Imago

Here’s a thing I’ve been thinking lately. It’s about to get fairly personal, but like, some things are just so universal I don’t know why we try to hide them all the time. We’ve all been through health class. And if you can relate, awesome, and if you can’t, maybe you can a little better after reading this, relate to other people I mean, so what harm is there in being honest?

Anyway, I have been wondering, what if this month is different. If you know what I mean. Because as many times as I try to tell myself to just move forward and quit dwelling, every month, I do. I keep wondering, what if it’s different. What if this is why it took so long to get our license? What if it’s all providential timing of some sort?

But the thing is, I have been thinking a smidge, what if I DID get pregnant. (FUN FACT: I’M NOT. But the possibility remains… a possibility. As it has been for five full years, so let’s not hold our breath.)

Lovely, well-intentioned people always alllllllways have a story of somebody who got pregnant after adoption, or after starting the process moving forwards toward adoption, like “once you let go of the idea it so often just HAPPENS!!!!!” Yaaaaaaay. But the thing is, if that were to happen, it would be SO important for me, and it’d be hard for me not to just like blast this across the universe in a really passive aggressive way, to tell people DO NOT act like this is so much better than adopting again. Don’t act like we were rescued from doing it “the hard way” by having this happen “the easy way.” Don’t you dare dare DARE act like we should be so grateful that we conceived rather than adopting again. I’m going to be honest – I will be happy if it happens, because obviously, but I will have a hard time being happy in public, because it will be so hard for me to communicate to people about just how/why I’m happy and the ways that AREN’T how/why. We honestly wanted to adopt before we ever even tried the “old fashioned way.” We thought we might do both, or we’d just see. Maybe we’re weird that way. And the more we’ve learned about adoption, and the more God has taught us himself, the more we’ve wanted to do it.

I don’t think anyone would say this but in their minds they’d halfway think Now she won’t have to go through what she went through again. And it’s hard to convey, because I have whinged and moaned worse than anyone on the planet and I was trying to be truthful and I was (truthful), but I don’t know – it’s like it’s not even related.

A future fetus (if it were to come to pass) is a person, and our son is a different person. And whatever person might be placed in our home, temporarily or permanently, through foster care this go-round, is another person. As for me, I cannot value these people differently. I cannot act like one is better than the other. I genuinely cannot. I cannot back-bend my brain into trying to think of a person with Dane’s and my genetics as in some way superior to whatever other person we might have the privilege to parent. I would not be, like, grateful about it; it would be one path versus another.

Here’s the thing. I used to be freaked out by the idea of Heaven, because infinity is unbelievably, (to me) oppressively incomprehensible, and I think in the back of my mind there was an aspect of monotony, because what could there possibly be in actual existence that would not get old, when given infinite time?

And the answer is – God. Right? Basically? And in another sense, people, who are made in the image of God, except God is infinite, so there are infinity people, all with a crazy slew of collections of characteristics. Like, to put it in a slightly-less-abstract although still-technically-impossible way, what if we thought of God as basically every possible combination of genetic code. (Except he’s even more infinite than that.) And think about the ways that genes plus environment and experiences make people so unimaginably varied, and God is basically just ALL of those things, but uncorrupted and unblemished, and then some, and you could literally spend eternity exploring it all.

But you can start now, and you’ll continue then, with exploring the infinite combinations of traits and qualities and surprising, fascinating, heart-breaking, frustrating bits and pieces that make up us.

I hope that the rest of my life is just exploring that, basically. Making friends in elementary school, traveling to Europe in 5th grade, watching my sisters grow up, liking boys, seeing people hurt and left out and bullied and hurting for them myself and too often not doing anything about it, traveling to Costa Rica in high school, studying anthropology and psychology and history in college, studying racial politics and an entire class in college on what made average German citizens reach the point of committing Nazi atrocities (= humanizing the villains), working in jobs, always trying to make new friends, traveling, traveling, traveling, meeting these infinitely varied human messes, watching, learning, asking, listening, loving.

So far, in my personal life, this has almost kind of culminated in fostering and adopting. The ultimate up-close study, to put it dryly, except it’s anything but dry. Watching a total stranger, a tiny lump of barely-able-to-cry, unable-to-communicate, squishy helpless mass, develop into such a fascinating, strong, hilarious little human. Learning more and more about his family, his background, how people get to where they are. And then another total stranger, another set of incredibly complex circumstances bringing him to where he was, and then to where he is now, and none of which can remotely account for the him-ness of him.

How much of God is in every person, each of whom was made in his image? What causes that to be broken, desolated, distorted, suffocated? How can we find it, and honor it, and be part of the redemption process, to bring it back out?

It’s hard to see the world this way and I fail allllllllll the time. It’s something I want to work on until the end of my days, whenever that is. Looking for the image of God in every human. This perspective has shaped my ideas about current US politics, about church structure, about TV shows I try to watch, about ISIS and Boko Haram, about the other moms sitting by me at the Chick Fil A playground.

And definitely about babies, namely which ones do and don’t become a part of our family. I just can’t have some mental rubric, or like one method of family addition that’s “better” than another. But don’t you dare hear me say that adoption is the only way to do this. That’s absurd.


*It should be noted here that adoption/fostering IS a big investment. There are definitely those who fight and fight hard for biological children and certainly invest precious personal resources in other facets of ministry, and I am not even remotely trying to presume to denigrate that, in any sense. If your reaction to this is “You don’t know my life!” then my answer is “Nope – I really certainly don’t.” Please don’t take this as any type of criticism, I am just attempting to address the innate value of human life, and I am not ignorant or ridiculous enough to think that no one but adoptive parents is capable of seeing that. We have personally come so far in this process and obviously already added to our family through adoption, and to me we’re already a part of this world, so for us it’s so clearly set on a level playing field – bios vs. adoption.

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