The invitation arrived in January. “I hope you can come,” she said. “I would love for our families to meet.”
She found me a few years back through Facebook, approaching with respect and grace. We reached out tentatively at first, then forged a sisterhood nurtured by a gradual opening of hearts around the shared love of a precious baby, now grown.
“I hope you can come,” she said, and so we packed our bags and flew south out of the frigid north into the southern warmth. Into their warmth and welcome.
We have six birth parents in our family, but this was to be the first family reunion.
Relationships between birth and adoptive parents can be tricky. At times we have had to protect our children. A few birth parents have preferred to keep the door between us closed. Some have moved on or moved away.
While many adoption narratives focus on the joy of the adoptive parents, each adoption is born out of great pain and loss. Navigating these things calls for an abundance of wisdom and grace from all parties, often beyond our understanding at any given time. As in all relationships, each situation is unique.
It felt like it should have been more momentous, this meeting, but instead we joined at the common ground of church, on Easter no less, singing songs of joy while our boy glanced back at us from across the aisle, surrounded now by five little sisters. How appropriate that this reunion should take place in God’s house, where we all enter through adoption.
“So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.””
Romans 8:15 NLT
It should have felt awkward, or strange, but instead it felt like…family. As indeed it is. Our family, and theirs, joined by love of a boy, bonded by the love of Jesus.
“Thanks, Mom and Dad,” he said to us when it was all over. I don’t know how it is to grow up under the umbrella of adoption, to know that someone sacrificed so much to give you life, to carry that understanding as a seal on your heart. I don’t know how it is to knit the differences that adoption brings into your life into blessings instead of liabilities. I just know that it all displays the glory of God in ways unique to him. And unique to us – all of us in this blessed circle.
“I hope you can come”, she said, and how could we not? For in the birthing and giving of her son she set a trajectory of love that forever marks not just his life and ours, but other lives beyond what we realize.
So now we have come full circle: two families – one formed in grief and one in joy, one giving over and one receiving – joined by one small baby. Each arm stretching through the years to include others until we finally join again, this time with a much larger circle, drawing back together in gratitude for the other, all encompassed in the greater embrace of God who makes all things beautiful in his time.