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*This is a guest post by Angela Prince (PhD in Special Education, Clemson Univ.).

Prince FamilyIf ever there was an adoption romantic, I was she. In junior high school, adoption became my dream. The older I became, the more intense the dream grew. Dating relationships died {thankfully!} over this desire. When the man-of-my-dreams said, “I want to adopt a little girl from China,” I was set! Before we could get married, China altered their requirements. Four years after he made the promise, we met the requirements and finished the paperwork. Then we waited. And dreamed. We romanticized our daughter’s advent to our family. Before we even had a referral, I would cry because I just wanted to be with her.

Three months before I saw her face on a photo for the first time, I was standing in the back room of a local burger joint, following a birthday party, speaking to an old friend whom I had not seen in decades. We shared that bond I often feel with other adoptive parents, the one that reduces my verbal filter and self-consciousness about topics that are deep in my heart. He and his wife had adopted four daughters from foster care. As he recalled the details of their fourth daughter’s adoption – the one that was far more difficult than the previous three – I blurted, “Adoption is difficult because it results from sin!” My face turned red, the way it does when I’ve said something beyond my understanding or intent. I mentally scrambled to find the words that would justify my awkward statement. “If your daughter’s birthmother hadn’t been addicted to drugs, her parental rights would not have been terminated.”

Later that evening, the truth of my guffaw began to settle in my heart as I reflected on our adoption journey. As much as I wanted to believe that our daughter would come to us because her birth mother couldn’t care for her, the harsh reality is that the beautiful culture of her home country also has a generations-old preference for boys over girls, especially when the girls are “imperfect.” In the future, my amazing, confident, sassy daughter will confront this realization & many hurtful others with a sinful heart.

On nights like this one, I am reminded that the romanticism of adoption and the accompanying realities are not only past and future problems, but also current ones. This day when I am under-the-weather and decide to be creative with dinner plans at home. On a good day, any meal that I prepare has a 50/50 chance of acceptance or rejection from our picky eater. Frustration creeps in when I expect acceptance but am met with rejection. Domestic skills are not my strong point, so they deserve to be praised when they emerge. Right? Right!
Wrong. Our daughter is willful. (I am eager to see how this trait will be redeemed in her life!) Her sweet Daddy and her willful Momma respond in sinful ways. The endless circle of sin is overwhelming. Sin without. Greater sin within. But GOD. I’m thankful He views His children as worth it. He views me as worth His sacrifice on the cross. It wasn’t a task that He felt like doing. I did not come to Him praising His creativity in accomplishing this victory. That which kept me apart from Him was not to be blamed on society, or illness, or lack of funds. If He had not called me, I would not have come at all.

Yet, He sacrificed much to buy my eternal benefit. So our daughter can feast bountifully at the marriage supper of the Lamb. So one day her Daddy, she, and I will know with perfect understanding the countless reasons she came to our family as we bask in the immeasurable riches of the greatness of Christ.

We ended the evening with a less desirable meal, laughter, and cheers for successful potty attempts. I am reminded again of Jesus’ generosity to me: He gives grace in struggles, joy with romance, and beauty for ashes. For these present and future gifts, we are thankful.

Part 1 in “Romanticizing adoption?”
Part 2

  • Jeanine

    As a mama to five adopted blessings I just want to stand on my rooftop and shout “yes” and “amen!!!” This message is important, vital even to parenting our kids and understanding their struggles. Romanticizing only results in denial and frustration…that I have learned the hard way. We have to confront the struggles with truth, that though it IS hard and that sin had an agenda our God is sovereign and will use their (and our) wounds to make us who we are supposed to be in Him. The process is not always pretty but pretending even the most beautiful, loving placement did not include pain will do our children a huge disservice.

  • sasha

    This was a great post! Although, I was expecting part 3 to be on the topic of adoption and biological siblings. Looking forward to that post.

  • DanCruver

    Hi Sasha,

    I wasn’t able to get the adoption and biological siblings, but still plan on doing it. I have our conference bearing down on us right now. So…I asked the most excellent Dr. Angela Prince if she would write a guest post about the personal side of not romanticizing adoption. And, yes, it’s a great post!

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