All my life you have asked what it is like to be me, to be the only biological child in a family  built by adoption.

I told you that it is all I know, that I love it, that we are just like any other family.

I washed the questions off with a joke: you know us, we are just your average Joneses! LOL.

But I want to tell you something and it seems like I have tell this to you gently, letting my heart drum outside of my chest, letting my grip loosen on the story I’d rather tell:

We are different. We are broken. We are hurting.

Yes, still.

Yes, all of us.

Adoption hurts. It hurts and it hurts and it heals.

I want to backspace furiously right now, I want to erase the truth. I want to tell you a pretty story. A tidy and half-true story. A fairy tale, a parable, a poem.  I am a fierce advocate of adoption, of orphans being brought home, of total redemption. Of all the broken things being made right, being made perfect.

I want to tell you that adoption is the sparkling solution to poverty and abortion and disability and abandonment, but what burns through it all is this: children were meant to grow up in the homes of those whose heart they grew under. There is something so deeply comforting about seeing your eyes on another’s face, your humor in another’s jokes, your voice in another’s throat. It is comforting to know that every moment of your life has been weaved with your very own mother and your very own father. That you belong.

I am beyond lucky to know this like I know it: steadily. My belongedness is innate, inescapable and immovable. Lucky, lucky, lucky. Chosen, chosen, chosen.

And guilty about it every day.

Not one of my brothers or sisters gets to know this, not totally. Instead they know questioning and wondering, they know feeling left out and strange and guilty and lucky and chosen and awestruck and alone. Feeling fiercely loved and unwanted all together. Like the questions might eat them from the inside, toxic and tender. Why? How? Where? Who? When? Every reflection is a reminder of their history, their forgetting.

Now, don’t misunderstand: each of us have known a gorgeous story of saving, of loving, of being chosen. But, understand this instead: every story of redemption must begin with a story of loss, of violation.

We grew up warm and wanted. My parents love us deeply. Each of us. We are a family, a real live family, not bonded by blood or genetics, but by gratitude and grace and years spent together. But, even still, we remain… broken.

I think that God created a world where two people would dedicate their lives to one another and together forge a family, a new belonging. Bonded by love and blood and skin. But the world is broken and we are the world. And fathers don’t always stay and mothers are sometimes little girls and a million other rough, raging reasons and sometimes: a new family is needed. And out of the deepest desperation, the deepest hope and love, children are given to another, they are violated and they are redeemed.

We are violated and we are redeemed.

In the very way our brokenness breathed us into a Father’s heart, a Father’s hurt and the ultimate redemption: our adoption into a broken family. Not perfect, not all the same, but a million broken pieces working together in hard and fragile ways to make a mosaic that reflects the love that drew us all together.

We are that, my family, a mosaic. I think that someday we will stand back, and the picture will be stunning with its colors, its crushed pieces, its stark contrast and sharp edges, all bright and beautiful, a story to be told. Maybe that’s even the view you see from a distance. But, sometimes, the view from here is cloudy and crushed. So we trust. 

And we continue to put the pieces together.



3 thoughts on “MOSAIC

  1. I love your family , always respected your family and you are so right about those looking on admiring what you are. …..because you are and we wonder if it ever gets hard or messy but an artist always seems to work in a mess before the masterpiece is revealed… are all, each one of you an inspiration and beautiful picture of the Fathers love for all His adopted children …deeply loved and called for a purpose. Thank you for sharing your unique experience


  2. Hi there! Couldn’t find an email address so am just going to leave my message here…
    You, my friend, are such a talented writer and photographer! I just read your essay on coffee and crumbs website. I’ve read many of their essays and yours is my favorite.
    I know it’s probably hard to keep writing with so many littles BUT THANK YOU for doing so! I am a new mama and it is so encouraging hearing the words of those who are a little ahead! Thank you for sharing your gifts!


    1. Katherine! I am just seeing this now (shows you how often I am “making time” for this, oops!) Thank you so much for reaching out and leaving such kind and encouraging words here. It means so much to me.


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