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  • As we pack our bags this evening here in Guangzhou, China and prepare for the long trek back to the United States, there is something bittersweet about all of this that is hard to put into words. There is sadness and joy. Relief and reservation. Excitement and anxiety. I’ve learned that this (adoption journey) is not for the faint of heart. It is an emotional rollercoaster. A cerebral curveball from one big thought to the next. My eyes water a lot when I think too much about all of this and reflect back on where we’ve been. So much seems unfair and unjust when it comes to these orphaned children and sometimes you just feel, well, helpless.

    I don’t for a minute question what we’re doing or why we’re doing it. But my heart pours out for my son as we watch over him sleeping or look at him absorbing and trying to understand this world he is in. As he grows older and wiser and more curious about where he came from and why he looks different from the rest of his family, there will be questions about his beginning. We will be truthful with him, always. Open with him, forever. We will be sensitive. But all the love we provide, all the facts that we know, all the compassion we can muster may not be enough to satisfy what we already know is a curious little child. And it hurts knowing we can’t prevent that hurt. It is what it is and to some degree, to put it frankly, it just sucks.

    But I do know this: when our son was being formed in his mother’s womb, something was amiss. At the same time, half a world away, I felt the call to adopt him stronger than I’ve felt anything in my entire life — though I didn’t yet know it was him or where he was. Our family acted and our hearts were knitted together — four of us to him. We prayed specifically for our little guy just as if it was a doctor instead of an adoption agency telling us we were “pregnant” with this baby boy. And so when that moment came almost nine months to the day, it was beautiful in a way that is different yet emotionally identical upon seeing your new-born child for the first time. Now, each time I gaze at our plump and funny and determined little Solomon, I see this little scar below his nose and above his lip and I know that it is for us — all of us. Without it, we don’t have him.

    What the world deemed unworthy, God has intended for good.

    You are beautiful, Solomon. So beautiful and handsome.

    There are a lot of things I’ve done in my life that seemed important or significant at the time. Only a few of them really were. But this was the best decision that I never made. God made it for me. Our family just listened and acted accordingly. And now I feel so completely unworthy of the gift we’ve been granted. If there is anything to glean from all of this, it’s simply that God calls upon ordinary, broken, selfish (the list goes on…) people just like me to do his work — and in our case it is to care for the orphan. I am done asking "why me?" now that I am on the other side. I am the one who feels blessed.

    I’ve often wondered throughout this process if and when this flood of emotion will subside. There are days where I don’t feel cut out for this – mentally or emotionally. But now I look into those narrow little openings that hold big eyes, stare upon his anything-but-perfect nose, and I marvel at those chubby cheeks that inflate when a smile is brewing, and I realize these floodwaters are here to stay – and I’m more than okay with that. It’s the one thing I know for sure.

    We’re going home, Solly. We’re going home.
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