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Adoption is for me, as I’ve felt the nudge, made the call, navigated the process. Adoption is for me as I redecorate, order curtains and choose furniture. Adoption is for me as I cock my head to one side, screw up my face, and try to work out just how crazy life will be when we adopt. Adoption is for me as I make plans, write lists, add dates to my diary.
Adoption is for my family, as we explore what that means, prepare to expand and get ready to welcome our new members. Adoption is for my kids as they ask questions, make cute remarks, draw pictures, and watch the DVD of their new siblings.
Adoption is for our parents, as they research what it is to be related by adoption, as they get their heads round loving an adopted grandchild like their birth grandchildren. Adoption is for our parents as they initially hold back from the cuddles, the kisses, the care-giving that comes so naturally, yet which is the domain of us parents alone for the first few tentative months.
Adoption is for our siblings, as they read and learn, as they ask questions, as they explain it all to their children. Adoption is for our siblings who never chose to have an adopted niece or nephew, instead having it flung upon them, but who have been excited and interested throughout. Adoption is for our niece and nephews, as they come to terms with having adopted cousins.
Adoption is for our friends, who are organising to make us meals, look after our birth children and help with our housework when we adopt. Adoption is for our friends who are contributing financially towards the costs of welcoming more children into our family. Adoption is for our friends who listen, who learn about the process, who remember key events coming up in our adoption journey, who are learning the language of explaining adoption to their young children, as they prepare to welcome adopted friends into their lives.
Adoption is for the foster carers, who love and nurture and care and then give away. Adoption is for the foster carers who lose a piece of their heart each time they move a child on to an adopted family – but do it so that that child can have every advantage in life.
Adoption is for the social workers, who make difficult decisions, who put the child first, who cope with endless paperwork and bureaucracy, working long hours with little thanks, so that a child can be raised in a loving, stable home.
Adoption is for my children’s school and preschool, who are enthusiastic about the growth of our family, who are interested to know how they can best support us, who give support and stability to our birth children when they’re away from us, and who will one day give this same support and stability to our adopted children.
Adoption is for our church family, who are allowing their vicar a generous amount of paternity leave and flexible working, with people filling gaps on the rota and stepping up their commitment so that we can both focus on our family. Adoption is for our church family, who welcome troubled souls into their community on a regular basis, and who will welcome adopted children, with all their baggage and difficulties.
Adoption is for you, as you read this and remember those you know who have adopted or are in the process of adopting. Adoption is for you, as you write them an encouraging note, drop a meal round, offer to babysit, take them for a coffee or pint, understand the issues their children have as a result of their past, accept that ‘normal’ behaviour strategies might not work with children who have been so badly damaged.
Adoption is for you as you read this, perhaps feeling the same nudge to adopt as we did four years ago – a still, small voice from God which says “I set the lonely in families, I lead the prisoners with singing” (Psalm 68:6).
Adoption is for everyone. We do not all adopt – but we are all called to play our part in adoption. Adoption is for everyone.