I am in a complicated relationship with a woman I have never met and probably never will. We live different lives. Our cultures, languages and customs are different. My sun rises when her sun sets. One person unites us, but in very different ways. She holds onto a memory. I get to hold a little boy. Thursday marked five years since Kai’s birth family took him to the orphanage.
International adoption usually leaves you with more questions than answers about a child’s history. As families try to piece together as much information as they can, I remember one of our guides asking families one question that has always stuck with me. “Do you think this family took this baby to a place to be found?” As families worked through this question, we always knew the answer. His family not only took him to a place where he would be found, but left him with a family heirloom, bracelets that represented hope for Kai’s future, whatever it might hold. We don’t know if it was his birth mom or another member of the family that cared for Kai those 9 months, but my sentiments are the same.
Over the past several years, I have thought of her often. I’m sure a day hasn’t gone by that she hasn’t thought of Kai. To her, Kai isn’t his name and her final memories of him are of a fragile and sick 9 month old baby. So many times, I have wished that I could just tell her that he’s okay. I wish she could see the little one he is today. Often, when I think of people I desperately want to know Jesus, Kai’s birth mom and foster mom are the first two that come to my mind. The Gospel has transformed us, changed Kai’s world and would change them too.
July 4th, I always think of her. This season of the year, Kai usually has sadness that he can’t put words to. This season of the year, I often have sadness that I can put into words. Sweet mama, I want you to know he is okay, you are remembered by us and he is treasured. The brave walk you took that day, the final goodbye, the last kiss, the tears, I treasure them all in my heart with incredible respect and deep love. Thank you for taking him to a place where he would be found. Thank you for choosing life.
Right now, when we tell him of the birth family, foster family and forever family that have loved him, he joyfully responds, “wow, a lot of people love me.” Some days, he will feel more sadness or grief or anger and that’s all okay. One thing is for sure, as I feel connected to you in my heart, that will spill over to him. I grieve with you and simultaneously rejoice that he is ours. That’s part of the messiness and beauty of adoption.