Tuesday, 18 October 2011
Things they don’t tell you
It was the thought that kept running through my head two nights ago, as I was bleaching the bathtub after what I called a “contamination situation:”
They never tell you about THIS.
When you’re thinking of having kids, when you’re pregnant or adopting and dreaming of the future, it’s not polite to bring up poo in the bathtub. Or if your hilarious friend does talk about it at the baby shower, everyone laughs like it’s an inside joke and you think it’s sort of funny in an “eeewww” kind of way, but the thought that it might (will) happen to you, and especially how exactly that will look, is pushed out by so many details, baby outfits, schedule concerns, when did he eat last, does he need a new diaper?
Or like my friend said when we were shopping together and I pointed out a string bikini I should maybe consider, a hilarious joke. We laughed and laughed, because our bodies have housed two babies each and though I’m crazy jealous of women whose skin can stretch and stretch and then spring back like a quality rubber band, showing my midriff in public is just something that will never happen again.
She said, “They don’t tell you about this. They don’t tell you your kids will WRECK you.”
And I suppose it’s like anything important and epic, any story that is chapters long over a lifetime: You have to experience it one detail at a time. If you could see all the messes you’d be cleaning up, the heartache, how it would really feel and the things you would cry over, you might stop trying for kids before you start. If casual conversation was an acceptable place to bring up all the ways a pregnancy changes your body forever and ever, many women would decide to never do that to themselves.
I get it. We can’t cover all of it, and you don’t want to scare anyone out of having kids. Even so, I think adoption is different.
I think we need to tell our stories, to give the whole truth, to not hide the tough or painful or wrenching parts that make you feel like your heart’s about to rip out. If we clean them up, talk of only the redemption and love and healing, we make it looks like a Disney movie. But when you’re in it, you realize that there’s no hero, and there’s no child-in-distress, at least not in the simple, clean-cut way you imagine in the beginning. It’s so much messier than you thought, and everything that looked so black-and-white in the beginning dissolves into gradations, into fuzzy gray and you don’t know what’s wrong and right anymore. The only thing you know for sure? is you aren’t cut out for this.
And THAT is the truth we need to tell.
The truth that will point not to ourselves but to our miracle-working God is that even in our brokenness, even though our child is hurting, even though we’re not perfect and we will fail them in the first day we meet, God is in the business of redemption. And through adoption, he can redeem even me. I’m not the savior here.
When we get honest about adoption and say the things out loud that no one ever told us, we can get out of the way and point to the only One who can rescue any of us.
Let’s not hold back. If you’ve adopted and a friend is sitting across from you asking what it’s really like, get into the details. Talk about the mess and the pain and the beauty and the joy, talk about what you’re learning about yourself. Do her a favor and tell her everything. Then leave it to the Holy Spirit to lead her into his plan in his time.
How about you? Are you the type to spill everything when asked, or do you hold back? Why?