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Tales of Inspiration

I knew from a young age that I was different.  I seem to have always hated conforming.  Sometimes I wished I could because it would have been easier, but I have convictions about being honest with myself as often as possible, whether others respect or appreciate that or not.  I’ve always liked the idea of doing what most people probably wouldn’t even consider doing, though I have not always been brave enough to actually follow through.  I’ve also always had a desire to show compassion to others and to stand up for those unable to stand up for themselves.  It is then no surprise that I was inspired by muses which would not be considered normal for inspiration, or at least probably not in the way I found them inspiring.  Am I rambling now?  Sorry.

My favorite movie as a child was Annie.  I had it memorized and could sing, and usually did sing-much to my sisters’ dismay- every song from the soundtrack.  I liked Annie, and I loved her story.  She was an orphan who found a home. I don’t think I knew what an orphan was before that movie came into my life, but I was intrigued.  I was saddened to learn her real parents had actually died, but happy in her finding a home where she would be loved by all.  It was a happy ending for her, but I also remember making up an ending in my head which included all of the other orphans getting adopted as well.  They all needed homes and parents to love them, give them new lockets, and throw them huge parties at the finale.

Annie was not the only inspiration I got from my childhood in the 80’s.  My favorite character on The Facts of Life was Natalie, and she was adopted.  Different Strokes had a twist on the adoption story where a rich white man took in two poor and orphaned black boys.  He loved them as his own; it was great and almost controversial.  I cannot remember many other specific shows or movies (I think there was one called Rags to Riches which was also musical), but there always seemed to be stories such as these to pique my interest in the world of adoption.

Yet, not all of my inspiration came from fictional rich white guys in New York City adopting orphans. There are a few biblical stories I also remember pondering.  In order to save Moses’s life, his mother had to give him up; she placed him in a basket, and sent him down the river in hopes someone would rescue and keep him.  God guided that basket to the Pharaoh’s daughter.  She raised him as her own and he grew up living as royalty.  Had this not happened, God could not have used him to liberate the Jews from Egypt.

Another biblical character who was adopted, in a sense, is Jesus.  Yep.  He had a heavenly father, God, who sent Him to be born as a human, and taken in by a human family.  Mary gave birth to him, but she was basically an adoptive mother.  And Joseph… well he had to get a visit from an angel in order to decide adopting Jesus was the right thing to do.  After all, he knew he was not the father.  Now, because of that “adoption” we are now able to be adopted by God once we accept Him into our lives.  Oh, the power of adoption, of opening one’s heart to the otherwise neglected.

Because of these stories and realities being a part of my childhood, I remember telling a friend of mine, back when we were in middle school, that I was going to adopt children instead of having my own so that I could help orphans find love.

I had forgotten about that until a few years ago, when I started being plagued by the concerns by others of my lack of procreation.  I kept thinking that it was odd that I never had a desire to conceive my own child.  Seriously, what was wrong with me?  What kind of woman does not feel the need to create new life?  Why did God not see me as fit to be part of this natural process of life?  It started to bother me.  But then I realized that God had other plans for me.  Not everyone would be comfortable taking in a child not of their own flesh, but I would actually prefer it.  God makes us all for a purpose, and those orphans need someone to want them.  So again I find myself wanting not to conform, but to stand up for and love those who need love.

Adoption is like a box of chocolates…

You know the rest.

Cliche?  Perhaps.  Effective and truthful statement?  I believe so.  But then again, almost anything in life holds true in this statement, which is what makes life so interesting, isn’t it?

Someone I truly respect once said something to me which broke my heart. It was an unexpected statement from this person, and when I say my heart broke, I mean not for myself, but for all the orphans out there.  The words haunt me.

In one of those conversations about my husband and I not having children I revealed that if we were ever going to have a child it would be through adoption.  The reply to this was, “Why would you want to do that?  You never know what you’ll get.”

Read that again and let it sink in.

I was nearly speechless and just responded that all children need to be loved.

Is this an argument of nature versus nurture?  I think most people these days believe both play a nearly equal part in child development.  Isn’t it true that you don’t always know what you’ll get even if the child is yours biologically?  I’ve seen some kids grow up nothing like their caretakers.  We all inherit certain traits and tendencies, but we also have our own personalities and free will.  There are good people out there with bad kids, and bad people out there with good kids.  I just cannot understand the comment made to me that day.

This week I made a discovery to help defend my side.  I was reading a random article online about Steve Jobs’s passing.  There was mention of him being adopted.  So I looked a bit further into it. Sure enough- Steve Jobs was an adopted child.  I immediately emailed my husband and said, “What kind of child can you get if you adopt?  Maybe a genious who can make lots of money!”  This discovery created a small victory in my mind, and now I have ammunition.  I think Robert also appreciated this because his heart had been broken that day too.

It had never occurred to me that anyone would view adoption as a bad thing to do.  There are children out there without families.  How can it be bad to want to take one in and give her (or him) a family?  They are children.  They will grow up to be adults, perhaps having their own children one day.  Don’t they deserve the same love as children with their biological parents?  They have already been given the short end of the stick, so to speak.  But there are people with a desire and capacity to take in orphans and love them.  That is a good thing.  After all, Jesus said, “And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me,”  (Matthew 18:5 NLT) and Jesus has never been wrong.  He’s Jesus!  Even people who aren’t Christians can admit Jesus was a good, loving man.

More scriptures to prove my point: Isaiah 1:17 NLT  “Learn to do good.  Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.”

Psalm 82:3 NLT “Give justice to the poor and the orphan; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute.”

I recently had a conversation with a near stranger who brought up an interesting argument against adoption. He said he had his own children and also had adopted a child from his wife’s former marriage.  He said he loved them all, but there was always a difference and he knew he didn’t love the adopted child as much as his own.  How sad!  I said my solution to this was that I guess I just shouldn’t have my own then, so I would never know the difference.

My husband and I were recently watching an old episode of Mad Men and a wife was making a plea to her husband in favor of adoption.  I liked what she said.  It was something like this: “Honey, we don’t have a drop of the same blood, but you love me.”

I guess it’s true that I won’t know how the child I adopt will turn out, and especially since I want to adopt a slightly older child, I may risk that this child has been through some tough life experiences early on, but the future is uncertain for everyone, yet we continue to live our lives. If I can just reach out and give love, it will have to make some difference. I know it’s not the same, but when we adopted our dogs, we didn’t really know what we were going to get, but they fill my husband’s and my life with joy.