The Lie That Love is Enough

Five years ago today, I met my son.

No, I didn't bring him into this world five years ago, another Mama did that. I just met him. I went and got him.

So, we call today his Gotchya Day, and we celebrate it with a donut in bed. I tell him the story of his birth (the little that I know) and the story of our first meeting him. He loves every minute o it and thinks he is awesome.

Something in the back of my heart is keenly aware, though, that it won't always be this easy, or this fun, to tell his story. My guess is that he will reach a point in his pre-adolescent identity crisis where a donut and a story from his white mother won't cut it.

In a way I look forward to the day that we will hash this thing out, the day when we talk about the tragedy and the miracle that is adoption. It will almost be a relief to say out loud that being separated from the woman who grew you into a person is an actual tragedy. It will be a relief to affirm what I assume he will always feel but not be able to articulate.

I say it will be a relief because I feel so much pressure to do this adoption thing right. I just want to do it honestly, and give him permission to do it honestly. To grieve, to be angry, to be thankful, and to forgive... just to feel whatever it is, with authenticity and unabashed freedom. I will feel relieved when the temptation to shape his perspective on his experience is gone. I will always want to positively shape his experience, but I look forward to no longer having any say over his perspective.

Gone will be the days when he asks me "is it hard when you don't match your mommy and daddy?" By then, he will know that it is, his perspective will be formed and there is something freeing about that. As terrifying as it is, there is something appealing in just getting to that hard truth of it all and taking it from there.

I am certain that some of you may be thinking what many have already said to me: "Does it have to be such a big deal? Can't you just parent your adopted children the same way you parent your biological children? Isn't love what matters? Isn't love enough?"

The answer is no. Love isn't enough.

Sorry to blow the fairy tale wide open, but the way people love - the way I love - just ain't gonna cut it. People love too imperfectly to heal wounds that deep. People love with expectations and selfish motives and busy schedules and fearfulness and baggage of their own. At my best, I got donuts and a desire to do life and adoption honestly. At my worst, I am totally useless. I don't know what the fairytalers' lovin' looks like, but in my world... love isn't even close to being enough.

So, we did donuts and the story of how we "Gotchya" and for the first time, we watched the home video of meeting Harper. And holding him close while he saw himself as a newborn for the first time, it was sacred.

The thing I realized today was that not only is love not enough, but all of my intentionality and my effort and my communication isn't enough either. The bottom line is that nothing I try to do will prevent Harper from experiencing the pain he will eventually have to process. Love isn't enough, and neither are hope or good intentions.

So I thank the God I love for being enough. For being the one and only one Parent that has been with him, start to finish. I thank Him for His love, which is perfect and pure and whole. I thank Him for creating such a remarkably gifted boy, and for the joy and responsibility of raising him.

Saying "love is enough" is a joke and a lie and it sets us all up for some serious disappointment when we are loved well by another person, and still feel broken and empty. So, I thank God that He actually is enough, so that my love doesn't have to be.