Thursday, March 10, 2011

It's Not Rescue





"She's such a lucky little girl."
"It's so cool that all these little brown babies are coming home to American christian families."
"You guys are saints."
"Better you than me, I guess."
"How great that you are rescuing her."
"She'll have such a better life now."

I hear these things daily.
Many times daily, in fact.
They are well-intentioned.
Not mailicious.
But they pinch something in my heart every time.

I also get:

"Do you know what you're getting yourselves into?"
"Don't you hear all the horror stories about how adopted kids end up?"
"But you already have three sons."
"The paperwork is so daunting."
"The process is so expensive."
"Don't you know they are just trying to get American dollars into that country?"
"What if she's not perfectly healthy?"
"What if it messes up your own kids?"
"Can't you do in vitro?"
"Can't you get a surrogate?"
"Don't you know that children are available here in the U.S.?"
"Don't you know that country has an ugly war-torn past?"
"Won't your extended family be terribly taxed because you'll ask for their help?"

As a rule, I don't answer most of these statements when they are presented for a variety of reasons.
Sometimes I don't know what to say at all.
Sometimes I am a little flabbergasted.
Sometimes, like when people differentiate between my "own kids" and "her" I realize
"They don't get it. Nevermind."
and I move on.
And sometimes it's just no one's business.
We are learning how to navigate these comments.
It's strange to argue compliments from people whose eyes glaze over as they confusedly say:
"That's great. You must be really good christians."
It's not simple to explain why we are doing what we are doing
and that's why that conference I went to in February was wonderful  -
250 women who do life like I do - all together, being weird together.

I'm not going to argue each statement up there but
I will tell you this much:
Yes, we've researched.
Yes, we've read lists of books about:
adoption
the process
parenting
conspicuous families
the trauma for adult adoptees
attachment
our child's birth nation
inter-racial adoption
etc
etc
etc

Yes, we know it's expensive. But God provides. NO question.

Yes, we are thrilled just to have another of "our own" kids.

Yes, it feels like when we were pregnant with each of the boys.

Yes, I see her face and know I'd die for her.
Yes, it's great she's coming home and hopefully she'll have a happy, long, beautiful life.

But that's not the point.
Not even close.
If that were the point we wouldn't probably go to all these lengths. NO ONE would. It's hard work, the adoption process.
Adoption doesn't make your life more comfortable or more easy.
So if our lives are about the pursuit of ease and comfort, it's counter-productive to adopt children.
But our lives are NOT about the pursuit of ease and comfort,
these little lives are about the pursuit of Jesus.
We follow Him.
He leads us.
He is leading us to our baby, born in Africa.
The child we need who needs us, too.
We are not saving her.
She is not in her caregiver's home in Kampala dreaming of
White American Rescue.
I'm not going to heal her broken heart with my good intentions and money.
She's not a brown baby doll.
It's not "so cool" that we are being all inter-racial.
She's my DAUGHTER.
Given by God to the two of us, same as her 3 big brothers.
She's my daughter.
She's not charity.
Nor consolation prize.
Nor a mission.
Nor personal soapbox.
She's a baby.
My baby.
Adopting her isn't my version of doing poor Africa a favor.
Adopting her is the best idea God has ever given us.
No matter how she "turns out."
No matter what color her skin.
No matter how healthy she is.
No matter the cost: emotional, financial, physical.
She doesn't have to repay a debt; she doesn't have to feel grateful; she doesn't have to feel white; she doesn't have to act right to prove we succeded in doing a good deed; she doesn't have to earn her way into this family.
No more than her brothers do.
You know how you feel about your kids?
That's how this is for us.
She's one of MY 4 kids.

We follow Jesus.
He had our child born in Uganda.
So we are all Ugandan now.

*Need some biblical inspiration, by the way?
Thank you, John Piper, you magnificent creature.



15 comments:

  1. Awesome! It does amaze me the things people say:)

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  2. Naomi just looked at the computer and said, "Who's that?" I said, "Luke." And she blushed (!). I said, "Luke's getting a new baby sister! She's from Africa." Jacob said, "Luke's having a baby!" And Naomi said, "Good, next time I see Luke, I'll have a GIRL to play with!" We miss you guys. And we're praying for you. You are having a baby girl, A BABY GIRL!! Yippee!

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  3. You seriously need to write a book. You have an awesome way with words. I'm so sorry that you are already getting the comments etc. But you are handling it very well. :-) Hugs to you!

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  4. She's a daughter of The King. She's Jesus' Bride. She's your daughter. And yes, she's so blessed to have such a loving forever family. Can't wait to meet this little angel!

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  5. Love it Esty :) Sometimes others comments, well intentioned or not, are the hardest part of the process...but so worth it when you finally have your daughter in arms and family complete :)

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  6. I needed to read this today!!! Really needed!!!

    Casey Chappell
    www.caseychappell.com

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  7. Thank you so much for expressing what all of us feel as adoptive parents!

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  8. AMEN SISTA! We are right there with you. My daughter Melissa Pearce shared this with me because she knew I would appreciate your post. We have adopted 6 in addition to our three bios. Check out our blog www.jobsdaughters.blogspot.com. We are drinking the same flavor of Koolaide and it is delicious.Blessings to you and your family!

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  9. May I share this on Facebook? I would love to help others get the same perspective, FANTASTIC writing!

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  10. @Emily: if anything of value happens on this blog that glory belongs ALL to our Jesus. Please use whatever helps however you can. I'm honored :)

    Everyone else: THANK you for the encouragement! What a loving bunch you all are. How totally blessed I am to have y'all.

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  11. Well said, well said! Thank you for this truthful and straightforward post about adoption. You have really inspired me and given me lots to think about, pray about, and meditate on. My husband and I just sent our dossier to Uganda a couple weeks ago. We are adopting two babies and are just waiting for the referral!

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  12. Holy TRUTH Batman. I just stumbled upon your blog for the first time and your words made me want to scream, "Yes! Amen!" at the top of my lungs. But, it just took me 2 hrs to get my 2 year old to sleep and there is no way I will risk waking him up.

    My favorite part....

    She's my daughter.
    She's not charity.
    Nor consolation prize.
    Nor a mission.
    Nor personal soapbox.
    She's a baby.
    My baby.
    Adopting her isn't my version of doing poor Africa a favor.
    Adopting her is the best idea God has ever given us.
    No matter how she "turns out."
    No matter what color her skin.
    No matter how healthy she is.
    No matter the cost: emotional, financial, physical.
    She doesn't have to repay a debt; she doesn't have to feel grateful; she doesn't have to feel white; she doesn't have to act right to prove we succeded in doing a good deed; she doesn't have to earn her way into this family.

    Preach it.

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