I've decided that being a foster parent is a thankless job, and if it is done right, than it ultimately will mean great pain and great loss. I saw it in Melinda when she said Goodbye to Abby and I saw it again today. I don't even know their names. But as I was celebrating a beginning, they were grieving an end. I witnessed the selfless love of two people and I will never forget the beauty I saw in their tears. I see their love reflected in the heart of my little girl and realize that her loss, too, is greater than I can imagine.
I gain. They lose.
While adoption is a beautiful picture of redemption, it is also a painful reminder of the devastation sin brought into our world and it's overwhelming consequences on the very weakest among us. Redemption always includes loss. Sometimes I like to glamorize my role in the process and exaggerate the costs of adoption to me personally. But if I am honest, I know that in this particular process, I am the biggest winner of all!
Rebekah's birth mother lost. While I can not begin to understand the reasons any mother would abandon her two and a half year old to wander in a park alone and likely resign them to a lifetime as an orphan, I can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she did so with great pain. I have only known her precious daughter for a few days now, and the joy she brings to life is undeniable. What a void her abandonment must have left in her mother's heart. Her great loss breaks my heart more and more as I embrace the incredible gain of this precious child's redemption.
|Two year old PingPing was found wandering near the entrance of this park on July 24, 2011|
Now the people that loved her and cared for her and wanted her good lose too! Sadly, they have known great loss before this one, which makes this redemption through adoption more painful still... Rebekah's foster parents were an elderly couple that she affectionately called "YeYe" and "NiNi" (Grandpa and Grandma). They had two children of their own that were both lost in a tragic car accident, leaving them childless. So they agreed to foster orphans and pour out their love onto them instead. I can see their love and affection in Rebekah and the way she is willing to turn to me in her hurting. But the depth of Rebekah's loss I see in her grieving only portrays the even greater loss these precious people must feel today as "their little girl" is ushered to her new home far away. They had not wanted to be there for her Gotcha Moment, because they feared parting would be too difficult, but we were already at the orphanage when they arrived with her, so they were forced to do so anyway. They wept as they met us and then as they said goodbye. I will never forget them. I will never forget the great gain for Rebekah or for us, as her family, that has now become their loss...
The most devastating loser in this redemption story is also the sweet recipient of it! Rebekah did not choose her loss- nor was it the consequence of her own sin. She has suffered loss after loss after loss before ever meeting us and the losses to her will always be a part of her story. Only hours after she left the arms of her foster parents, our guide took us to the park where she had been left three and a half years ago, at the age of two. It was an expansive, picturesque park and we made our way to the very place Rebekah was found, likely in tears because she couldn't find her Mama.
Not thinking about the impact this might have on Rebekah emotionally, we sat her alone in that place for photos. Suddenly I was awakened to my stupidly! This precious child had only left the safety of her beloved foster parents hours before and she now stood in the very place she had been abandoned as a little girl, far too young to even understand what was happening to her! I hurried and scooped her up to reassure her that her Mommy would never leave her alone again. I asked my guide to translate on my behalf. "You don't have to be afraid, Ping Ping," she said. "Your Mama will never leave you!" Rebekah's answer broke my heart and reminded me of the loss she remembered well... "My Mama already left." She told my guide.
I wept for her as we walked around the park hand in hand and then marveled as she shared her bubbles joyfully with a younger boy she befriended. A crowd gathered, as they all admired her tenderness and joy in spite of her obvious disability. May God use those moments to reshape the hearts and minds of a people convinced by their culture that the weak are unwanted! Otherwise, they too become a part of this tragic loss as well.
My gains in this redemption story are incalculable! I have rarely been as acutely aware of the indescribable gift of the precious children the world has written off as too disabled; too needy; too much expected hardship to sacrifice for. Instead, the world's losses are an incomprehensible gain to those of us who will put ourselves in a position to be the hands and feet of Christ' redemption to a dying world.
Thank you Lord for this indescribable gift!