With everything going on both here and in Haiti, I thought I would try and tie in the beauty of adoption with the increasingly common protests that are taking place in both countries where I live. If you have been following our family and All Things New over the past few years, then you know that adoption has played a huge role in everything that we do. We believe that adoption is an incredible gift and a wonderful thing for every family to consider. Is it expensive? Yes. We are still paying back loans from our first one not to mention the second one. Is it difficult? Yes. Every adoption presents its own challenges including bonding issues, uncertainty, legal issues, etc. Is it time consuming? Yes. There is paperwork at every step, a home study, classes to take, etc. Is it worth it? YES, YES, YES! Next to Jesus saving me and marrying my wife, adoption (which was present the day Jesus saved me by the way) has been at the center of the best days of my life.
The funny thing is, when I see Sophie and Elijah, the term “adoption” is not a part of what I am thinking. In fact, the reason that this blog came to mind had nothing to do with them. When I think of Sophie and Elijah I just think of how much I love them, how much they have made my life better, and the words “son” and “daughter” are the only terms that describe who they are to me. This blog came to mind based on some friends of mine, a couple who recently adopted from India and a couple who just recently brought an infant home from a hospital here in Jacksonville (who used our agency, Bundle of Hope). If you could see the pictures and the posts of these 2 families, you would see a picture of adoption that I have felt firsthand and one that is too difficult to explain with words. Adoption changes you, it changes your child, and it changes the rest of your family as well. There is this realization that becomes so real to you. It is a truth that we all understand, but it goes from a simple statement to a way of life when you bring a child home for the first time. This is the statement:
Every child deserves a family.
With all of the crazy things going on in America (protests, shootings, etc.) and all of the even crazier things going on in Haiti (protests, shootings, burning cars/tires, etc.) we have all been challenged on what we believe. The truth is, there are almost always incredible people on both sides of every debate that we have. Whether it be politics, religion, social issues, or anything else that we find to debate about, good people disagree on things. The truth is, I am not sure I have ever seen a political/social issue (other than gun control or abortion) that has divided Americans more than people kneeling for the national anthem. It is crazy how divided people have become over this issue and how both sides think they are absolutely right and there is no compromise. But that statement, “every child deserves a family,” cannot really be debated. There are not 2 sides to the argument. There are no Republicans or Democrats, there is no race issue, and there is not disagreement between Christians or any other religion. Every child that is born deserves a family who loves them and cares about them, THE END.
So why are there so many children who go their whole lives without it?
This is a question that haunts me, on a consistent basis. I cannot understand it. Do you know, as much as we love and care for our children in Haiti, they will never have a Mom and a Dad who love them. We love them and we take care of them, but they will never know what Sophie and Elijah know, what your children know, and what my friends’ newly adopted children will know. Sophie and Elijah will know what it is like to have someone who was there from the beginning, who will never leave them, and who would not let anything come between them for any reason. Kervinson, Malayika, Yolmenda, and our other kids missed out on that. I have said this before, but I remember on the days that Sophie and Elijah were born, there was this feeling inside of me that I will never be able to forget. It was a combination of pride, protectiveness, and emotion (I am not too proud to admit that I cried almost as much when I saw Sophie as I did when I saw Jess on our wedding day) mixed together with this incredible feeling of love that was just overwhelming. I knew in that moment that I would do anything for them because I am their father, their Dad.
I also remember when I met our kids at ATN for the first time. Knowing and falling in love with children who do not know the love of a parent is life-changing. Meeting the kids at ATN initially is what led us to begin the adoption process back in 2012, and these kids have completely destroyed our lives in the most incredible way possible! So, my question is, has meeting these kids (or kids like them) changed you? I am describing 19 kids who have missed out on what every kid desperately needs…The love of a Mom and Dad. The problem is that there are, quite literally, millions and millions of other kids around the world that find themselves in this same situation. Here is my hope:
That these kids, and kids around the world like them, would absolutely destroy our lives in incredible ways.
Will it lead you to adopt? I hope so. Will it lead you to get more involved with ATN? I hope so. Will it lead you to do something in your city with kids who need to know what it feels like to be loved? I hope so. Will it lead you to take action? I hope so. The problem with protesting in the streets (unless it is organized and requires actual sacrifice), kneeling for the national anthem, or taking part in other forms of “social change” events is that oftentimes they accomplish very little. They are, all too often, symbolic protests that take very little sacrifice and produce very little change. The opposite of that would be to do something that can absolutely change you, your family, your community, and if enough of us decide to do it…the world. You see, a trip to Haiti with ATN has the potential to be like these “symbolic” protests. We can come home from a trip and we can tell everyone how awesome it was and how it is going to change our life and then go back to our exact same way of living. Or, we could do the opposite of that. We could allow the kids at ATN and children around the world who are living without a family to completely wreck our lives. To change the way we live, the way we spend money, the way we spend our free time, and most importantly the way we view our Heavenly Father, the One who adopted us!