“Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be”.
Stories are powerful. Jesus loved them. Look at the way He used stories to teach his disciples and the multitudes. But he had another purpose; to create receptive hearts in his listeners. Stories link our hearts to the sacred.
Our story is sacred. And so is our child’s.
During her junior year in high school my daughter gave an oral presentation in class that included information about her adoption. When she had finished her teacher blurted out, as my daughter continued to stand in front of her classmates, “do you know why your mother didn’t want you?”
Be still my raging, mother’s heart!
That teacher didn’t understand sacred stories.
We’ve lost the sacredness of personal stories in our tell-all-world. Boundaries blur between public and private. Check-out stands bombard us with lurid details of sordid lives. When did we start to believe we had a right to know everything about everyone?
As adults, we can choose what we share about ourselves and with whom we share it. Not true for our young children; we’re the keeper of their story. We must acknowledge that it’s sacred, keep it private, and decide what we will tell others.
Family and friends are curious; so are people we scarcely know. It’s easy to share our adoption story without thinking, deeming the casual acquaintance equally entitled to private details. Even Christian friends who pray for us may feel entitled to privileged information about our child’s birth parents and their lives.
But birth parent stories are sacred, too.
As adoptive parents we make decisions about the race of our child, birth parent medical and social history, pre-natal drug and alcohol use, financial assistance, and what type of legal risk we can assume. This looks academic. But to a child, each decision represents a profound piece of their story - the story that God began to write when He saw their unformed body. He knew each of our children by name, before they were born, and invited us to step into their sacred story – not as bystanders, but co-authors.
Create a receptive heart in me, Father, as I consider the stories you’re writing. The mystery of grief, loss and redemption in adoption is more than my heart can absorb. Help me become a faithful-keeper – and a compassionate co-author, of my child’s sacred story.