anyone who knows me knows that i love stories. it’s why i love reading. it’s why i love writing. it’s why i love going to the movies. it’s even one of many reasons why i love God, for He is the Great Storyteller.
as we have brought our son home, a new chapter is being written into the story of my own life, and a new chapter – maybe even a new book – is being written in the life of my sweet boy.
but there are parts of that story that cannot be told.
the inspiration for this post came from last weekend. we saw my parents, introduced Kai to my Nan Nan and Grandpop, and went out to eat with my brother and his family. my sweet niece, Cayley, was sitting next to me as i fed Kai (who had lustily been eying our queso just moments before), and she asked me, “so what happened before Kai was an orphan?”
thankfully, her question didn’t really catch me off-guard. Christa and i had prepared ourselves for this and i was glad it was coming first from a sweet little girl who loves us unconditionally. i responded to her, “well, Cayley, that’s not really something i can share, because that’s Kai’s story and we want him to be the very first person who learns his story.” she accepted this with a nod and didn’t ask any further questions, which, if you knew curious Cayley Rose, you would understand the significance of this.
every adopted child’s life begins with sorrow in some form or fashion. joy is absent at the beginning of the story. this is in contrast to the traditional story format: all is well, conflict occurs, conflict resolves, all is well again – or all is even better than it was at first. this is the story of humanity too: all was well, conflict occurred, conflict is being resolved, and all will be well again (*maranatha*).
we got to learn so much more of our son’s story than we ever expected to, and we are so thankful for that. and while that means having more answers to give him when he gets older and asks questions about his past and where he came from, it also means having to re-introduce sorrow into his life. there are answers to questions that are not pleasant – in fact, they are downright heartbreaking. at time, it is difficult for me to look down into his dark brown eyes as i feed him and think about what could have been for him if his story had developed in just a slightly different direction.
you see, we get the side of joy. we get the cheers as we arrived at baggage claim to see family welcoming us home, we get to cuddle with him at night, we get to hear him laugh and bounce and coo. we get the joy.
but there was a lot of sorrow and a lot of pain that came before.
when speaking of His coming death, Jesus told His disciples, his closest friends, his very family, “You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy.” (John 16:20b)
the evening of Good Friday was not good for the disciples. the Sabbath day that followed was not restful for them. it was not until the dawn of Sunday that Jesus’ words made sense. and even then it was not without some confusion and doubt.
i have no doubt there will be lots of occasions for joy as we raise our son, our firstborn. but there will also be times of sorrow ahead for our sweet boy.
so we ask, in advance, for your forgiveness, friends and family. you will know very little about our son’s life before us. it is not our story to share – it is his. it is a story of sorrow and, at the same time, a story of joy. and it will be his to share one day.
and i hope he does share his story when the time is right.
because it is saturated with the grace of God.