What a beautiful thing. Many of us have warm fuzzies when we think of those who adopt children who are in need of a family, especially those who take in children who are “special”; labeled with handicaps or who have had a particularly difficult start in life because of abuse, neglect, or abandonement. International adoption. How sweet and precious, we think.

I am on the OTHER side of adoption. I am the one who rescues those precious children. Who fights for their rights and often their very right just to live. I then play the game of putting them in the “system”. Case studies, the history of their life written in big words in a document that is submitted, read and re-read by the ‘powers-that-be’ and then I have to WAIT. Wait, hope, and pray that the perfect ‘forever family’ will be found in whatever time frame occurs. There are few rules that are followed on this side.

In the meantime, while I wait for that to happen, I am the one who holds the child. I am the one who bandages their wounds. The one who prays for healing. The one who  who rocks them to sleep after the nightmares. I am the one who tries to prepare them to be as normal and acceptable as I can so that someone will be attracted to them. Someone will want to parent them forever… even with their scars

While I know adoptive parents wait; while I know adoptive parents are anxious; while I know they have lovely ideals, dreams, hopes for the child they will adopt, I too, have all those things hidden in my heart for every single child that is in my care.

It is one thing for an adult to come to a decision to open their home, their heart, to a child who may be in need. It is one thing for a couple to decide they would like to adopt a child because they are unable to have their own. It is all within the power and right for an adult to do these things.

It is another thing for a child- who has been left to die, who has been abandoned at birth, who has been broken without cause, who has been damaged and wounded before they have even had a chance to really live- It is another thing for that child to hope for something so simple as a mommy and daddy.

They wait, too

They know anxiety. They know how it is not to be able to sleep because they are desperate to feel the arms of a loving parent.  And they know it if they are sick. They know if they can’t speak. They know if their scars are ugly. They know when they are 11 and can’t read yet. When they are 3 and can’t move their limbs because of cerebral palsy. When they are 8 and have chronic ear infections.  They know, don’t be fooled. They know rejection. They know they were not-wanted once. They know they haven’t been “chosen” yet.

I am good at what I do. Damn good. As long as the child is in my home, they are safe. They are loved. They are secure. But I can only do so much. And they know it is only for a time.

If you are adopting, please know, your child is safe, happy, and loved. I give my word on that.

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