Part of being an adoptive parent to me, means stacking the unknowns into a compartment and getting on with your life. I think you have to, on some level, to function. It’s impossible to live in the “what if’s”. And sometimes, it’s so uncomfortable to think about where your child came from and what they’ll potentially face as adults. Painful and heartbreaking. Maybe they’ll be fine. But maybe they’ll have a cavernous hole in their heart that having been abandoned might leave one with. And how can we protect them from that? It’s reality. And nothing we can do will fix it. Nothing can cure it. Nothing can take it away. It’s their road to walk, and their pain to learn to accept.
Still, sometimes I think about his Ethiopian parents. About what they were feeling and thinking the day he was left by that river. Did they cry? Did they grieve?
Sometimes I picture his mother, alive…and going through her daily routine. Thinking of him. Wondering what happened to him. Or maybe knowing that he was taken to an orphanage. Maybe that gives her comfort. Maybe not. Does she wonder about him, I ask myself? Love him and long for him? Cry for him…? Pray for him?
What if he could go back and see these two people who gave him life? Would I want that for him? Would I be too scared to pursue that? Even though I’m fairly certain it’s not a possibility…I think about it.
And I wonder, can we really understand the actions of those who leave their infants by a river? Can we grieve over the circumstances that would lead them to make that decision?
Do we forgive them, because ultimately it meant we became parents to this amazing child, who would not be here, were it not for the choice they made that day? Our greatest gain being his greatest loss. Maybe it was their greatest loss as well? Can we accept that may be true also?
Can we absorb the reality of what that loss means to him? Will mean to him as he grows older?
As one questions begets yet another, I have learned to accept some simple truths. That Quint has two mothers. Two fathers. Two families. Known or unknown…No amount of wanting him all to myself will ever change that fact.
That if given the chance, it would be a true miracle to meet and talk with his Ethiopian family. To share this amazing son that God intended both of our families to know and love.
There is so much fear in adoption. Fear of the unknown. Fear your child will be taken from you. Fear the birthparents will return and want to reclaim your child…your baby…the one you have given your heart to and poured every ounce of yourself into. And perhaps the reason why so many families pursue international adoption is the often times, removal of that fear – because so many of the children adopted have been abandoned without any information. Thus removing the probability that your child will someday be taken “back”.
But what if they just wanted to know he was loved? What if fear was not present, but instead just the knowledge that two families love the same child? One who brought the child into the world and one who will raise him. What if I could give that to him? Would I deny him that?
No, I couldn’t. He deserves those answers, and he may never have them this side of heaven.
It certainly begs for me to look at my own insecurities. Having no knowledge of his biological family leaves me with an open sore. We live in the footprints of “I guess we’ll never know”. And if that’s true…and if that’s the road that he will walk his entire life…never knowing if they loved him, or cared for him, or wanted to keep him…if that’s what we have to face – then we will. And we’ll love him. And be there for him. And walk that pain and emptiness with him.
But in the meantime…we’ll be sending love home to them. Just in case. Wherever they are. Because we are part of each other. All of us. His mothers. His fathers. His families.
Their son. Our son.
And we love him so, so very much.
Sending love home to them…he’s well…he’s happy…he’s the light of our life.
Sending love home to Ethiopia…just in case they wonder about him, love him, miss him…grieve over him…