Sunday, January 31, 2016

A lesson on love

There are some verses of the Bible which are so well known they become intertwined with secular culture. It like everyone just kind of agrees, independently of religion, that this is just a basic truth of the universe.

One such verse, in my opinion, is 1 Corinthians 4-7.

Yes, the verse everyone and their mama has read at their wedding. I know we had the preacher read it at mine!

There is no denying this verse is beautiful. If it weren't I doubt it would be such a popular reading at weddings and anniversaries. My non-religious friends actually had it read at their wedding because they liked the sentiment and my brother, whom is not religious in the least, has hinted at possibly using it in his wedding this summer.

Bottom line, we in Western culture have pretty much accepted this verse as an instruction manual for perfect romantic love. And it is a tall order.

However, lately I have been studying this verse with a new lens and it has completely blown my mind.

That lens, of course, is the lens of a potential adoptive parent.

"Love is PATIENT, love is KIND": There is no patience quite like that of the person waiting for the day they can welcome their child into their family through adoption. First, the waiting involved with infertility. Then, the waiting between trainings and paperwork and certifications and homestudy writing and matching. If it were not wrapped in unconditional love for a child (or children) not yet met, I doubt many would be able to endure it.

"Love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way. It is not irritable or resentful": There is a sort of forced humility which comes from trying to adopt after infertility. You come to realize that, if it were not for some sacrifice or trauma on the part of another, you would never be able to grow your family. It's hard to be rude or boastful after coming to that realization, and it's almost impossible to insist on your own way. You come to love and respect the journey others are walking which will eventually bring you to your child.

"It does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth.": As someone planning to adopt from foster care, this part hits me particularly strongly. I know my children will come to me due to some type of trauma. Without that trauma they would never become mine. Nobody involved in this adoption triad is grateful for that trauma. Nobody is happy about the circumstances that cause biological parent and biological child to be separated. However, we all rejoice in the truth that this child is loved enough by everyone involved to receive the opportunity to heal and thrive. 

"It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.":  If you have seen the mountain of paperwork adoptive parents must fill out just to be eligible for a homestudy, you would understand this last part. Adoptive parents go through several different rounds of education, paperwork, meetings, interviews, etc. just to be considered as a possible match for a child. These are good things designed to help keep adopted children safe in the long run and they are generally good things. However, it is a long journey. Sometimes it's hard to deal with the fact that we must attend ANOTHER training or fill out yet ANOTHER form to become parents. It's our belief and hope that we will eventually grow our family that gets us through those particularly rough days. 

I may not always love this journey, but this journey has taught me more about my capacity for love than I ever thought possible. 

Someday (maybe even someday soon) Steve and I will bring our children home and it will be one of the most joyful days of our lives. That joy will come from a well of abundant, unconditional love cultivated during this period of waiting.