So, you're considering adoption.
Wow. You're such an amazing person.
You must have a heart of gold.
You're a real hero.
I won't lie to you - when Heather and I talked about adoption, I had a million romantic ideas about what it would be like. I imagined myself swooping in and saving a half-naked little Ethiopian boy with a bloated belly and flies on his face. I pictured people putting me on their shoulders and chanting my name. I was gonna be a hero.
It didn't take too long in the adoption process for that feeling to disappear. The stacks upon stacks of paperwork, endless amounts of money spent, phone calls, meetings and interviews all added up and quickly made my visions of being a superhero vanish.
Wait... there's more paperwork?
We owe more money?
It all just felt like a hassle. I really had no idea what I had gotten myself into. It sure as heck didn't feel as amazing as I thought it would. All this stuff I had to do and I didn't even have any idea who this kid was.
Is this even gonna be worth it?
I was naive. And that's okay. The idea of even considering adoption can be daunting and terrifying. I think it's absolutely impossible to know what you're getting yourself into. And it can be hard to see an ending to it all. It seems like you'll never actually finish the race. It's a lot of work and it takes so much willpower, way too much money and more emotional strength than you can even muster. It's truly awful.
But, guess what, it's not about you.
On the other end of this journey that you're considering, there is a child; a child who has probably been through a lot more than you or I could ever imagine. There's a little life that has probably seen much worse things than you, including this daunting journey that you're praying about beginning.
Can you imagine? I sure can't.
My son, Arthur, has been home with us for three years next week. He is a beautiful little boy who has changed my life in every single way - from the way my family looks to the things I write about; from the way I think about God to the way I make a living. His giant personality can quickly make a room erupt with laughter. He is a leader. He's brilliant. He's a kind big brother. He's a sweet son to his mama and a best friend to his daddy.
I cry tears of joy every single time I think about Arthur Fuad. He's just the best kid.
I don't know when he will fully grasp his story, but I know he will one day. I don't know how he will take it all in, but I know that it won't be a very happy day. And that absolutely destroys me. I don't ever want my son to have to feel the feelings that he is sure to feel one day. There's nothing I can do about that. But I will do everything in my power to make him know how much he is loved, always.
My son has been through so many transitions. So many losses. So many gut-wrenching situations that I wouldn't even wish upon my greatest enemy. He's so strong and resilient.
He's the real hero in all of this.
Not me or Heather.
He's my hero and always will be.
When you consider beginning the journey of adoption, or foster care, I hope you'll remember that, while the process is unbearable at times, you are working toward something so precious. You are getting to be a part of this journey that is leading you to a treasure beyond comprehension. This is a labor of the deepest kind of love there has ever been. You are receiving the amazing privilege of being a part of a hero's story. That hero isn't you. But that's okay.
The other night, when I was putting Arthur down for bed, we were talking and giggling, as always. He was laying in the bed, all cozy in the covers, with his Simba doll and his (newly-loved) octopus toy. I started singing him a song.
When Arthur gets sleepy, he starts to whisper to himself and try his hardest to keep his eyes open. In the middle of my song, I heard him whisper something to his octopus and hug him tightly.
I stopped singing.
"What did you say to your octopus?"
"Nothing." Obviously embarrassed.
"I'm just curious. I heard you say something."
Trying to turn it into a joke, "I told him he was a pooper!"
"No, you didn't. You don't have to be embarrassed to tell me anything, Arthur. I'm your daddy."
He closed his eyes to hide his embarrassment. "'I'll always be with you."
I immediately start crying. "That's very sweet, bud. You told your octopus that you'll always be with him?"
"And you'll always be with me, too."