Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Always Post with Permission

I am fifteen years and change into motherhood.  I have watched the Church go from almost complete ignorance about adoption to embracing it with white knuckles and encouraging everyone who knows Jesus to consider the option.  I have worn the tee-shirts, written the blog posts, and shared the hash-tags because #adoptionrocks and my kids are awesome and you should have awesome kids like these, too.

But all of that has changed in recent years.

My kids are growing up.  They see all of the memes and hashtags and I want to tell you love.

They make some kids uncomfortable.

Why?  Think back to when you were a teen.  Remember wanting to fit in?  Remember wanting to be known and understood?  Remember how much you loved being part of the crowd?  Well, for some kids the constant reminder of their beginnings makes them feel like a project, a mission, singled out, different.  They resist the labels the world tries to paste on them and the questions from their friends weigh them down.

They pretend they don't know me sometimes because they don't want to hear "is THAT your mom?" one. more. time.

Adoption is a wonderful thing.  I am passionate about it.  It is how God built my family.  The way each of my children came to me is filled with miracles and moments that only God could have orchestrated.  My heart is fully theirs, rejoicing when they rejoice, proud of every accomplishment, heartbroken over every tear.  My desire to protect them is fierce, as is my realization that sometimes this world is beating them up and the only power I have with which to fight is prayer.

And pray, I do.

So many well-meaning parents are plastering their kids all over Facebook this month as the reason you should adopt, but I want you to understand something.  My kids and their kids are NOT the reason to adopt.  Adoption is a calling of God.  If you are not called, you have no business adopting.  It is not a movement, a club, or a mission.  It is baring your heart and letting it be rubbed raw.  It is walking out hard stories, tearful questions, and loving even when you are rejected by the child you fought so hard to bring home.  It is recognizing the miracle of attachment and always, always wondering if "this is normal behavior or adoption-related."  It is pursuing a child who doesn't always know they need to be pursued and answering gut-wrenching questions that you wish had easier answers.  It is, in most ways, similar to parenting a biological child but it seems that adoptive parents feel MUCH more freedom to overshare online about their kids who were adopted.

Listen, I was one of those rebellious children.  I was the kid who, for a season, thumbed my nose at my Father and said His rules were stupid. I went my own way until I was broken and realized my need for a Savior.  But my Abba didn't put on a t-shirt and tell all of Heaven "adoption rocks."  He knelt down beside me, scooped me up in His arms and whispered truth through my sorrow into my heart.  He focused His attention on me, on changing me and growing me and making me more like Jesus.

He did not advertise me; that would have been humiliating.  No, He made me his daughter and then taught me how to live in His family.  He forgave me, over and over, every time I forgot I was His daughter and acted like I'd "never had raising."

He still does.

Please, as November progresses and adoption is advertised all over social media, be careful.  Be aware of how some of these things may appear to our kids.  Yes, many kids are not bothered by it.  Great.  But I would venture to say that many (if not most) are.  There are tens of thousands of kids from hard places in the U.S. alone.  Some of their beginnings were filled with sacrificial love.  Some were tragic.  Some of them were pure hell.  Do what God calls you to do when building your family, but please don't advertise it as "the next cool church movement" because very real hearts too often struggle with very real pain and then well-meaning parents are ill-equipped to deal with it.  Again, I speak as one guilty of oversharing.  Our kids will resent being held up as the poster children for adoption if we are not very careful.

Our kids need to be our kids.  Period.  Their stories need to be private, only shared by THEM at THEIR discretion.  Some kids are very open, others avoid talking about their adoptions or lives before adoption like the plague because, for reasons only they may know, sharing these things is deeply painful to them. We, as their God-given parents, must acknowledge this and stop airing their laundry on social media. Whether our children are well-behaved or rebellious, joyous or angry, we have no business putting their stories out there on your Facebook timeline for all the world (including their friends) to read.

Please, friends, if you take nothing else away from what I am saying here...always post with permission.