Sunday, December 2, 2012

Love, Loss, and Forever

When God burdened our hearts about orphans abroad who have Down syndrome and compelled us to act, we never anticipated that our child would already be living in a family. We believed that we would pursue a child in an institution. 

Because of Reece's Rainbow, we knew that kids with Ds are abandoned at birth and relinquished to orphanages where they live until they are about five-years-old. Then they are put into a vehicle and driven to an adult mental institution to live out their days. 

When we set out to adopt one of these precious kids, it was with that picture in our hearts. 

But then, of the hundreds of pictures of little boys, I couldn't choose one....certainly not one over another.  

With the suggestion of a friend, we were led to Serbia, as they have a semi-blind referral system, meaning you don't get any information on a child until they receive your dossier and you are approved. 

Once we saw this video of Serbian mental institutions, we knew we'd made the right choice. 

As we waited for approval, I often thought about what it would be like to step into the institution or orphanage to meet our son. I tried to steel myself against the heartbreak I would experience there, yet, I really looked forward to bringing that experience home with me to better advocate for those kids.

Imagine my surprise when, of the three boys for whom we received information, all of them are currently in foster care.

Foster care? I didn't even know that was a choice in Serbia until half way through our process. Serbia is working hard to comply with laws that were established in 2005 and change is slow, but apparently they are moving forward.

The bottom line is that we are saving a child from an institution. Our son's future was institutional life eventually, if not for our intervention. Also, by bringing him home, we are opening a spot in the foster home for another child.  

But it's not what we were expecting. 

Now, I'm preparing my heart for a different sort of heartbreak. I do not relish taking him from the people he loves and who undoubtedly love him. Adoption is loss, always, before it becomes great gain.

But this seems too much. 

It will hurt him to leave them. It will cause him confusion and pain. His grief will break my heart. It hurts me already because I am his momma. I can't bear to think of what this will cost him, in the short term. I have been praying for that moment and praying that God will prepare his heart and the heart of his foster momma, even now.

But, I am reminded in this post by Missy that the love those people have for him is less than the "unmeasurable, unending, my-heart-would-never-mend-if-I-lost-you love" that he deserves. They care for him, I'm sure, and he will leave a void, but it's a void that will be filled again by the next child. "It is a poor substitute for the love of a mother, whose heart would never fully mend if she were to lose her child." He doesn't know it yet, but he needs, and his soul yearns for, the forever love of our family.  

More from Missy's post:

Aaron Ivey says,
The call of orphan care is not a call to simply "save the orphan". The call of orphan care is to share in the suffering of the orphan. It's to intentionally position yourself, your family, your community, to suffer alongside the orphan. To say, 'Your suffering, is now my suffering. Your story, is now my story. I willingly position myself to suffer alongside you.'
 I, too, hear the call sweet boy. Your suffering is now my suffering. Your story is now my story.
"Because the love you know right now? It is not enough."


  1. I can tell you Tara - that bond that develops from sharing in their suffering is like no other.

  2. and he is getting a forever family and the foster family will save another child from the institution... God has a plan...
    kim shepherd