November 1, 2018

Beauty, Pain, Wholeness and NAAM: All of These Things Are Not Like the Other

I’m going to do something crazy.

I’m going to try to write something every day in the month of November for NAAM. (National Adoption Awareness Month). Pick yourself up off the floor.

I need to do this right now like I need a hole in the head. I’m a little over a month away from graduating with my masters degree in leadership, my oldest son is getting married in 10 days, and I have a full time job and my house is a mess, and, and, and……

But my newsfeed on every social media site has already been flooded with NAAM posts from the people who aren’t experts. (People who aren’t adoptees.) And it grates on me more this year than it has in a while. I guess it's because I still haven’t solved my paternal search and I just want to scream, “Shut up, people!” Stop talking about beauty until all people know who and where they came from. Seriously, I’m tired of hearing about beauty.  Until I’m not poring over DNA results from four sites with tears streaming down my face at 2 am in the freaking morning hoping for a different result than I have been getting for four years…just save all your talk about beauty for somebody else that isn’t in the grip of the closed adoption system. The grasp it has on you is suffocating at times. I do believe there is wholeness even in the destruction that is closed adoption. For me it has been my faith that has made it possible. And, it's an ongoing journey. Just when you think you're alright, somebody hands you a clipboard at a doctors office to fill out several pages of forms you can't give any information on. And you feel like throwing it against the wall and walking out. And you wonder if you will die one day never knowing any of that information. Or more importantly, whether you  will die BECAUSE you didn't have the information you should have had to write on the paper, that could have saved your life if only you knew your family history.

Right now in my studies we are reading a few books that really blow the door wide open on my thoughts about all this. One book is Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership by Ruth Haley Barton. Her subject is Moses and she talks all about his adoption and the ramifications it has on his psyche and his leadership. I had to write a five page paper on this for an upcoming class that starts Monday and my only issue was limiting my thoughts to five pages.

Here’s an excerpt from the book:

“The soul of leadership begins with who we are – really. Not who we think we are, not who we would like to be, not who others believe us to be. God’s call includes (yet is not limited to) the particularities of our life, our heritage, our personality, our foibles, our passions and deepest orientation, and even our current life situation.”[1] 

When I read this, tears ran down my face. God’s call includes the particularities of our life and our heritage.   

What are the ramifications of this for the adoptee in a closed adoption system?

[1] Ruth Haley Barton, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership: Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2012), 74.