Father to Son: One Father's Journey from Adopting to Adopted
- Friday, July 02, 2010
The year I graduated high school my parents decided to follow in the growing evangelical trend of foster care, and for the first time I had "brothers". DJ and Ozley (as whimsical as the wizard he is named for) quickly settled into our hearts and home which they tore through daily with the little-boy thunder of a pair of tumbleweeds. If need be, we would have adopted them in a heartbeat.
Many families in our circle of friends have adopted: a single mother who adopted a disabled child from Kyrgyzstan, a couple who suffered through a miscarriage and later adopted a boy and a girl from South Korea, a crisis pregnancy of a local teenager that turned into one of the biggest blessings a young couple could ever receive. The church is beginning to tell more and more of such stories. Ministries such as Focus on the Family and Family Life Today are championing the need for Christian adoption, driven by the conviction that to bring an otherwise estranged child into a family is to reenact the gospel. To adopt is to practically live out the metaphor of the new birth we have in Christ in our own living rooms and kitchens.
My family desired to open our home as such, but with foster care there is always the inevitable fear of letting go. And that summer, this fear hit me head on in the form of a compact vehicle that plowed into my rear passenger door at 50 mph.
DJ could have been in the care that day, joking with me about how funny it would be to have strawberries for noses. Ozley could have been singing in his car seat, "Oh the Lord is good to me..."; his "oh"s like the Fruit Loops he had for breakfast: small and enthusiastic.
But In God's great mercy, I drove alone. The impact was a tangle of sounds, airbags, smoke. After it hit, I saw that I was generally unharmed and stumbled shaking out of my car. The other driver was young, she gnawed at the tip of her hair. On my way to a wedding, she said. Late for a wedding, her boyfriend said. Her dress was funeral black.
"Can I ask you something?" She ventured, measuring out her syllables as if they were fragile, "Do you have kids? Because I saw the car seats and I..." She did not finish; I felt ready to punch her if she tried. The airbags began to wilt, and between them I saw it: two car seats, vaulted against the wall of the front seats, forced to the floor by the crunched-in passenger door. Hauntingly and blessedly empty, like the third day tomb. This is when I start to cry, broken by relief.
Reading Hello, I Love You: Adventures in Adoptive Fatherhood, I am reminded of the way a child under your care can make your heart skip hourly through cycles of tremendous love, frustration, defeat, and relief. Author Ted Kluck is a sports aficionado and looks the part, yet even a rock like him couldn't write this true-life narrative without admitting, "There's nothing like adoption to make a grown man cry. Repeatedly."
Hello, I Love You is a story about making a family. In Kluck's own words, "[It] is the story of two Ukrainian adoptions, told from the perspective of a father who desperately wanted children, who felt called to adopt orphans, but who struggled to enjoy the process."
Ted and his wife, Kristen, navigated through foreign customs and culture shock, the painful reality of infertility, and even a few near-death experiences to bring Tristan home with them. Even to their Christian adoption agency, it was the most turbulent adoption process they had ever seen. Then, a few years later, the Klucks went through it all over again to welcome Dima into their family. Yet in all of this, God's faithfulness marks every turn, threading the events together with the grace of One who risked everything to adopt His church.
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