5 Things My Adopted Daughter Taught Me

Guest post by Lifesong mom, adoption advocate, and blogger Lissa Anglin

We adopted our daughter from China …

when she was 2 years old.

And in the course of the almost 3 years that she has been home, I have heard some iteration of the phrase “she’s so lucky” many, many times.

While I believe that the heart of this message houses good intentions, it’s terribly incorrect. Adoption begins with trauma—the separation of parents and children, mother and daughter. That bond which I so cherish as a mother is broken—right from the start.

So, no… she’s not “lucky.”

My response is usually something like “we are the lucky ones”—which is absolutely true. Shawn and I both have had many solemn moments where we find each other realizing how God’s used Lucy to bless us, teach us, and love us. So, I wanted to make a list of a few of the ways Lucy has taught me… not the other way around.

1. There’s a great big world to explore, and we don’t need to fear it.

From the moment we received her in China, Lucy has approached every new situation wide-eyed, ready to experience it. I had anticipated some travel anxiety, possible stress from new places. But not this kid. Out of all 3 of our children, she is always the readiest to go—ready for life, adventure, and new experiences.

I do believe this is part of her God-given personality, and I can’t wait to see how that passion grows.

2. Compassion comes from paying attention.

We were fortunate to get to spend time in China with another family who adopted a son from the same orphanage Lucy lived at. Those two have a bond and a shared history we’ll never fully understand, and I’m so thankful each of them exists for each other.

It struck me how compassionate 2-year-old Lucy could be with this sweet friend—she was always aware of his feelings and ready to offer a hug when he would cry. She’s the same today, always alert about everyone’s feelings.

This has been a struggle point for me—compassion—and I know God gave me this very attentive child to teach me how to be gentle and caring when someone needs it.

3. There’s always room for another chance.

I have been so, so critical of myself and my parenting with Lucy—and in turn, been critical of her. More critical, even, than with our biological kids if you can believe it.

I confess this because there have been so many times that I’ve just plain had to start over. Ask forgiveness. Remember my own Heavenly Father and the forgiveness He’s forgiven me, and try again with Lucy.

And guess what? She’s forgiven me every time. And she still likes me, even when I’ve given her plenty of reason not to.

4. I am the daughter of my Heavenly Father.

I had head knowledge of my belonging in God’s family and wonderful experiences to deepen my faith up until Lucy came home. But seeing her face here in our home, enjoying all the special things about her, understanding her past, present, and future…

Y’all, there is nothing that drives it home like watching real-life adoption from this perspective.

The ways in which I question God’s love for me are so silly when I compare it to the ways that we love Lucy—and God’s love for me is far greater!

He came to set free those who were under the authority of the law. He wanted us to be adopted as children with all the rights children have. Because you are his children, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts. He is the Holy Spirit. By his power we call God Abba. Abba means Father. So you aren’t a slave any longer. You are God’s child. Because you are his child, God gives you the rights of those who are his children.

—Galatians 4:5–7

5. I’ll never be enough for her.

Woo, this is a tough one. I referenced it earlier, but there have been a lot of mistakes and asking for forgiveness on my part. If I had any sense of a “savior complex”, it’s been attacked and torn down, brick by brick (as it should be).

Every time I fail, every time she is willing to trust me after I fail—I am reminded that we are both in the care of the most perfect Father—who loves us both more than we could ever love each other. That our needs can ultimately only be met in Jesus. That I am just stewarding my children on this Earth, destined to fail, but already guaranteed a glorious redemption. That’s great news.

Reading back through this list, I’m realizing that only one of these things really has anything to do with the way Lucy came into our family—adoption. And there’s beauty in that, y’all. It’s proof that God gave us this petite, smiley miracle on purpose.

“God foresaw us struggling together and learning from each other—and decided it was good.”

Adoption is the way that Lucy came into our family. But day-to-day, she’s just our kid. I can’t imagine life without Lucy Fei. This list is just a speck of the things I’ve learned from her, and I can’t wait to keep doing this life with her. Thank you, Father, for Lucy Fei!

Our family is forever impacted by and so very grateful for Lifesong.

We received a matching grant that came in the Lord’s perfect timing during our 5-year adoption process. Because of the nature of the matching grant, we were doubly blessed by our friends and family who chose to give to our fund, as well as Lifesong who increased that gift and literally doubled it.

We would not have been able to proceed on time had we not had those funds. Thankful doesn’t begin to describe it.

This post first appeared on Lissa’s blog, Part of Me. Check out her original post here.

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