Will I love more kinds of people than ever before in 2019? This question was posed in my church on Sunday. I sat in my seat, closed my eyes, and focused in. Will I love more kinds of people…? It was a question of diversity. Surely my life is filled with a diverse kind of love, I thought to myself. After all, family diversity and far-reaching inclusivity are my topics of passion.
I’m an international adoptee, mom-by-international adoption, and believer in the power of embracing difference. I think we should, as my church community says, love everyone always.
My Adoption Story
“Not flesh of my flesh, nor bone of my bone, but still miraculously my own. Never forget for a single minute, you didn’t grow under my heart, but in it.” —Fleur Conkling Heyliger
March 24th will always be one of the most important days of my life. On this day, almost 29 years ago, I flew from Seoul, Korea, to Michigan to meet my forever family.
As an adult, I know that many stories begin like this. However, as a child, I never thought about what adoption really meant. I’m not quite sure my schoolmates knew either. My classmates just knew me as the girl who always shared cookies, cake, or cupcakes and celebrated her adoption every March 24th. Each year, my mom or dad helped educate my friends and classroom about my “Plane Day.” We would even bring in little folded handouts to give to everyone.
When you’ve been touched by adoption, you appreciate certain things that most people take for granted. For one, you realize the magnitude of being able to have a child that someone else gave birth to. Some people that go into adoption can’t have children and becoming a parent in this way brings so much clarity and appreciation. Little things get celebrated and seemingly meaningless dates become a big deal.
I spoke at a conference in San Diego this past weekend. The event— Embrace Who You Are—was organized by Oleg Lougheed and his non-profit group, Overcoming Odds.
Oleg has a vision to create space for adoptees to share their experiences and overcome their challenges. He believes, like I do, in the power of story. Yours, mine, and his.
The day was transformative! It further strengthened my long-standing opinion that adoptees have a universe of wisdom to share with the world. All we have to do is assure them that it’s safe to open up and let that wisdom flow.
Over the past three years, my husband, Ian, and I have been on a journey filled with consistent optimism, but also staggered by heartbreak. Long days of hard work and faith were often followed by tears and doubt. We had amazing support from family and friends. We were also lied to and cruelly manipulated. Through these three years, Ian and I have walked through fire together. We lost nearly all semblances of personal space and privacy; we worked through hundreds of pages of paperwork and legal pulp; we drove thousands of miles, spent thousands of dollars, all for the chance at turning hope into reality. It was in the middle of nowhere, on a hot June night, where we finally found our seven-pound miracle. I am writing this story, not for pity or to commiserate, but to expound on and rejoice in the one thing that kept us going throughout all our setbacks: hope.
1.) Kashia, adoption has always been a huge part of your family. Both your mother and your youngest brother are adopted, and your husband’s mother is adopted as well. Have you and Riley both always had adoption in your hearts?
Oh my goodness, yes times a million! It was one of the things we first bonded over when we met. We have always loved the plan to adopt and knew no matter what our circumstances were, that we were going to one day.
2.) How did your faith help you through struggling with infertility and the adoption process?
Have you been thinking about adopting a child? Do you wonder if you have what it takes to be a parent-by-adoption?
The decision to adopt should come with a healthy dose of contemplation. A child’s life depends on a parent’s complete and total dedication.
Today, too many kids in America are languishing in the foster system. In total, there are some 400,000 children in U.S. foster care right now. Around 100,000 of them are eligible and waiting to be adopted. These are kids who won’t be with their forever families this Thanksgiving.
What is better—to continue to love but ache from the bitter slashes of hurt and betrayal or to build a wall of steel and never love deeply again?
Early in my life, like so many of us, I learned about the sting of rejection and careless words. That sting took a toll on my heart and affected me emotionally for many years. Eventually I built a wall, placing it between myself and meaningful relationships. Turning my back when things got rough seemed to be my safest option…or so I thought.
The day has arrived. National Adoption Awareness Month has officially started. Hard to believe that it’s here!
Time moves by so fast, doesn’t it?
2018 has been filled with some tough moments and extraordinary challenges. If this year has been hard on you and on those you love, I understand.
The daily stresses of life layered with the anxiety and anticipation that often come with November and Adoption Awareness Month can be a lot.
Feelings and emotions can be heightened. Triggers come out of nowhere.
On this episode of The Greater Than Podcast, I speak with Christine Bauer. Christine is the author of the memoir, Those Three Words: a birth mother’s story of choice, chance, & motherhood.
Her book represents the journey of a woman’s life and the choices that are made within a life. The pages are filled with reminders of the power of family, respect, acceptance, love—and, yes, the power of choice.
Starting the dialogue about a woman’s choice, no matter what that choice looks like, is a conversation that Christine is passionate to engage in. I’m honored for Christine to share her perspective with us—for sharing encouraging words about feeling our sadness, and leaning in to those places that hurt inside of us.
In the words of Christine’s mother, “Sadness stretches the heart so that there is more room for joy.”
We have to feel our lives if we are going to rise up and become greater in all aspects of our lives. We cannot stay numb. And, what we discover, over time, is that choice is always attached to a powerful, real, and raw story.
Leaning in to those stories is where we create greater empathy and understanding around the conversation of a woman’s choice or any other choice in front of us.