I See, All of Me…

If you’ve not been living under a rock, you have heard of the movie Encanto. We LOVED the movie and have watched it several times, and have listened to the soundtrack about a thousand times more! EVERY song on the soundtrack is good for different reasons, but the final song, “All of You” hits home for us. It hits home because as we think about Mirabel, it takes our mind to our beautiful Colombian daughter. Without spoiling the film, Mirabel for a variety of reasons, struggled with rejection throughout the movie because she was not as extraordinary as the other members of her family. Her pain was born out of her trauma. The world around her had rejected her. As the movie progresses, we see her journey to cope with who she is as she grapples with her story and why it was not as magical as others. By the end of the film, we see Mirabel eventually find love, acceptance, and the strength to fully step into her power and be her authentic self! Through the love of family and by accepting herself, flaws and all…Mirabel found peace and contentment.

Born in Trauma, Placed in Hope

The reality of any adoption is that no matter whether a child is adopted at birth or much later in their lives, their story is one that is born out of trauma. That is the case for our daughter. We will not get into the details of her story because her story is her’s to share. But, we do want to share with you all the reality of adopting children from hard places.

We often look at the process of adoption through rose colored glasses. A child needs a family, a family steps up to adopt them, and they all live happily ever after. While this is the hope, life does not work out quite that cleanly. There are some truths that must be reckoned with when thinking about how an adoption came to be:

  • Abandonment: At some point in the life of an adopted child, they were abandoned by their family of origin. The reasons for this abandonment may vary, but the disconnection from a child’s birth family leaves a deep emotional wound that may take years to heal, if it heals at all.
  • Disconnection from Culture: This point more relates to international adoption, but can play out in domestic adoptions as well. An adopted child is removed from their culture of origin and transported to an entirely different culture and, in the case of international adoption, an entirely different country. This process, while in most cases may be a necessary and a positive move, it does lead to loss of part of that child’s identity.
  • Trauma: Hard things happen to most children that are adopted. They have seen, heard, and experienced things that no child should ever have to endure. We live in a broken world, and unfortunately these children suffer as a result. This truth is heartbreaking and it’s infuriating, but it is a reality that all adoptive children and families face.

Her Story Is No Different

Our daughter’s story is no different. We know a good bit of her story, but we did not live it. We do not know the depths of her pain, but she remembers much of what she has been through. What she has been through will likely come out once she is home and we as her family will have to walk through life with her as she processes her pain. We hope that she accepts us fully as her family, but the truth is her trauma may not allow her to do so. We hope that she will allow us to love her, but her experience with broken trust may make that difficult or impossible. We hope that our daughter will be able to properly function as a member of our family, but there is a chance that the emotional and physical toll of her past may hinder her from a path to healing.

This is the reality of adoption.

We also must dispel with the myth that “love” is all you need to make adoption work. Love is an important aspect of an adoption. We love our daughter so much already, and we will love our daughter until the moment we draw our last breath on this side of eternity and beyond. Love is a powerful tool for healing, but we cannot simply love our daughter through her trauma. We have been through training in Trauma Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) to expand our tool belt as it relates to parenting a child from hard places. We have had to wrestle with the realities that though we hope for the best outcome, we are not guaranteed the best outcome. We hope our daughter will accept us, but she may reject us. We hope that, though there may be hard days, we have more good days than bad…but there may be many bad days in our future. These bad days, if and when they happen, will not be because our daughter wants them, but because that is the reality of trauma. It impacts the brain and healing along these lines will take patience, time, and much prayer.

How Can You Be Praying For Us?

  • Please pray for us to be spiritually, emotionally, and physically prepared for the realities of adding a third child to our family that comes from a hard place. We’ve been through the trainings and have had the tough conversations, but all of that is simply preparation. One day soon, our daughter will be with us and everything we have learned and wrestled with will be put to the test. We need God’s grace to pour over us in deep measure and in ways that we have not experienced in order to love our daughter well.
  • Please pray for our boys to be spiritually, emotionally, and physically prepared as well. They didn’t ask for this. They have been supportive of our choice to adopt, but it wasn’t their decision. Yet, they will be directly impacted by our choices. They need God’s overwhelming and all sufficient grace to help them navigate the realities of having a sibling that comes from hard places.
  • Please pray for our daughter to be spiritually, emotionally, and physically prepared to receive us as her family. She comes from a place of trauma, but we believe that God has led her to our family for a reason. It is our hope that we as a family can be used by God as a tool for healing and restoration in her life…but she will need to allow us to be that for her. Pray that God grants her the grace to let us love her and for her to love us in return.
  • Please pray for God’s sovereign and all sufficient will to be accomplished in our lives and in our adoption. We are prepared for a less than ideal outcome, but we want the best outcome for our daughter and for our family. Please pray that we have more good days than bad; more joy than pain; and more hope than despair.

We thank y’all so much for taking this time to read this post. We know it’s not the most positive post, but we’ve always wanted to be real with you all as it relates to our adoption. We hope we have shed some light on the realities of adopting a child from hard places and we covet your prayers and support as we continue this journey.

We are happy to report that we have received our I-800 approval notice from U.S. Immigration! In the next few days we hope to receive notice from the National Visa Center that we can apply for our visas to travel. Please be in prayer that this information reaches us quickly because…we are so close to traveling!

We love you all and as always…we will keep you updated!

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