I suppose I am writing because I want everyone – especially my parents who adopted me- to truly understand the emotions that I experienced and how I feel about being adopted.
This is my third trip to Haiti, and each time people ask me “are you Haitian”? I tell them I am Haitian and American. I was ten years old when I first came to the states, and I continued to have a relationship with my birth family. I struggled with balancing two sets of parents. I didn’t really face the fact that I had two sets of parents until I was in my late teens. I especially struggled with the idea of how my adoptive parents could unconditionally love a child whom they’ve never met and brought from a different country to be their own. As I began to feel more and more like their child, I started to really hate the fact that I was referring to them as my adopted white parents when I would talk to my birth parents. It wasn’t because my birth parents were making me feel that I should refer to them that way, but inside myself I felt torn. I knew that my adoptive parents were so much more and meant so much more to me, even more than they realized.
I remember when I came to the states, because of my upbringing in Haiti, I was scared of evil spirits (which are common in Haitian culture), namely the evil spirit dyab. I was afraid it would come to get me. I remember my adoptive mom, Natalie, being so brave in that moment. She was patient and willing to listen to a crazy voodoo story that I strongly believed was real. I remember my mom telling me that God was bigger than the dyab that I had known about in Haiti. This continued to happen night after night, and she never left my side. She stood by me through all of it. I admired the strength that my mom showed even when I was afraid. I knew that I was safe with her. That safety continued into my older years. In Haitian culture, moms show strength with their children. My American mom has Haitian strength within her, and I think that is why I feel so at home with her. God knew what He was doing when he brought us together. My mother carries herself, teaches and raises her children in Christ.
At times, I can be difficult to love. My mom shows me the unconditional, unwavering love that God shows us everyday, despite my flaws. She loves me even harder through those times. Because of what my mom has done for me, I want parents who may consider adoption – or even someone who just wants to understand adoption, to understand what it feels like as an adopted child. I have seen other children who live in orphanages and I see the sadness and understand the feeling of missing something in their lives that they often feel. Although my Haitian parents made the choice to allow me to have a better life here in the states, I still felt a sense of loneliness when I was left at the orphanage. I wanted to be in a family. Every child wants to be in a family with people who love them- whether it is their birth family, or a family who adopts them.
Just as God sets eternity in every human heart, I believe he also puts the desire of a family in a child’s heart. Although we live in a fallen world, God is merciful and kind and he allows lonely children to experience a taste of what His original plan for a family should look like – and they long for parents come into their lives to fill that hole. He also calls some people to love children whom they did not give birth to, and then gives them a love for the children He is placing in their lives. God is a God of rescue missions, and I believe that He calls parents to adopt children to live out that rescue mission here on earth by rescuing them just as He rescued us. It’s a reflection of His love for us. My mom showed this reflection of God’s love to me. She rescued me – she’s the hero in my story. And for that, I am eternally grateful. I pray, and believe that one day He will also call me to adopt children and love them as my own. I hope if He is calling you to adopt, that you will remember fear is not from God and you will not be afraid to do what He is asking of you.
Jezi bay tout timoun yo famni! (Jesus gives all the children families!)
~Eliana Manoucheka McBee