Adoption is a strange mixture of joy and heartbreak. Adoption by its very nature is created from a hard place. In a perfect world, adoption would never be necessary because families would never fall apart. Babies would always be received with joy and their families able to provide for them. Children would never be orphaned. Every family would be able to have babies naturally, and every woman who gave birth would be able to raise her own baby. Every child would have a forever home. The reason for adoption’s existence is indeed a hard pill to swallow.
We’ve all heard THOSE adoption stories. You know, the ones that rip your heart to shreds? Behind the mask of a “good” story is often a tale of woe and hardship, a part of the story that is not one for the adoptive family to tell. A piece of the child’s history that the adoptive parents have chosen to conceal until the child is old enough to comprehend the atrocities that this world sometimes has to offer. There are stories of selfless acts of love by birth families, as well as gut-wrench stories of terrifying events. Sometimes the stories are so heartbreaking that there are no words. Yes, the reason that children and babies across the world need adoption is heartbreaking.
There is another side to the heartbreak of adoption. A couple cannot conceive but desperately wants a child. Another couple hears of orphaned children, and their hearts break at the need. A family fights with every fiber of their beings to bring a child home only to find out the child has died or the country has closed to adoption or someone close to the child lays claims to the child. Then there is the family who reached the finish line and is finally holding their child only to have the state come in and take that child back to their biological family. A family has a child they are about to bring home from the hospital when the social worker calls to tell them that the biological mother has changed her mind. Adoption is heartbreak when one adopts a child who grows up to reject them and go back to their home culture or birth family. These are very real scenarios. The agonizing pain of heartbreak can actually take one’s breath away. It is almost surreal, yet the ache reminds one of the stark reality.
Adoption is heartbreak, but not all heartbreak is bad. What one sees affects one’s heart. When a person sees a picture of a child and just “knows” it is their child…their heart breaks until that child is home with them, and then their hearts continue to break as they learn their child’s story or as they watch their child struggle to bond with their new family. A broken heart means a person is capable of love. A person whose heart is broken over a child means that a child is loved deeply. Adoption IS heartbreak, but that isn’t always a bad thing, and it is always worth it.