15 years ago Lori and I could never have imagined where God would take our family. We were young and carefree, we had the world at our fingertips. There were times when even still I look back and grit my teeth a little bit. This struggle between wanting what the world had to offer and living our lives as God has called us too is altogether real, it is war, brutal and relentless as we constantly find ourselves dying to our own desires in order to make room for the desires of God. The existing paradox is that while in real war the goal is not to die, yet in this war we must die “for anyone that loses his life for my sake will find it”. There is no doubt that we have found life and life abundant. We have both been adopted into this fold of God and he has added joy upon joy as result. The truth is, our adoption was not easy, there are times when we still (me especially) struggle with what is known as an orphan spirit. The residual effect of having lived for so long without an eternal family or an eternal father. We are slowly adapting to this life, learning to trust all over again and realizing that those people from our past who may have told us they would always be there, that they would never hurt us, never forsake us, the ones that professed to love us, we know now only did so because of what we might offer them. Those people never truly had our best interest at heart. This makes it hard to accept the unconditional love that is offered now and always to any that will accept it.
What I am learning is that adoption as far as this life is concerned is no different. Ty having been adopted is now adapting. He too is learning what has taken Lori and I so long to learn ourselves. Last night I talked with Ty about his past. He opened up and talked with me as well about mine. We are cut from the same cloth so to speak as we both had major challenges to overcome, challenges that many children who have been blessed with a family in Christ will never know. The challenges have become a blessing in that they allow for a deeper vision and insight into the suffering of others. Where one man might see a normal happy child, another might see a child who is immersed in great suffering. Yes, he finally opened up and talked, he talked about his suffering as an orphan and about some of the things that had happened to him as an orphan. I assured him that those things are not who he is, rather he is my son, he is Ty Denton, he is a young man that had bad things happen to him but he is not those things, they do not define him and I will make D$#N sure they never do.
Ty is adapting to this change as we are adapting as well, because adoption will always equal adaption. If you fail to adapt and accept that things in your family will always be different when you bring a hurting child into the fold I can assure you the failure rate is high. If we fail to adapt to the reality that all of the preconceived fairy tales that we created in our minds before the adoption will never play out like we planned then we will fold and in the process grow so frustrated that we may even begin to resent the child we swore to love.
I can only ask for patience, not only for myself but for you. When you see my Son and wonder why sometimes he may act a certain way, he may do things that other children do not, he may act out and strive for attention to such an extent that it actually gets annoying, he may say things at inappropriate times trying his hardest to get a laugh that he can file away as approval and acceptance. Remember that he was adopted and adopted children are adopted for a reason, because up to that point things in their life were not well. In the end I will always be his greatest defender. Nothing personal but I am perfectly willing to lose friendships and even family over my son. Know also that what has happened to an orphan is none your business so don’t bother asking. If you see a child that has been adopted from a foreign country and doesn’t appear to have any physical deformities and wonder why he/she was placed up for adoption; again its nothing personal but it is simply just not your business, so don’t ask. If at some point the child wants to talk to you about his past he/she will, but they will do it on their terms. It is their story to tell not mine or any other adoptive parents, so don’t ask.