Jet Planes and Court Dates...


It never gets old- watching wreckage turn to gold.

The journey of adoption is a long winding path that takes us through heaven and hell… a road that breaks and rebuilds a soul…

It's a lesson that teaches us this fact…life is the combination of being lost and found all at the same time.

Before I walk you through the impact of TODAY.... I need to take you back to the past...

I can remember when I couldn’t sleep without dreaming about adoption laws and processes… a time in my life when I was hell bent on creating a path where children could be united with families in a country torn by war and poverty. With hundreds of thousands of orphans… there had to be a solution. I spent years memorizing immigration law, staging sit-ins inside government offices - begging for adoption reform in a closed country.

Most people thought I had lost my mind….

I probably had… but there was a small group of other women like me…. who also had a dream… and they stuck with me.

We were a small army of hopeful mothers-to-be…. these women sacrificed months and years of their lives to aid in the cause… with hopes that one day the path we created would be a bridge… helping other families also find their children… and other children would also find home… the forever kind.

Eventually…. we succeeded in our cause… in partnership with rockstar staff in Sierra Leone…one of the strongest adoption processes you could find was created…and that process has united countless families over the years.

But adoption is hard… and transition is even harder. All the women that started it all… retreated to their own homes… and focused on raising these new families that were created… we also tended to wounds…. lots of them.

You see we realized that with adoption comes a range of emotion and trauma none of us were ready for…. There is loss and reconciliation… grief and celebration…. trauma and healing… a collision of hearts… a breaking down of self… a mission field in the home..for what feels like eternity… and It consumed us all.

We became tired… many families have yet to return or visit the country their children came from… they simply can’t bring themselves back into the fire….

After years in the trenches of adoption… I also passed the torch… I also was tired.

All this to say….

It’s been YEARS since I’ve witnessed the coming together of a family. YEARS since I have seen the tragedy and beauty collide… tragedy in the fact that a child has faced abandonment and loss… when parents walk away… and beauty in the fact that they gain a new safe space when an adoptive family says YES I CHOOSE YOU…

This reckoning happens all in one court appearance.

One of my dearest friends will have her court date today…. It will be nothing short of the tragedy and miracle I just described. I will watch her wrestle in her mind and come to grips with the magnitude of what is about to take place and it will change her forever.

Talk about emotional.

What I love so much about her… this beautiful and brave friend of mine… is that she gets it. So many don’t. So many walk into orphanages and place claim on a child…thinking the process is all about them..and this new family being created… without ever taking time to recognize the deep tragedy that has taken place… the child has lost their parents…. and that pain doesn’t just go away when the court order is signed. Sometimes it never goes away at all.

As the years have passed, as I’ve raised my own adopted children, and witnessed the raising of so many others… I’ve come to a place where I view it much like The Raining Season in Sierra Leone…

When the rain blows in…. it’s a welcomed visitor by farmers that need water to function… after a dry season filled with drought and little to no water… they pray for rain- and when it comes they look at the rain pouring out of the sky as a gift from God.

On the other hand…. the families who live in shanties and on trash dumps cringe when the clouds roll in…. they know what’s coming… their roof will soon begin leaking… and then it will cave in…their dirt floors will flood and everything they own will be under water. They will spend days after the storm trying to recover what they can… for them the rain is not a gift… but devastation.

Adoption is the same in so many ways… a major event.

Here we are… we see the rain… the moment is coming....and so we prepare ourselves.

It’s the middle of the night right now… in just a few hours my friend and a birthfather will stand before a judge and the world will shift for both of them. I listened to her fall asleep- tossing and turning a bit…I’m sure she was praying for him, for the day, for the gift she is about to receive… and I am sure just down the street… this incredibly brave father is also tossing and turning in his bed… anxious over the ending that is about to come… the letting go…. the goodbye.

In countries like these… birth families lose so much on adoption day… giving up a child for reasons they can’t control most of the time. Poverty has made it impossible to care for their children, death has come and taken a mother as she gives birth, and the parent who remains is left having to make a decision they never thought they would have to make.

They give their child away… sometimes to a complete stranger… for them the court date takes everything and leaves them with empty hands.

Yet, in the same moment… another family is accepting a gift… a child they have prayed for… the opportunity to fill a home with the pitter patter of little feet… the chance to love big. With great intention… a family is born… and just like rain grows a crop…. adoption expands hearts.

A child is given a chance again.

Once the court order is signed… there is mourning and celebration… beating in time together.

Isn’t that just the way life goes?

Then the hard work starts… both birth families and adoptive families must learn a new normal.. and in the midst of all those adults making adult decisions… sits a child. A broken child that will have to learn how to learn how to navigate loss and grief and hope and love… a young child who will be forced to reckon with their story….whether they want to or not.

This makes me thankful for people like my sweet friend.. she gets it on the front end… she knows that within the gift lies tragedy… and within the tragedy lies hope… she knows her place and she carries herself with grace and gives the father of her new baby the dignity and respect he deserves… She shows him love… the big kind.

As this day has unfolded… we have laughed and cried…wrestled nerves and excitement..It’s been a whirlwind and I’ve tried to memorize it all for her… because she will forget the little moments as she focus on the big ones.

One day… I will remind her of the monumental day she just experienced….I will remind her of when she was strong. I will remind her of her bravery on all the days she feels she isn’t enough… on all the days she wrestles with the magnitude of it all.

In the end..

Court happened. Love was poured out on both sides… and two beautiful people now share the gift of a miracle child.

It was a beautiful day… truly.

Yes there was rain… but GOD it was beautiful… it’s beautiful when the sun pokes through the clouds ya know… reminding us that all things are eventually made new.

Thanking God for these moments… and the opportunity to once again witness the tragedy and miracle of adoption.

The years of toil… the years pf praying… the years of failed attempts and trying again… have all paid off….

These moments will never be lost on me.