Adoption is a beautiful thing. The stories we tell are happy ones. Stories of loving children we couldn’t make ourselves. Stories of giving a child a home they wouldn’t have otherwise. But there are other stories, too. Stories that our children have to work to reconcile in their minds. Stories of inexplicably missing a person they never really knew. Stories of feeling abandoned, even though they have been in our home from the very beginning. And in the midst of their grief, I must decide how to manage my own.
This week, grief came knocking at the door. As is nearly always the case, my first instinct is to lock the door tight. To be quiet and withdrawn so that she will go away. Or to be loud and excited in order to scare her away. Because she is an exhausting companion, leaving me weary and anxious and wrung out. And she gets in my head, making me think that she will always feel big and scary and louder than anything else.
She was insistent this week, though, and so I opened the door. And as I sat with her, weeping for all that is broken in our beautiful stories, I began to feel the familiar feelings of despair. How will I ever fix this brokenness? How will I manage it so that it doesn’t hurt so badly? So that my child doesn’t hurt so badly? And, at once, I knew that I couldn’t be alone with her.
So I invited my people over. My tribe, as my friend would say. “Please pray,” I texted. Again and again they responded, “we are praying.” Grief didn’t leave, but she got quiet. She gave me some space to breathe, to remember in the dark what I have learned in the light. That Jesus Christ is our only answer. That my own capacity to fix brokenness is so small, so short-sighted. But He is bigger and he sees the big picture. That his strength is perfected in my weakness. That brokenness can lead me to him. Can lead my child to him.
It looks like grief may be here to stay for a while. But I’m not scared of her today. Instead, we have decided to welcome her in. To embrace her ability to bring us to the feet of Jesus. To thank her for the reminder that this world is not our home.
Some days are harder than others. And grief can feel like an unwanted guest that we need to shut out. She is insistent, though, and I’m convinced these days that her presence is for our good. She doesn’t have to be the loudest voice at the table, though. It turns out, if you welcome her, and if you introduce her to your tribe, she gets quieter. She takes her rightful place as a bit player in this drama. And her presence beckons you to look center stage, as the King of All Joy takes his place in your story.
Adoption is a beautiful thing.