Adoption has ruined so many things for me.
There is a parking lot behind Lowe’s that I cannot pass without feeling a little pang of nostalgia mixed with elation mixed with sadness. It’s a terrible concoction because my body never knows whether to smile or cry. A few days after we accepted our referral for Caleb, I was leaving Wal*Mart when I checked my email during a long stop light. I saw an email from our adoption agency with the Subject “Fwd: Qin Haijun.” The preview read, ” Hi Brandie, here are some photos…” I heard a honk from behind me as my heart raced with anticipation of opening the email. I scanned the immediate area for a place to stop and saw a parking lot across the street. I opened the email and saw several pictures of Zhou, our China guide who lives near Cleveland and works for EAC, holding our baby. I started sobbing and thanking God that someone was holding Caleb. He knew the warmth of love from someone, and that particular someone happened to be only an hour away from us. As ridiculous as it sounds, I wanted to leave that parking lot and drive straight to the adoption agency and hug Zhou. I wanted to place my hands on the arms of the person who was cradling our son so lovingly in those pictures.
Adoption also ruined that particular Wal*Mart for me. I can walk into any other Wal*Mart in the world and have exactly zero emotion, but that one is where I talked to Danielle on the phone for over an hour trying to pick out the gifts we planned to take for the registration officials in China. (This is customary. To be quite honest, in the end our officials had no idea which gift bags were ours. However, when your emotions are running high in the midst of an adoption, some part deep down inside of you truly believes that whether or not the adoption is finalized in country may actually depend on what is in the gift bags.) I finally settled on Ohio State shirts and hats. Adoption also ruined OSU shirts for me.
Adoption ruined my heart the most. For the years preceding our adoption, I thought that adopting a child would simply fix that ache in me. You know, like when you’re hungry. Your tummy rumbles, and your blood sugar may drop a bit, making you irritable and a little light headed. But there’s a fix for that! Have a sandwich or a salad or
a bag of some Oreos, and you return to feeling normal pretty quickly. I just didn’t expect that adoption would be like hunger; I temporarily satisfied that rumble and that ache, but I had no idea that it would return with the same vengeance.
God knew it. Proverbs 24:12 tells us that “Once our eyes are opened we cannot pretend we do not know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows we know and holds us responsible to act.”
God knew that adoption would ruin me. He knew that I would love our family so intensely that I would mourn daily for those who have none. He knew that traveling to China would hurt my soul so much that I would start telling our story to everyone, anyone, who would listen. (“Oh, I see you’re buying soy sauce. I have a great recipe on my Asian Foods board on Pinterest. By the way, we adopted from China. Are you at all interested in adoption? Have a second cousin who is? Let’s go have coffee!“) I’m kidding (not kidding). He knew that I would be so passionate about orphans (not just my former orphan) that I would start a blog, baring the deepest parts of my soul to the world in hopes that others would be inspired to take this journey.
Has your heart been broken yet? Have your eyes been opened? Mine have. And I can’t pretend that I don’t know anymore. God knows we all know, and we are responsible to act.
Interested in adoption? Have a second cousin who is? Here’s where you can find me. Just be prepared; if you’re on the fence about adoption, I will push you off. The only thing that’ll hurt is your heart.