believe God’s heart and the message of the Gospel is on display in adoption. I’m also convinced adoption is an incredible and brave choice that both a birth and adoptive family can step into when they believe it’s the best option available for a child. But too often, we ONLY talk about the beauty in adoption and completely miss the other side of the story. And it’s an important one.
Adoption always begins with brokenness. If things were as they should be, all parents would be able to raise their children. Families would always stay together and fathers would always be actively engaged. In a perfect world people wouldn’t struggle with addiction, there wouldn’t be interpersonal violence, and parents would always have the financial and emotional resources they need. Every pregnancy would be planned and every addition to the family eagerly anticipated.
Often the brokenness isn’t just experienced by the birth family. I work with adoptive families who have lived through their own brokenness. Infertility, miscarriage, child loss….many families step into adoption because of their own loss. They want to grow their family but have been heartbreakingly unable to do so biologically. Stories of childhood cancer, secondary infertility, attempt after attempt at fertility treatments, miscarriage, and the death of a child are all results of a fallen world and brokenness for hopeful adoptive families as well.
How do we step into the brokenness of adoption with the hope of the Gospel, knowing God has the power to redeem and restore? Surely it’s no easy task, but there are practical ways we can acknowledge the bittersweet of adoption.
We can tell the truth about adoption, sharing the good and the hard. We can work to ensure we don’t gloss over the beauty that can be found in adoption and make less of the grief and loss that’s involved. We can make space for adoptees (children and adults alike) to share the love they have for their adoptive and birth families and the complex emotions they uniquely wrestle with. We can ensure birth families are honored, cared for, and have resources for the long haul. And we can advocate for change; calling for ethics in adoption, holistic care for expectant and birth families, and work for biological families to stay together whenever possible. We can hold the celebration and the grief that comes with adoption as equally important and valid. Let’s roll up our sleeves together because hard things, and especially the people involved, are worth it.
The reality is adoption is beautiful. And hard. And amazing. And broken. Like the rest of life, it’s a complex mix of realities. Ultimately brokenness pushes us to a Healer. It gives us hope that one day God will fully restore all things. And until then, it provides a desperate dependance on His ability to guide us through the beautiful brokenness of it all.