Upwardly Dependent » walking the delicate balance of absolute truth and overwhelming grace.

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Home is Wherever I’m with You {My First Adoption Breakdown}

I wouldn’t say that I’m the whitest white person I’ve ever known. I guess I could always wear more ruffle-bottom pants and listen to more James Taylor.

Honestly, sometimes I forget that skin color matters to people. There’s a part of me that secretly obsesses over the GloZell YouTube channel {you’re welcome}. I felt perfectly comfortable teaching in Kenya last summer as the only mzungu {white person}. Clothes from Rave always fit me better than those from Belk {anybody???}.

So the fact that I’m adopting a son from Africa probably doesn’t surprise any of you. But last week it completely freaked me out.

Every Thursday morning I have a “Bible Study” with three of the most incredible women. We march into Aletha’s living room at 8:30 with our 1,000 Gifts books by Ann Voscamp {this is our front}. Kelly starts up the Keurig, Erin and I nestle into couches and chairs, and we all let our guards down.

There’s a whole lot of talking, listening, loving, venting, and supporting. And we leave about four hours later ready to conquer the world for another week.

This particular day, all that was asked was: Lauren, how are you doing with the adoption?

Oh boy. That blasted ugly cry. It came out of nowhere.

I’d been reading 20 Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew. Listen to a few testimonies from disgruntled adoptees and you’ll quickly realize those cute little orphan babies grow up to be real adults with real insecurities and real unresolved grief.

I’m not playing save-the-baby anymore. I’m in big girl momma panties now.

And I’m afraid they’re more on the unattractive, mauve-colored, granny side of things.

I sat rocking Eliza to sleep, my coffee turning cold, vomiting every fear I had about the adoption to my dear friends.

What if they hate him in Asia because he’s dark-skinned?

What if we struggle with attachment issues?

What do I say to the doctor when he asks about his family’s medical history?

Will our families be able to love him just as much as our biological daughter?

Will he be embarrassed of his white mother sitting in the front pew on his wedding day?

What if I have no idea how to relate to my own children?

It all smacked me in the face. The safe, comfortable, easily-understood home my mother blessed me with…the home that allowed me to blossom and thrive…will never be a gift I can give my own children.

My children will be stared at. My children will be asked hard questions. My children will live in numerous houses in numerous countries. My children will be different.

I sit here typing these words through tears because my heart painfully breaks for them. I look at Eliza’s perfectly innocent face. I hear her giggle. I imagine the precious cheeks of my son. I can see his toothy grin. And I just want to whisper to both of them, I’M SO SORRY.

I’m sorry for how strong you will have to be. I’m sorry for the times you will feel isolated. I’m sorry for the day society gives you hate instead of love. I’m sorry that our family looks so different. I’m just so sorry to ask SO MUCH of you.

And then my Healer comes back to my rescue. He redeems my fears and reminds me that He can.

He can make my children stronger than they could ever be on their own. He can give them a place to belong. He can always give love and drive out hate. He can see our normal family, not our mismatched color. And He can always keep asking SO MUCH of us.

He can, and He will.

– – – – – – – – – –

My mother says that home is more than just a house. Home is where your family is.

Now, my home is in Middle Tennessee. In a few months, my home will be in Southeast Asia. In a year or two, my home will consist of a husband and two children of mixed nationalities.

Who knows…in five years we may be living on a different continent in a house with red, yellow, black, and white babies. We could throw in a mixed-breed dog and a gender-neutral fish just to keep it interesting.

But there’s one thing I commit to consistently whisper to my children.

Home is wherever I’m with you.




KathrynDecember 4, 2013 - 1:19 am

So brave and real and you… and among the reasons why I know you won’t just be whispering it, you’ll be shouting it…but mostly in action. The cool thing about love that big is that it may not be able to drive out every bit of hate- some are stubborn in theirs- but it can give most of it a run for its money. With you loving big enough, in some ways the rest won’t matter. Your safe zone will be there in every continent and with every change of scenery and family dynamic. Even when people will misunderstand and sometimes be ugly. Big love just breeds more big love. :) I’m not naive enough to think you won’t have brutal days, but I think love really does win. Every time. I’m glad you can share these things and hopefully be filled up by the people who love you big!

