So this past week, the world found itself taking note of a unique holiday. This holiday was not in remembrance of the fallen, the brave warriors of the past, some great festival or battle or even a remarkable time in history which stands as a line in the sand where we see a massive contrast between the before and after pictures. This was a day, which seeks to raise awareness for something happening now and something we will be challenged by, probably until the end of time. The day seeks to raise awareness for adoption, it’s need, it’s challenges, it’s tragic past and hopefully beautiful future where the pain of a history is redeemed and given tomorrows healing.
Hank Fortener, the architect behind #WORLDADOPTIONDAY had this to say about the origins this holiday:
“You don’t come to adoption because everything is going smoothly, you come to adoption because a birth mother is not able to give, through various circumstances, the best care that this child needs and/deserves. So adoption starts with the separation of a child and their mother. This is tragic! Adoption seeks to redeem this brokenness, to bring joy, hope and healing.”
I have found myself lately, visiting the pages and groups and other social media platforms, focussed around adoption, adoptees and adoptive parents with a little less enthusiasm than I have in the past.
Adoptive parent fragility, adoptive parent guilt, #flipthescript and other headings have been the reason I have not wanted to visit these platforms as much. I have noted adoptive parents banding together, playing down the stories and experiences of adoptees. I have also seen some adoptees essentially watering down adoptive parents experiences and sometimes making it seem that their different perspective is of lesser value.
In these verbal tennis matches where neither group wins, I seldom see the birth mom’s perspective come into play. Let’s not forget there are three groups in the triad and all three have different experiences, have suffered loss to some extent, are often extremely sensitive (rightfully so you could argue). But there is a huge amount of pain that all three groups would need to find healing from and I can’t help but wonder, why do they seek it on a platform as tainted as social media. Each exposing their vulnerability, sometimes experiencing pain in the process from others and then sharing some of what they have received. I feel as if sometimes the fighting has taken the limelight from those that still need fighting for.
So then we have this #WORLDADOPTIONDAY and I see comments about should we acknowledge it, should we embrace it, or should we shun it as placing orphans on a pedestal and shining a light on them, when they may not want to be part of the experience?
My take, you need to decide for yourself, be comforted and propelled by your convictions, not imposing them on others. Especially in this space as experiences may differ so immensely from person to person depending on what side of the triad you lie.
For me, it is as Hank Fortener says, there is no celebration in the circumstances that gave rise to the need. Tragedy gave rise to the need for adoption and no amount of spin doctoring will change that. Somewhere and at sometime, a mom gave her child away and a child lost his/her mom. I don’t care what side of the fence you occupy, that scenario breeds pain, brokenness and loss. But for me, adoption seeks to take that pain, to take that brokenness and loss and with adoptive love declare in the words of Steve Backlund “I May not be responsible for this pain or this hurt, but I will take responsibility for the healing that needs to happen”
Will I celebrate a day where we raise awareness of the needs of those who don’t find themselves in a whole loving forever family and does that mean all those families produce happy well adjusted whole people? Yes and Of course not! Families can be difficult, challenging and confusing at the best of times, now add in the complexities of people from hard places, I believe you find a situation, that without the healing power of adoptive love and the presence of God to bring hope and restoration, you will have people who remain hurt, remain full of pain and questions, and who continue to function as broken people.
But this is not what I celebrate! I celebrate my son, my daughters, how I get to be a part of God’s redeeming love in taking a situation full of hurt and pain, and hopefully, through years of love, attention, tears and healing moments, I experience a wholeness appearing and a transformed person being able to walk, albeit with scares, but no longer limping.
So, do I celebrate the need to have a day where we raise awareness for adoption because there are so many orphans? Absolutely Not! But will I celebrate #WORLDADOPTIONDAY? Absolutely!