{Honestly} Adoption is magical, because family is

Eyes of adoption

When I laid Benjamin down in his crib last night and was adjusting his blanket over him, he stared up at me with those eyes.

His gorgeous, searching, knowing, deep eyes were the first thing I noticed about him, probably because in the first picture we saw he was trying to chew on his fists, which obscured his nose and mouth.

Those eyes were the ones that looked at me wary, scared, nervous when he was handed to me in Uganda. Those eyes used to get so serious whenever anyone held him for the first time. His body would quiet and his eyes would search the person’s face, look around, confused. It was far too serious a look for an 8-month-old to know.

Now if someone else tries to hold him, his eyes lock on mine, searching for an answer. Is this okay? Then sometimes he decides it isn’t and runs back to me. And that’s okay, too. More than okay. That’s exactly right.

It’s his eyes I see when he’s getting into mischief, the kind that’s purely and simply to test the limits, to see what I’ll say this time. He touches the toilet lid, pauses, looks back for my eyes, mischief in his. He starts playing with the oven buttons, looks at me with that wild curiosity, daring me. His eyes are knowing, searching, full of love, full of wonder.

Then last night, as he stared up at me, I cupped his cheek in my hand, gave his head a little nuzzle and whispered, “I love you, buddy.”

He’s just learning to talk, forming vowels in imitation, and he kept staring up at me as he whispered, “Ahhh-yooou.”

It was one of those magical moments between parent and child. It was a moment I used to wonder if I’d ever have with Benjamin, in those early days when I was learning about my own struggles with attachment. But there we were, and it was all I could do to tiptoe out and shut the door softly instead of scooping him up again and pulling him close to me.

Those eyes used to show pain, hurt, betrayal. Now they show knowing, understanding, love.

But isn’t that the way with family? We’re all longing for some taste of the Great Big Love we know is out there somewhere, and we search for God but also cling to those closest to us.

The quantity of love I feel for all my kids is the same. But with Benjamin, there’s a slightly different quality there because of our history. I know what his eyes used to search for, and I know he’s been found in mine. It’s not a fairy tale fantasy, but it is magical, because love always is, especially when it surprises us, especially when we have to fight for it.

Ahhh-yooou too, buddy.


Linking with Heather.

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5 comments on “{Honestly} Adoption is magical, because family is

  1. Oh, precious.


  2. CJ says:

    My middle daughter was adopted out of the foster care system. She came to me at thirteen months of age and she was NOT happy about life in general. It’s amazing how love and family can turn a child’s life around!

  3. this was beautiful. i am an adopted child and now an adult who is wrestling through the deep language of those early years. i love this moment between you and your son and all that exists between the two of you. it is every child’s air and water, to know they are loved.

  4. Love. Love. Love. He has the cutest little face!

  5. Beautiful. I love reading stories well told about international adoption, thoughtful stories about work and love and attachment. This one is just that.