Our society prides itself on titles, positions, rankings, and statistics. It’s how we identify pro-atheletes, leaders of major corporations, and our favorite sports teams. Often, it’s how we identify ourselves. But we have learned that, in our family, we are much more than a title.
Ok, Ok I understand our blog is called Confessions of an Adoptive Parent. It’s easy to think that we eat sleep and breathe adoption. Our title is a brand but it isn’t all that we are. Adoption, to us, is more like a surname. A last name is an identifier but it isn’t a person’s sole identity.
Last summer I was volunteering with lovely woman at an event at a local park. We were assigned to the craft table and we were both so grateful to be located in a well shaded area. The air was sticky and oppressive. Even the children were moving from activity to activity in a sluggish slow motion. As laughing groups of children meandered in and out of our station, we had a chance to get to know a little more about each other. We talked about our grandchildren, husbands and children. We laughed at some of the funny things we had in common. She shared about her faith and why she came to church alone. We both agreed that one day our greatest hope is to sit side by side with our entire families in worship. As we swept up glitter and google eyes off the floor of the concrete shelter, she told me a little known fact. The spelling of her last name had been changed in the generation just before hers. She was related to a very well-known criminal. Her family wasn’t necessarily ashamed but they were tired of their identifier being tied to the actions of one single person. It was a part of their story but it certainly wasn’t the whole story.
I thought about her words as I packed my kids in the backseat of my rusty Suburban. I rolled all the windows down and began the drive home. We were all too exhausted to talk and I think we were all wishing we had saved enough to fix the air-conditioner. I stopped at the drive through window of a fast food restaurant and ordered 7 ice-cream cones. It seemed like the entire city had the same idea so we sat in silence for a long time waiting to pull forward. My 8-year-old suggested we buy a cone for daddy and then remembered he was out of town. He burst out laughing at the thought of giving the gift of a melted ice-cream cone. His laugh is contagious and it took us a minute to catch our breath. I found myself asking, “What would you want people to know about you? What makes you, you?” Here are a few of the things my kids want you to know about who we really are…
“I am a good singer, my room is messy and I love to read. I am going to be a writer one day.”
“I am going to be a master Lego builder when I grow up. My kids will think it’s so cool that I work for Legos. I also like bats. I kind of wish I was still a baby but I’m glad I don’t poop my pants.”
“Ha Ha Ha, he said ‘poop!’ I have a friend named Miles, I don’t like sports and my dog is Mandela. I am enthusiastic. Oh and Jesus made me.”
“I love to dance. I like gymnastics and being outside. I like to help others and I like serving at church.”
“Jesus made me, that’s why I’m so handsome.”
“I’m good at football. School is hard. I wish you would let me get two ice-cream cones.”
“I have two moms, two dads, a chicken, 7 siblings plus 5 more bio-siblings.”
The conversation contained a few more references to buggers and farts before I threatened to pull out of line and forego the treat we had all been waiting for. They stifled their giggles and I smiled. We are an adoptive family, that will always be one of our identifiers. It isn’t all that we are. We are a family of faith. We are a large family. We are silly. We are a preacher’s family. We are a loud family. We are a theater family, football family, church family, Indiana family. We are dog people. We more recently have become cat people too. We are an adoptive family. We are more than our adoption. We are a family.
Question: What is your identifier? Who is your family? Share your story with us in the comment section below this post… You can leave a comment by clicking here.
I love this book! A wonderful resource for adoptive and foster parents…’ -Jenn (Ranter) Hook, founder of Replanted Ministry.
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