I hate to say this out loud, but I really can't stand it when people tell me they "have always wanted to adopt". Because one time I said, "I've always wanted to spend a week at the beach" and by golly I DID IT! It was awesome. I plan to do it again. I think what people really mean when they say this is, "I've always wanted to WANT to adopt" and truthfully that would be easier for me to hear. And the real kicker is that when they say this they are likely envisioning the fairy tale hallmark version of adoption portrayed in the lifetime original moving starring Tori Spelling. I'm only saying that because that is the version I thought I was signing up for. I had no idea what it would look like to bring trauma into our family. THANK GOODNESS! If I had known what I was signing up for I may have never done it. God knew what I needed to learn and He knew exactly which kids I needed to teach me. So, if people really only want to WANT to adopt and the adopt they are envisioning isn't even half a percent as hard as the actual thing then how in the big wide world are we suppposed to encourage people to step out in faith and actually do it? How can I say that adoption is the most grueling, gutwrenching, agonizingly difficult thing I have ever been a part of, but it is also the most beautiful, perfect, life affirming thing I have ever done? How do I explain to people what it means to parent a child permanently damaged by prenatal trauma and early childhood loss and grief? I find myself pulled in two directions. I am angry at adoption agencies that provide little training on trauma and attachment pre-adoption and little to no post adoption support. But where in the conversation in which I encourage someone to adopt do I insert the fact that your adopted child will likely throw things at you, curse you, threaten you and other family members, find every button you have and push it until you break or go insane, and in general sabotage every peaceful happy moment you have until they have proven to themselves or you have proven to them that you will still love them even after they do all that? It can't be my opener that's for sure! Fortunately with our little RADish we are on the path to healing. We are finally (having been his parents for 9 YEARS) beginning to see the real boy behind the fear, anger and shame that RAD had caused. So, I actually can say the good things about adoption because I finally am starting to believe them again myself. There were some dark years when I would've told anyone wanting to adopt to reconsider. It was only slightly humorous of God to ask ME to do it again smack in the middle of them. I can hear Jesus now. "Peter do you love me?" Thank you Lord for redemption. Constant, recurring, life-affirming redemption. But is it ever an ugly process. Hurt kids are hard to live with. You are inviting some serious ugly over for dinner if you welcome them into your home. All that stuff you won't let your kids watch on TV - well, these kids will live it out in full blown 3-D right in your living room. It is messy and dark and all out soul-sucking HARD work to help them heal. You have to let go of all the pictures you had in your head of the perfect family. Heck, forget perfect, you won't even be "normal". Other parents will be talking honor roll and sporting events and you will be shampooing the pee out of the carpets and getting quotes for replacement windows. And no, you don't have a puppy, and yes those holes are BB sized. But oh the JOY. Today my RAdlet came to me after a rage, snuggled up and hugged me and brought me a snack. A peace offering if you will. And when I realized that love was oozing out of me for this boy I nearly cried. There was a day when I was convinced I would never love this child. But here it was. Fierce, Mama Bear kind of love for this son of mine who I have fought for, cried over, prayed for, battled demons for. My son. My boy. Who loves me so much he's scared to death to let me see it. How do I tell you what this kind of love feels like? "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friend." When you adopt a child you are laying down your life. You won't like it. But it will be the best thing that ever happened to you.