Identity- The sense of self, providing sameness and continuity in personality over time. (dictionary.com)
Essentially, “identity” answers the question: “Who am I?”
What better thing to do on a deer stand than ponder identity? Both identity as it relates to adoption as well as it relates to me. “What constitutes me?”
I am God's. Before all else, my “self” is identified with Christ. I belong to Him because of the death of Jesus Christ. He is the keeper of my soul, both here on earth as well as for eternity. Nothing and no one can separate me from this fact, regardless of location, culture, tragedy, or other life change.
I am a wife. I love my husband more than anything, he is my best friend and my other half. He loves me and I am his other half. We live life together, love, laugh, work, play, stress, etc. I love being a wife. I am there for him, I support him in his decisions, I encourage him, and provide comic relief when I have a blond moment (which is frequently). He is the head of our home, but I am the one that makes it a home, not a bachelor's den.
I am part of a family. My mom, dad, and Gram, yes. But, also the family I married into, for better or for worse. I have a Mom-in-law and Dad-in-law, a handful of siblings-in-law, two nephews, and a dog-in-law. (Ok, maybe not the dog.) But I am forever a part of this family. I have a niche (or a gouge, depending on the perspective) and bring my own set of strengths and weaknesses to the table to contribute to the unit.
I love the outdoors. Not as a fanatical tree-hugger or as a biologist, but nature is a part of who I am. It has influenced my tastes, home décor, activities, vacation spots and even my choice of a college. Whether it is a hunting trip, a national park, and elk bugle that chills my core, or a sheepskin on my couch, nature is engrained in who I have become.
There are many other things I enjoy: painting, traveling, reading, drinking coffee, etc. But the four previously mentioned things are, as I think about it, irreplaceable. Take away one, and I'm a fish out of water. I can find new hobbies, I can live in another state or even another country. I can learn a different language, change my dress, eating habits or routine. But without my husband, my family, and a friendly mountain or patch of trees, I'm a basket case.
Shifting gears to my son. In his short little life, he will have experienced at least four different caregivers, including his birth mom. He will have lived in at least four different places, experienced at least four different daily routines, probably three different diets, two or three languages, and two countries. On top of it all, there will be countless sights, smells, sounds, and tastes that have changed around him. All before he is 5 years old. He will have had many life-changing transitions for which he was vaguely, if at all, prepared.
He will experience an involuntary immersion into a new life and there is no going back. His identity will be completely turned upside down. Any family that he has ever known will be lost to him. His friends will be lost, along with his toys, his language, his clothes, his food, his favorite tree to climb... Anything that might have provided him with continuity in life. All he has learned to expect from life is abrupt changes, loss, and discontinuity. Yes, all this will be reflected in his behavior for some time to come. However, consider his loss. Pause to consider the reality of what he has faced and will yet face in the short time he has been alive. For me, it's a little overwhelming.
Our adoption agency reminded us that our job as a parent is to be a healer. I just barely begin to understand what is involved in that role, what my son's loss has been, and how uncertain things will be for him when he comes. My prayer is that the Great Healer will prepare me to imitate Him in this job, and to glean my strength from His side, seeking His wisdom and guidance, and ultimately entrusting my son to His care.