I was eager to prove wrong the people who expressed concern about my adopting her – those who told me horror stories about troubled adopted children, who wondered aloud whether she would be close to her siblings, who lamented that she wouldn’t compare favorably with my older three. In my heart, I knew these cynics were wrong (and indeed time has shown that they were), but instead of releasing their negative comments, I set out – for a time – to prove them wrong.
Now that my little daughter is a happy, thriving member of the family, I find myself spending much more time just being with her. We look at the autumn leaves. We read books. We laugh together at her silly jokes.
I enjoy her presence, and my own.
And loving her makes me want to be present for others too…Adopting Mia…(has) torn off the veneer and helped me to live a little more honestly – which is to say, of course, that’s it’s made my life harder.
Adoption has shaped my life in ways both beautiful and heartbreaking.
We were foster parents with Bethany Christian Services for two years. It was a high honor to be a part of the birth of a new family, and witness the courage of birth parents who’d chosen to release their babies into a future with this carefully-chosen family. Beautiful.
The heartbreaking part of adoption in my life comes in two different forms: My mom was adopted under a veil of secrecy by an alcoholic relative and his wife after her birth mom died. And during our own foster parenting years, our attempts to adopt an older child in the state system were unsuccessful.
The heartbreak only serves to underscore the eternal importance of adoption to me. Scripture highlights the stunning bravery of the adopted Esther, and refers to the people chosen to be brought into God’s family with language that highlights the intimacy of the relationship. It reflects his heart and changes lives.
And the lives that get changed aren’t just those of the adoptees. Author Jennifer Grant has penned a wonderfully honest memoir of her journey into adoption that shows how her life, her marriage, her family and her network of relationships have all been reshaped by the adoption of her fourth child, Mia.
Love You More: The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter (Thomas Nelson, 2011) documents her journey from busy mother of three children born in the span of 3-1/2 years through the deep sense she and her husband had that their fourth child was waiting “out there” somewhere, through the adoption decathalon and into the always-shifting challenges and blessings of becoming and being a forever family:
Grant’s insights are rich (the chapters in the section entitled “Waiting For Mia” would be super-helpful reading for anyone pondering what it’s like to enter the adoption process), poignant (her story about feasting on blueberries with Mia a couple of days after she brought her home and realizing she had no idea what her little girl liked to eat put a lump in my throat) and honest (meshing lives is a messy process). Her faith shines through, but the book’s focus isn’t at all “Christian adoption” but “A Christian family who adopted a little girl from Guatemala”. In other words, an occasionally heart-rending and wholly beautiful adoption story.
Though the 221-page book will appeal to adoptive families, I believe anyone who appreciates a finely-crafted memoir loaded will find Love You More well worth their time. Highly recommended.