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This ugly word is one I encountered in our journey to welcome Sweet Girl to our family. As we considered out best fit, we learned that there is a grouping of children who have been labeled unadoptable. This grieves me deeply, because I know that in the hearts and minds of these wee little souls, unadoptable translates into being unloveable. Unloved. And it’s heartbreakingly untrue. The perception-shaping label of unadoptable is unacceptable.

(Want encouragement? This beautiful response to Davion’s story was a 2013 highlight for me.) 

Let’s be clear – these kids bear this label not because of what choices they have made, but the choices the adults around them, charged to care for them, have made. These precious, created-in-His-image children may act inappropriately, are angry, hurt, are not easy to care for, and have challenges that will possibly take years to overcome.  Those of us who feel unloved, and unloveable often do.

We considered welcoming an older, harder to adopt child, but before we knew it we were matched with Sweet Girl and over the summer our life shifted. Our wee gift – loved beyond measure from birth, happy, smiling, was never branded with this stigma.

However, our hearts are still heavy for those who are and I’ve found myself thinking of them – have they found homes? Have they found the families they long for and who long for them? Are they learning, soul-healing deep, that they are loved with an everlasting love just as they are? Are they learning to love in return?

And I consider you & I – and wonder as well, how many of us are walking wounded, carrying labels that translate in our souls to unloveable. Unloved. I once shared with a group of ladies that I believe these hurts leave deep scratches on our hearts. Scratches that heal, but leave scars behind that chafe when they’re bumped. They might not (or they just might) come from neglect, abuse or the loss of a parent’s care, but they may just as easily come from a bully’s pointed taunts, from a trusted adult’s careless remark, from a spouse’s betrayal. We might even be self-injured, discounting our own value in disappointment and failure. These labels are as untrue and unacceptable for us as they are for children waiting for families.

As we bring up Sweet Girl to know how very loved she is, it is essential for her daddy and I to know that in order to lead her to the Healer of her soul, we need to meet with Him first. We need to know that despite our failings and our brokenness, we are loved and loveable. We are worth the hard work. We are valuable, precious, born with purpose, masterpieces.

You, friend, are valuable.  You are loved. May we each touch our healing scars, know that they are part of our shared humanity, and remember that in them is the proof that we are loved.

Would you like to know more about those ‘unadoptable’ children? Here’s a little video for you (warning: I can’t watch it without tears every.single.time)