The love of adoption – two stories you should read

by Mr. Sheehy

I often read a good article and stick it in my Worth It feed, but today I read one that I need to mention more specifically and intentionally, and I want to pair it with another from the deeper past. I wrote about Charlie a couple weeks ago and expressed some of my thoughts as a parent facing the unknown, particularly the unknown potential of a child with autism or Down syndrome. That was only the potential that everyone faces, of course, and now I know that our third child is healthy and without obvious developmental obstacles.

The truly wonderful people actually do the things I wondered if I would need to do. Those people love and attend to their children who have disabilities, even if that attention is needed as long as a child lives. These parents humbly receive their child’s love, and they experience joy as they receive it.

In a special category, however, are those who adopt the children to whom others won’t attend, who find a person to love and then pour that love upon them as if they were their own. I have a special appreciation for that unique status of an adopted child. It is an important aspect of how I interpret the world.

My interpretation is much richer for having read the two articles mentioned below, and I highly recommend them to you. The first one is the shorter of the two. Called My First Lesson in Motherhood, it is from Elizabeth Fitzsimons and was published in The New York Times back in 2007. Fitzsimons captures how a life seized by love’s strength is one without regret:

We would not have chosen the burdens we anticipated, and in fact we declared upfront our inability to handle such burdens. But we are stronger than we thought.

The second article, The Girl in the Window, is the longer of the two. Lane DeGregory sketches in the St. Petersburg Times a full picture of one girl’s plight, breaking the reader’s heart and then piecing it back together. My wife told me to read this one and after three paragraphs I looked at her and said, “I don’t know . . .” She assured me I needed to continue, and I am obviously glad I did. I ended it hopeful that I could somehow be an instrument of goodness and righteousness like Diane and Bernie Lierow, a couple who listened not to their desires but to their hearts:

“She was everything we didn’t want,” Bernie said.

But they couldn’t forget those aching eyes.

This article I have decided I will use in class, both for its obvious ability to evoke response, and because as a piece of writing it exemplifies every genre we write through the year–in sections it is pure descriptive writing, in others narrative, in others a kind of persuasion, and still in others it is a research paper. And despite being all those things, it is compelling.

Read them, and if you have time, come on back and tell me what you thought. I’m interested.

Thanks for reading.