Sunday, November 2, 2008

Mothering Others' Children

When one starts down the road of adoption, the light at the end of the tunnel is the brightness of the newly dawning sun, rising to greet the newly formed family as they start a brand new day. Ah! The stuff dreams are made of!!

The reality of adopting others, however, is this--the light at the end of the tunnel is a train!! One cannot envision what the future holds when you have no input into the first days, weeks, months and years of a young life. I think about my first three "scratch" kids. I was there for every minute of every day of their young lives, especially that very important pregnancy! The "prefab" kids are different, though. I know the saying, "You were not grown beneath my heart, but in it." This is sweet, but does not begin to estimate the damage these young lives experience and the lifelong recovery they (and their new family) must go through.

If I were observant, prior to entering this strange world of mothering others' children, I would have thought it out logically. Why are these kids up for adoption? Why are their parents not able to care for them? How did the answers to the first two questions impact those fragile, early weeks, months and years? These are not children of neurosurgeons and lawyers. These are children of drug addicts and alcoholics, abusers and mentally ill. These things are not just environmental. They are genetic, passed on to the next generation (the one you adopt) and difficult to override. Those early days and weeks are firmly embedded in that young psyche and very difficult to override. What was I NOT thinking? Why did it take so long to figure this out?

Still, there is a passion to right the wrong, fix the broken, contribute to society in some tangible way that overrides ALL logic and compels some of us to continue down a road less traveled, one that involves taking other mothers' children, attempting to right the wrongs done in the past, showing a positive present, and pushing toward a bountiful future. The ultimate goal for the "prefab" kids is the same for the "scratch" kids--productive, kind, God-fearing citizens. The only exception is some of the parts are broken or missing and you have to be more creative in getting to that goal. Sometimes, very important pieces are missing and can never be replaced. Sometimes you realize that you may never be able to override the issues that brought them to adoption in the first place.

Maybe, if we are blessed and work harder than imaginable, we can change the light to something less damaging than a train, perhaps something closer to a sunny day. Maybe...

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