Thursday, November 09, 2017


It's no secret that adoption plays a major role in our family.  Two of our children came to us through adoption, and we've become heavily involved and invested with orphan-care ministries in our city and other adoptive families.  We see it as part of God's heart beat, and we've been so privileged to live it in such a personal way.


I've been composing this post in my mind for a while, because I've realized that when you are immersed in the world of adoption, it is easy to take concepts and ideas for granted.  As an adoptive family, we've spent a ton of time and effort learning about trauma, attachment and connective parenting styles.  We've read and engaged and been heart-broken to look at statistics and try to understand the uphill battle that it can often be to parent children from hard places.  Because I was raised in a functional family, it took a long time for me to really understand how very hard certain places can be and how much abuse and neglect can impact a person for the entirety of their lives.

And though I certainly understand far more now than I used to, I never lived it or walked through the horror of being abandoned or taken from a parent or abused.  I will never be able to fully empathize with what my children have been through and the ways that will impact them forever.  I can't comprehend the depths of pain that come from surviving the foster care system only to "graduate" to the streets and a world that you aren't equipped for.

Many of us have never had this experience.  November is National Adoption Awareness Month, so I thought I'd take this chance to share a few "entertainment" options that shed a lot of insight into this hard and beautiful world.  I believe it is possible to gain a bit more compassion and understanding through reading and/or watching movies or television shows that do a good job of telling some of these stories - even if fictional.  I'm gonna give you a little list to start from if you want a little more awareness this November.
  • This Is Us: I've written about it before on the blog, but this show is SO good and gives incredible insight into adoption, both the good and the bad.  Randall was adopted as a baby and has become such a success, but there is still a lot of pain and struggle.  We are only a couple of episodes into the second season, but now that baseball is over, we plan to catch up quickly!
  • Lion: I put off watching this Best Picture nominee for a long time, because I knew it would be an emotional experience.  And though it did end with John and I both sobbing on the couch, it was every bit worth it.  It's a beautiful, gut-wrenching true story of a boy who got separated from his family in India and ended up being adopted by an Australian family.  It also does a good job of showing the differences in a child who came from love, as this boy did, contrasted by a child who had likely suffered some trauma, as his adoptive brother had.  It is based on the memoir A Long Way Home, which I haven't yet read, but have heard is also excellent.
  • The Language of Flowers:  This is a novel that might only seem tangentially related to this subject, but for me, I felt it was very insightful to the world and feelings of a foster child, especially a foster child that is then called to transition to adulthood.  It shows how she struggles to connect with people and understand her world and relationships.  There is some difficult content and language, but nothing incredibly graphic. 
  • Project Zero: This is a local non-profit that works specifically to match Arkansas waiting children to forever families.  This video highlights some of the issue with real faces, not fictional ones.  I shed all the tears when one boy said that he would turn into a rainbow if he were to be adopted.

Other adoptive parents out there - I'd love to hear what other resources, fictional or otherwise, you've found to be enlightening!