I was sifting through Facebook this weekend and my scroll slowed upon an article about a couple adopting from India. The little boy, Adam, had been abandoned because he was born with several physical deformities. My heart flipped and tears welled at this story of a Christian couple wrapping their arms of inclusion and acceptance around Adam, calling him a blessing though he was considered a “curse” in his own culture. Beautiful picture of Christ’s adoption of us.
I thought about how it would feel to bring little Adam to Target or to church for the first time. Despite the awkwardness of his appearance, I think I could be his protector, be proud of him, advocate on his behalf, as he is a child of God just like I am.
Then I thought about how I felt when Finn was in my womb. I was somewhat ashamed; not as proud as I imagine I’d be to adopt Adam.
For some reason–and I wish it weren’t true–somehow I felt like Finn’s deformity was my fault because he was mine. My genes, my chromosomes, my egg. I know Spina Bifida was random and unexplainable for us…but it’s so difficult to believe that the appearance, behavior, abilities and demeanor of your child are not a reflection of you. Right? Isn’t this why parents scream and stomp on the sidelines when their athlete is striking out, or why we get defensive and embarrassed when our child is misbehaving in public, or why toddler beauty pageants even exist? We think they reflect (positively or negatively) upon us.
My pride often gets in the way. I feel a need to defend myself regarding Finn’s disability sometimes. This wasn’t my fault. I took prenatal vitamins; I promise. Stop judging me. When did I start believing Finn’s life is about me? Yuk.
Joey and I are watching “North America” as I type. It’s a beautifully scripted documentary with stunning cinematography about the animals of our continent. One theme I’ve deduced in the past hour: survival of the fittest. Male rams collide horns to earn the female. Female buffalo single out the strongest bull to father their children. The Costa Rican bird with the funkiest dance moves scores the woman. Bald eagles allow their weaklings to die. Natural selection.
The hair on my “momma spine” goes up as I think of how Finn would have been left behind; cursed by the animal kingdom. But Praise God we are not animals.
“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who draws strength from mere flesh
and whose heart turns away from the Lord…
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him” (Jeremiah 17:5-8).
What Finn lacks in mobility and physical prowess, God gave him ten-fold in spirit, humor, joyfulness and sheer sweetness.
His beautiful Candy Baby face reminds me to deny my ugly pride and be grateful–overjoyed, even–that I was chosen to advocate for this precious life; to help him find worth, dignity and indomitable strength from our Lord.
What if the sweetest boy, though crippled, were the epitome of strength?