Long, long ago, in eternity past, God determined that there would be a beautiful braid made of shining ribbons– a braid woven in the secret places, a braid called “adoption.”

Each ribbon was a different color: one the deepest of purples, another the richest of greens, the third the most vibrant of reds.

Each ribbon had a purpose, each a vital contribution, and each a unique position with the other two ribbons.

The green ribbon was to represent the adoptive family, chosen to nurture that God-given gift of life passed on from the birth family.

The red ribbon was to be the adoptee– a unique weaving together of nature and nurture into one marvelous human being with awesome potential.

And the purple ribbon was to be symbolic of the birth family, the family who made the courageous act to carry the pregnancy to birth and sacrificially relinquish that baby into the will of God.

The challenge for the adoptee would be to learn to integrate, or braid, the green, purple, and red ribbons. This would be no small task. However, the more the adoptee knew about both the biological and adoptive families, whether positive or negative, the greater the potential for integration and maturity would be.

“This all sounds lovely,” you may be saying. “But how does it ‘flesh out’ in daily life?'”

It happens every time the birth family is honored in front of the adoptee, for whenever that happens, the adoptee is also blessed and honored. Nature and nurture is mysteriously woven together, and the blossoming of the adoptee’s full potential is a step closer.

This kind of conversation should begin from day one: “We’re so glad your birth mommy gave you to us to love!”

It can also be done on special occasions. One adoptive mother always halts the blowing out of the birthday candles and says, “Let’s say a prayer for your birthmother.”

This is honoring. This is esteeming. In addition, it is an indirect validation of the adoptee’s core being, which was formed during the first nine months of life in utero. It is a literal calling forth of the true personality of the adoptee that often remains silent and undeveloped. This kind of openness and honesty requires sacrificial love on the part of adoptive parents. It requires that they put aside all feelings of overprotectiveness, jealousy, and fear that the child may someday want to reunite with birth parents. In a word, it means a continual letting go and putting the child first.

Another adoptive mother placed a photograph of her daughter’s birthmother in the nursery. This adoptee will grow up seeing the face of the courageous young woman who gave her the gift of life. Never will she have to search for her birthmother’s face in a crowd.

Celebrating the differences between the adoptee and the adoptive family is another way of restoring honor to the birth family. “I wonder who gave you that beautiful red hair,” or “I wonder where you got that creativity. Maybe from your birthmom?”

As an adult who was adopted during the “closed adoption system,” when information about birth parents was kept secret, I longed to know about my birthmother and family. When I met her eight years ago, it was as if a part of me came to life that I never knew existed! I felt validated and alive. There was finally someone who looked like me and whose voice sounded like mine. For the first time, I felt “real.”

A few weeks after our reunion, she announced she wanted nothing more to do with me. I was crushed, but I was also grateful for the information I had gained. Even then, I was able to braid another layer of my ribbon called adoption.