Kimberly EdwardsDecember 4, 2013 - 6:59 am

Lauren, fifteen years ago our hearts were where your hearts are now. We had four teenagers, and then adopted into our family our precious little boys. Being at each of their births, preparing in every way we knew how, we were confident that this was God’s will for our lives. We still believe this. But it has been hard. Down on our knees, crying out to the Lord hard. There is so much we don’t understand. Over the past five months we have had to hospitalize our youngest twice, once in a foreign country. We have learned to depend on Him to carry us one day at a time. And He does. Raising two black sons is not the greatest challenge. Standing strong in your conviction to raise this child God has entrusted to you, to be the living example of sacrifice and unconditional love- this is where the challenge lies. We are so grateful that God allowed us to be the parents of six precious children. He will equip you for the journey.

Deborah WilsonDecember 4, 2013 - 10:18 am

Just a thought….. I do not want to, in any way, downplay the very real issues you’ve brought up for your children’s future dealings. However, just a thought that perhaps your assisting them in dealing with their differences will only help with more focus on this world NOT being their (our) home???? I love you and so much appreciate your shared thoughts about this journey. Blessings

Lola-Margaret HallDecember 4, 2013 - 10:19 am

I just love you to pieces. You are real, and God made real people, not fake people.

KrisDecember 4, 2013 - 10:39 am


Bethany McGillDecember 9, 2013 - 12:09 pm

You’re gonna do amazing..this process is gonna strengthen you more than you will ever know (not that I’ve experienced adopting fully YET, but I have had the privilege of being involved with many and tears of happiness flow everytime)
When Jeremy and I moved to China, it wasn’t meant to be temporary thing. Journey was barely 15 months old and Jeremy had left a month before us, so my long flight with 6 giant luggage bags 5 carry ons, and a baby stroller AND a baby was a challenge, not to mention having to recheck everything in Japan and re board…anyways one of our goals when we got there was to begin the adoption process (everytime I went to Africa I wanted to bring a dozen loves back with me, but this time we were in China and that’s where our opportunity was at the time) …we began with a friend there who was an attorney and pretty much were turned down right away ( one of their number one rules is parents have to both be at least 30 yrs old) only exception was to adopt a child with special needs, and though I would love to we weren’t exactly prepared for that and prayed that unless God just blessed us with it out of nowhere with a special needs child, we wouldnt keep trying at that moment. And what do ya know Literally a week later I found out we were pregnant with River. (I thought selfishly, did I just ask for a special child? Would something be wrong with my baby? I was terrified, and lacked any prenatal care for the first 7 months until we came back to the states) Now I know God was telling me, you’re not ready to adopt yet (if at all, but there’s always been a fire in me to care for a baby hopefully more than one or two, that didn’t come from my belly but that I could give them all the live I had) so I still believe one day we will. I want a huge family but I also think how selfish I am if I have more of my own rather than adopting the plethora of unwanted, hungry, thrown away children that already exist and don’t have a mama or daddy to love them. So I won’t give up on adopting, but it sure is hard for me to listen to the answer “not right now”… I am so excited for your “Journey” and plan to share in your roadblocks and happy times throughout the process until you hold your sweet boy in your arms 😉 Prayers are certainly being sent your way and for your baby boy that you don’t even know yet 😉

Steven WellsJanuary 12, 2014 - 7:56 pm

My mother was just my mother. I typically would forget the whole adoption thing, and even when I did start thinking about it and wonder and make anything of it, I didn’t really think much of what kind of struggle it might have been to have been a mother of an adopted child. Again, I didn’t feel any different which should attest to the job she did, but I didn’t consider the extra worries my “difference” that must have been heaped upon the load that is motherhood in general.

ChloeJanuary 14, 2014 - 4:04 pm

Where in Southeast Asia are you moving!?!?!

laceyJanuary 24, 2014 - 11:16 pm

WOW! i will have to say that you are a very strong person and whether your babies are brown, yellow, white or purple for that matter, he/she will be loved. I can feel your love for god in the words you type and can tell that you will truly be an inspiration to your children! God bless you