Since hearing of our adoption of Lily, many people have responded to us by saying: “You are doing such a great thing!” It is always a blessing to receive supportive responses, so I don’t want to minimize that in any way or seem ungrateful, but the heart of an adoptive parent has a different reaction than one might expect to that encouragement. Let me explain.
My heart’s response to the statement “You are doing a great thing” is “Amen! But not for the reason you think!” You see, I think that when people say this they are expressing that they believe the adoptive parent is committing some benevolent, philanthropic, self-sacrificing feat that is somewhat extraordinary and worthy of praise--one they feel somewhat incapable of committing themselves. And in many ways the principle of adoption is extraordinary (more about this in a minute). But, it seems that many mean it in much the same way that one would respond to someone who rescued a puppy from a well or ran into a burning building to save another. Or perhaps like one who donates some large sum of money to a “worthy” cause. There is so much to this, but when I strip it down to the heart of this adoptive mommy, our adopting Lily is so different than this.
You see Lily is my daughter. Long before she or I were created, the One Who created us, planned all our days. He created me to be the child of Linda & George and the sister of Amy. Through my mother’s womb He placed me in their arms. He knit me together, knowing my future completely. Lily is no different. Long before she or I were created, the One Who created us, planned all our days. Through the womb of another woman, He has placed her in our arms. He created her to be the daughter of Mandy & Kevin and the sister of Aaron, Emma, Anna Grace, and Ally. He knit her together, knowing her future completely.
Several years ago, when Aaron was helicoptered to a hospital some distance from our home due to a life-threatening condition, we got in our car to follow him and be with him. When Aaron flew home from Peru, we went to the airport to pick him up. On the late nights when he closes at Chick-fil-a, we drive to the restaurant and wait for him to take him home. Why? Why do we do this? He is our son.
If one of my children was lost, I would search and search and search ceaselessly to find them. I would leave no stone unturned and would pursue them until they were found.
When my children have been in performances or games, I purchase the clothes they need to participate, I drive them there early and stay late to bring them home. I’ve sat through awful weather and endured various other discomforts (have you ever been to a children’s music recital?).
And you know what? Not once has anyone told me “You’re doing a good thing.” Not once has anyone ever indicated that what I am doing is benevolent, philanthropic, or extraordinary. No. And I know why. It is because this is what is expected of a mom. This is what moms and dads do. That is what it means to be a mom or dad.
So when someone says to me, “You are doing a great thing,” I tend to think, “No, I’m not. I’m doing what any mom would do. I’m going to pick up my child.”
She is my baby. She is my daughter.
She’s always been planned for us, her story is just a little different. But the story of how we picked her up will bring glory to my God. Just like the story of Aaron’s hospitalization brought glory to God.
So, in that respect…it IS a great thing. But not (I believe) because of what we are doing…we are doing what a mom and dad do…but because of how awesome God is and how wonderfully He told us where to find her and how to get her and when we would see her little face and how He is this very minute getting glory from it. Every time I open my mouth or pick up my pen or type on my keyboard about Lily, God gets the glory.
And that is the great thing that I do.
1 Chronicles 16:34-36
34 O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
35 Then say, "Save us, O God of our salvation,
And gather us and deliver us from the nations,
To give thanks to Your holy name,
And glory in Your praise."
36 Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
From everlasting even to everlasting
Then all the people said, "Amen," and praised the LORD.