Five Little Words
I love words. I love reading books that are so well written that the words take your breath away, and you have to go back and read them again so they’ll settle even deeper in your heart. So it was when I read the following words from Jeff Gammage’s book “China Ghosts”, on what happened when he adopted his daughter and walked into her orphanage for the first time:
“They don’t tell you that the children of the orphanage are all coming home with you. That these kids, with their wan smiles and growling stomachs, are going to follow you across the ocean, move into your house, inhabit your dreams”.
I think Mr. Gammage and I obviously have a lot in common. And I always take comfort in knowing that another person understands that when you adopt YOUR child, there are millions more children going to bed that night in orphanages around the world. In Mr. Gammage’s words:
“They don’t tell you that when summer burns hot and steamy, and you’re picking out a toddler’s matching wardrobe of colorful pants sets and bathing suits, your mind will summon images of children wearing whatever came out of that morning’s laundry—a small boy in a rumpled T-shirt, a thin girl in a washed-out gown, wafting across the concrete carpet of a sun-scorched orphanage. Or that, in winter, as you pull thick blankets up to your child’s chin on a bitter night, you’ll wonder whether the children left behind are warm, as well.”
And yet, it never ceases to amaze me when I meet someone who has adopted overseas who seems to have completely forgotten that their child was not the only one needing a home. There have been far too many occasions when I have asked someone where their daughter was from, only to have the parents say to each other, “can you remember the name of that orphanage where she lived?” or, “Oh gosh….I have no idea, all we cared about was getting her home.” As if none of their child’s beginnings meant anything before they arrived.
November is National Adoption Month, and while I understand completely that not every person touched by adoption has the time to volunteer with support groups or charities, or the funds available to donate to help children who still wait, I do believe there is one thing that every person can find the time to do. I mentioned above that I am a lover of words, and there are five wonderful words that I hope we will all allow ourselves to say out loud at least once in our lives:
“Have you ever considered adoption?”
Absolutely adoption is not for everyone, and absolutely I am not a believer in adopting to “save” a child. Adoption is a lifelong commitment to love and care for a precious human life, and it should never be taken lightly. But I also know that many times I’ve met people who have either closed off their hearts believing they can never have a baby or else who had never even considered adoption because they have biological children. And it wasn’t until they were shown a photo of a child currently waiting for a home or until someone took the time to say those five beautiful words that the initial idea took root, which then grew into a true desire to open their arms to a child needing a home.
So during this month, and into the coming year – if you have been touched by adoption in any way, whether directly or indirectly – I hope you will find it in yourself to step out of your comfort zone and say these five little words at least once to someone you know:
“Have you ever considered adoption?”
My children who came into my life through adoption have brought such blessings that there are no words to adequately describe it. What kind of a person would I be to keep the enormity of those blessings a secret all to myself? I wish everyone could know the wonderful truth that I’ve learned – that family has so little to do with genetics, but everything to do with love. When my son TJ looks me in the eyes and says, “mommy, I was waiting and waiting for you in the orphanage,” I take his face in my hands and say, “Mommy was waiting for YOU my entire life as well.” Please join with me and spread the news that millions of children around the world are in need of permanent, loving homes. Who knows? You might be the answer to someone’s prayers – the one to plant the seed that allows a family to be formed and another wonderful child to come home.
Love Without Boundaries