Monday, March 25, 2013

Return Policy

Monday mornings aren't my favorite mornings to begin with, but this one started off with my having to go to Cava's school to meet with the head of the school, the head of the program Cava's in, and his teachers. Even though it wasn't about me, I still felt like the kid going to the principal's office, which is something I am not accustomed to. Seated around a table, we discussed how to proceed in the best interests of all and how to deal with Cava's behavioral issues.

Once that was settled, I went to work.

A few hours later, I got the call that I now dread getting. The "Come get your son" call. I felt defeated, to say the least, and it must have shown because one of the department managers that I know from the store I was calling on, asked me how it was going with our adopted son. I told her that I was having to pick him up early from school - again. Not joking in the least, she asked, "Couldn't you return him?"

Return him?

I was horrified.

Return him?

This is my child. Not some ill-fitting sweater or shirt of the wrong size or unwanted gift. As nicely as I could, I told her, "No. He's my son."

It angered me that someone would, even in what they might perceive as kindness, suggest sending a child back to the orphanage he came from.

No, these two months since Cava came here have not been easy, as previous blog entries can attest to, but that does not diminish our love for a little boy who desperately needs to be loved.

Adoption is not easy and it's not always pretty. It is a roller-coaster of emotions and it's exhausting. But does that mean we just give up on a child because the last two months aren't a picnic?

It's interesting that all of this should happen the day after the Sunday when our growth group (a new term for Sunday school group) were taking up Galations 4:1-7. To quote part of them, "But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son, then an heir of God through Christ."

Normally I'm not one to speak up, but I found myself compelled to this time. Here's what I said:

When we went before the Ukrainian court to petition them to have Cava as our son, one of the main things that we were asked repeatedly and in different forms was, "Will you treat Cava equally to your son Benjamin?" They asked if he would be loved the same, receive the same benefits, schooling, and would be an heir to our inheritance (Poor thing) the same as Benjamin. Now, we offered Cava the opportunity to become a member of our family, but just as with salvation, Cava had the opportunity to reject what was offered to him. When the judge asked if he wanted to be adopted by us, if Cava had said no, then the judge would have closed the case and we would have left without Cava. Because he accepted our adopting him, he became a joint-heir with Benjamin and we would love him just as we do Benjamin.

I know my voice cracked with emotion as I spoke, because I'm very passionate about adoption, especially since it has given me more of an insight into the heart of God. Although I must admit, if I had to sacrifice my own son to adopt another, I couldn't have done it.

So, no, I would never consider "returning" Cava any more than I would seriously consider going back to Gaston Memorial and asking them what their return policy was on Benjamin. Cava is no less a son to us than Benjamin.

God chose Cava for us. He has a much bigger plan and, while we can't see all of that just now, we trust in Him and know that He will help us get through these difficult and trying times.

We know that Cava is our son. He may not have been born to us but he was born for us.

No matter what, he is and always will be our son.


  1. OH my Lord I cannot believe it.

    The ignorance, heartlessness, and stupidity of such a question-I would be speechless but I'm too angry to be speechless.

    I don't know what is wrong with people.

    I thought my physician asking me if I wanted to just be "child-free" for the rest of my life question was rude and heartless.......but wow, the question you were asked really blows my mind.

    Do these people think you can change someone's entire world overnight and expect that they will just smile and act as if nothing ever happened??

    This is a process that takes time, we all know that, and your son rightly deserves a lOT of love, patience, dedication, and to utilize any and all resources to get through the rough times and into better times- NOT a return policy.

    Maybe that person never had anyone to love him/her unconditionally, and that is a tragedy.

    I'm sure glad my husband didn't ask for a return policy on me since I turned out to be infertile.

    Sorry to be so long-winded but this infuriated me.

  2. My wife and I have been lucky, in that we both have multiple adopted cousins, as well as adoptive parents at our workplaces and in our circle of friends. That means all of our families, and most of our friends and co-workers, have had at least some previous experience with adoptive families, so we've never really had to deal with the kind of ignorant statement that you have.

    Still, though, I prefer to believe that these statements are just that - ignorant - and stem from a lack of knowledge rather than heartlessness. For example, the commenter above asks, "Do these people think you can change someone's entire world overnight and expect that they will just smile and act as if nothing ever happened??" And to that, the answer is "yes." Yes, some people *do* think adoptees should be deleriously happy about being adopted, and experience no confusion or unhappiness. But again, ignorance rather than heartlessness.

    A few months ago, we volunteered to help give feedback on a series of web-based educational modules for parents planning on adopting kids. We went through similar education before adopting Elena (as you might have), but the content here was not exactly the same, so we still learned something.

    One thing that struck me about this series was that they talked about the concept of being prepared to be an "ambasssador of the adoption community." In other words, *expect* to hear ignorant statements, and be prepared to see that as an opportunity to educate. I fully realize that's easier said than done (especially when you get caught flat-footed), and I've never really had to deal with it myself, but the fact is that situations like this are common enough that they're explicitly addressed is food for thought.