On this day, there are approximately 147 million children in the world who have no family. They sit in foster homes, orphanages and institutions dreaming of being held, being loved and being able to call someone Mommy and Daddy. Some of them rock themselves to sleep at night, some try to survive by stealing food, while others close down, knowing that their cries will go unheeded.
And like countless times, I think about them, pray for them, and ask God for help in aiding just one more child to come home in the arms of a loving family. My role is minute. But I will do what I can to help bring them home, and I pray that maybe one day he will expand my territory.
But mostly today, I am thinking about my children's birth mothers. I cannot imagine the social and political turmoil they faced during their pregnancies, yet each choosing to give my children life. Then, the pain and sacrifice in saying goodbye. One in the middle of the night, under the cover of darkness. The other, while her child was clinging to life in an incubator. Each not knowing what would become of her child, hoping for a better life, but not knowing what that would mean.
The perspective of the birthmother did not truly occur to me until we were finally coming home after an arduous fourteen days of hard travel, new parenthood and no sleep. We were on a bus in Guangzhou, China headed for the airport. We were going home, and Sophia was leaving her homeland and that reality struck me. Thoughts of Sophia's loss and her birthmother's loss would not let me loose. A woman carried my daughter, hid her pregnancy so that she would not be forced to abort her child, and gave birth to her. Who was with her, did she have help, was she alone, was she scared, was her heart torn irreparably when she walked away? My daughter was laid to be found just a block from the orphange by a government building. Why did she choose that spot? Was she close by, watching for the moment Sophia was found? I was finally a mother, because of this woman's sacrifice, and I could suddenly feel her pain. It gripped me and I was forever changed. I immediately loved her with an odd intensity. She brought Sophia into this world despite the insurmountable challenges and hardships. She loved our child enough to give her life.
I had a dream about three years later that I met Sophia's birth mom. It felt so real, so authentic. She was a small Chinese lady with sad eyes, yet proud and independent, like our Sophia. I looked at her and through my sobs, I was able to tell her thank you. I have had a peace since that night. The dream came after beseeching God for years to give her peace and to whisper to her heart that Sophia is happy, healthy and loved beyond measure. Perhaps it was God's reply.
I have heard critics of adoption with arguments against it.
My reply to them is as follows: Thank God that He did not make arguments for not adopting us as his children. Without adoption into his family we would be languishing, with no hope, with no future, rocking ourselves to sleep, stealing others food, closing down - knowing our cries would go unheeded.
They would remain orphans if we did not come to them.
And love. This is LOVE.