The Upside Down of Adoption


Every morning at my house usually begins with my realization that I am completely surrounded! If you are even remotely claustrophobic then never have kids. There will never be another moment of personal space. The population of our king size bed goes from 2 to typically about 5 or 6 by morning.

Most mornings it’s like a game of pick-up-stix where I have to unfold myself from the pile of humanity and go get the morning coffee going but from time to time I get to sit and enjoy just being surrounded.

This morning I was flanked by one of our little guys Jude on one side who has been officially a Harding for a couple of years now and then by Aliza on the other side who was adopted three months after our boys.

I laid there looking at Jude’s cast on his arm that he broke a couple of days ago just playing like a crazy man out there in our neighborhood with his buddies. The side of my face is getting tickled by Aliza’s crazy puffy blonde locks that have almost as much of a mind of their own as she does. I love it. I. absolutely. love. it.

But in that moment I was sad, not for me, definitely not for them, but for the parents that birthed these kids. This one tiny moment is a single snapshot of the thousands of moments that their birth parents will never have.

When you go through the process of adopting you get completely engulfed in your own needs and the needs of the child or children. There are a lot of days that you just feel like surviving is the goal. Then once the court part is finished then there is the whole raising the kid, integrating them into a new family, loving them unconditionally (which is learned no matter who you are).

Long before the dust has settled in the new adoptive home the birth parent life has moved on for the better or for the worse. Just statistically you can assume their life is full of challenges because otherwise they would still have their kids. Some of them face mental illness, drug abuse, physical abuse, intense poverty, but still every morning they are waking up and THEY don’t get what I got this morning. They aren’t surrounded by the touch of their little people. Regardless of whether they even wanted them in the first place, that touch from your kids, that completely different experience they bring, that joy and trial they will completely miss.

So our dust has settled. Our crazy level is still at an all-time high, but so are these moments that will last forever.

Today my heart breaks for those parents’ lives separated by choices, circumstances, and things just plain out of their control.

To honor what they couldn’t be today and forever I’m gonna love them by loving the kids they lost.


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