Adoption is painful

Ok, here goes: Sometimes adoption is painful. Sometimes its in the post-adoption phase. Today, it was in the pre-adoptive phase. We said goodbye today, perhaps for a few months, perhaps for a few years, perhaps for life on this earth.

Technically, he was our foster child. Technically, the powers that be may do what they wish. Fully, God is in control and not us. As we sat on the stairs hugging him this morning for what could be the last time inside our home, my wife said, “sometimes love looks like very hard things.” Dang — she’s good that one. I think I’ll keep her.

The Lord has done a thing and it is marvelous in our eyes. For each of us, He continuously writes our story until our last breath. When you’re an adoptive parent, whether in the pre- or post-stage, you often get to witness God inscribing the letters on the page right in front of your eyes. And in some very special moments, you get to watch as the quill swirls left and right beneath your very feet and between your arms and theirs. I saw that this morning.

I’m always protective of my childrens’ stories and in this case, it is no different. Sharing generalities here or seeing one less of us at church is splitting hairs. Specifics will never be written, but today’s move formalizes a process that began months ago. It’s the latest stepping stone that God has chosen to reveal. All we know is that today, we said goodbyes for however long the goodbye needs to last.

But though we know who holds the future, the present can be very, very painful. We knew goodbye was coming soon, we didn’t know it would be this morning. We knew we’d have all the feels, we didn’t know all the feels would be all. of. the. feels. We knew there’d be hugs and goodbyes but I never thought what I would say in the final moments.

I took a deep breath with every bucket and every duffel bag I placed in the social worker’s car. Fittingly, the rain came down harder and harder the longer the process lasted. Given the unique reasons behind the departure, we may see him soon out in the community. We may speak with him on the phone. We may be very much in his life or we may fade out over time. Whatever he writes in the next sentences will perfectly fit with the story he’s crafting in this child’s life and in ours.

But as we’re waiting and watching, we’re adjusting our hearts and our minds to life again as a party of five. We know who holds the future, but as I said, our present has moments we’d rather never experience again. So yes, at times, adoption is painful.

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