We got home and as we were tucking Molly girl into bed for the night, she mentioned that some of her classmates were talking to her about adoption. Her words hesitatingly stopped us in our tracks.
"Someone told me that we took my brothers from their family and someday they will want to go home to their real parents."Ouch. Ugh. Well that definitely made me cry. Molly shared the rest of the conversation with me the next morning, and her biggest question for me was how to share with her classmates what the Bible says about adoption. She had the right words, that many orphans don't have even have a birth family or that some parents don't want to be parents. My tears were for my little girl, sad that she had this experience and proud of how she handled it. I cried that all four of my kids are learning that most of the world will judge our family so wrongly and so often.
Truthfully, I wanted to just go to bed. Planning and executing an adoption seminar is on a midwife or mama skill list. But I knew in my heart that we couldn't turn a deaf ear turn to this comment. Talking the adoption talk doesn't end with your paper pregnancy. There is always going to be that woman behind you at the check out counter asking well intended questions. The kid at the playground asking my son where his real mom won't change no matter how many years we've been home. So I sent a quick email to Molly's teacher, who immediately asked if we'd do a little presentation sometime this week.
A short power point and a several consults with my elementary teacher/mom later, I was sitting in a circle with 20 third graders. This was a game changer. These kids are getting older and I really felt like I had to go hit them where it hurts. I wanted to burn some images and facts into their brains before they became crazy adolescents resistant to new ideas. There weren't any plantains today. I didn't read any colorful books or illustrations. Instead, after talking about domestic/foster/international adoption and why all kids need a family, I shared some of these pictures.
|I pointed out the shattered glass that lined the top of the wall of the orphanage.|
|The third graders could see that washing those diapers that are hanging in the background in the same plastic tubs as where food was later prepped probably didn't promote good health and wellness.|
|I could show the class the water collecting system. They were shocked to learn that they are more likely to die from dirty water than a car accident, lightening strike or weapons.|
After further discussion of the right and wrong words to use about adoption, I told the class they could ask me anything about race, family, orphans, whatever. We all agreed that this was a special conversation and a time to talk about "stuff" a lot of people are uncomfortable talking about. A little boy raised his hand and said, "I was adopted from foster care and I only get to see my birth parents once a year because they do bad things." My heart felt like it had been torn from my chest and I resisted the urge to just scoop him up. Instead, I told him that I knew his adoptive parents moved the earth to get him to be theirs and I knew that his mama felt like a mama polar bear when it came to loving him. I didn't cry than, but as soon as I turned keys in my ignition, I let my tears fall.
Ryan is right, I do cry all the time and I don't care. I can tell you that it has been years since I cried at a movie (maybe circa 'Say Anything') and don't even get me started on reality television moments. Hallmark cards and Folgers commercials have nothing for me. Yet there are guaranteed topics that break me: God's grace, the orphan, my children's hearts, attachment (and not), anything Hillsong, Africa, unconditional love. Somewhere between dossiers and giardia, God etched this permanently on my soul. I pray He does this on Molly, Blake, Etienne and Ezekiel too.