Adoption Failure

I’ve written about a number of adoption stories lately, many of them happy, heart-warming tales. But not every adoption story is so good. Adoption inherently involves some form of brokenness, so no matter what there’s already some heartache involved. But in some cases even that measure of hope that comes to a broken story is lost.

These stories suck. But I want to be honest that they happen. That’s pretty obvious after that whole putting a kid on a plane to Russia debacle, but sometimes we need less sensational and more real stories. I don’t want to imply that these cases are completely devoid of hope—I’m kind of an annoying idealist that way and believe hope can eventually come to the darkest situation. But in the midst of that darkness it can be pretty impossible to see the hope. I can only pray it’s there.

In Addition by Adoption I mentioned a family of six that had moved to Uganda to finalize their adoption. It was an incredible story. Unfortunately late last year the family moved back to the United States without their new addition. At the time they weren’t sharing any details, but earlier this month they broke their silence. The dad shared the details and his perspective here and the mom later added her perspective here.

The story, in a nutshell, is that they discovered the 5-year-old boy they were trying to adopt had been abusing their toddler-aged daughter. A history and pattern of abuse emerged, something that’s sadly not uncommon for institutionalized children. They had to make the painful decision to relinquish the child and ultimately chose to return to the United States.

The family has a deep Christian faith—and I only share that because if you’re not a person of faith you might find their perspective a little jarring. As a Christian myself I found it a little jarring, though perhaps that’s only because if I were in their shoes I would have been full of holy rage. They share a question they felt God had been asking them since they started this process—Do you trust me with your children?—and in the light of all this I marvel that they can still trust God. I’d be pretty shaken. I imagine they’ve processed a lot in their six months of silence and an entirely different post would have been written six months ago, perhaps laced with the anger I’m feeling.

At any rate, I’m praying for them and hope they’re able to put themselves back together after this five-year attempt at adoption comes to an end. I’m also pretty impressed with their bravery. I’d be tempted to crawl into that cave of silence and never come out.

Brokenness and pain in some form or another is what causes the need for adoption. In the end, hopefully lives can be put back together and some semblance of healing is found. And sometimes, horribly, that brokenness and pain only spreads. I don’t have an answer for it, other than to say that shouldn’t dissuade us. Pain, brokenness and abuse can happen, whether your children are adopted or biological. We can’t ignore these painful realities of adoption or allow them to turn our back on the millions of kids in this world who need permanent, loving families.

Bad stuff happens. And it makes me mad. It makes me crave redemption, healing and restoration all the more. It makes the need for adoption that much greater. It makes the need for addressing what causes children to be adopted in the first place—poverty, disease, death, abuse—that much more important.

I think I’m trying to say that anger is right and good in response to something like this. But in addition to that anger, we also need action.

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