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The blessing of adoption in the spirit of Kahlil Gibran.

November 04, 2013

Recently, NBC ran a story about Dr. Nancy Snyderman and her adopted daughter Katie’s meeting with Katie’s birth mother, Cheryl, who had placed Katie for adoption twenty-seven years ago. As an adoptive mother, myself, I can say that it was absolutely beautiful—although I’m sure that anyone would think so, if they are human. It was one of those “go-grab-the-tissues” stories, that showed the bond, not only between Nancy and Katie and Katie and Cheryl, but also between Nancy and Cheryl.

Dr. Nancy explained that one day, a little more than 27 years ago she received a phone call that changed everything. At the time the last thing she wanted was a baby. But when the call came from out of the blue asking her if she wanted to adopt a baby girl, a resounding yes issued forth from every bone in her body. She shocked herself. Thinking about my own phone call, similar in that it was a shock but different in that I was very much wanting to adopt a baby at the time, I realized that the mother-child bond is, indeed, universal. People who haven’t adopted a child may wonder if the bond is truly the same. Personally, I take a much broader view, and share it with my ten year old son when we talk about the fact that he did not grow in my tummy but in the tummy of his birth mother (whom he has met many times). I have said that giving birth to a child is a truly miraculous experience, but that the way in which he came into my life is a miracle of a different order. I think that the poet Kahlil Gibran said it best:

On Children, Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

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