Picture this: A happy, smiling family of five. Picture them seated, posing for a photo on an over-sized chair in front of a lamp in the family room. Now, picture them laughing together, cooking in the kitchen. Okay, move them upstairs to the game room and picture them looking lovingly at one other, enjoying one of their favorite card games. Do you get the picture? Oh, for good measure, put in a photo of the five of them taken on the staircase. They look cute don't they? Add in this detail: all of this is for an interview for a magazine which has a fairly wide, maybe even international, circulation. (Or at least more readers than this blog!)
Doesn't that sound perfect?
I will never look at magazine articles in the same way again! Do you know why? Because the family described above was my family a couple of weeks ago. Now when I see such an article, instead of assuming or imagining how perfect they might be or how perfectly decorated their house is, I might imagine what's going on in the Mom's mind...
"Okay, I hate this lamp. I wish it weren't in the picture.... And don't move that throw off of the arm of the chair! The upholstery is worn and there's a hole!"
"Oh, great. Pictures of us cooking... and I didn't "stage" the kitchen. SO much stuff on the countertops!"
"Really? A shot of my profile? I hate my profile!"
"Hmm. Glasses on or glasses off?..."
"Oh good, a photo op in the game room, with shelves in the background piled with disorganized games... the one place in the house I would never have shown anyone..."
And on and on and on it went. Every insecurity I had came with me to that interview in my home two weeks ago. Every single one. I absolutely hate having photos taken. Unfortunately, they tend to look just like me. For me, it's a bit like hearing my recorded voice ("I sound like that?") only in picture form. ("Is THIS what I look like?") Ugh. And the house. Our decor is a time capsule, frozen in time in about 2001 (and everything we bought up to that point.) And my word. Do I ever ramble.
But you know what? The article is about us and our adoption story. Thankfully, the title of the article is not "How A Perfect Family with A Perfect Home Can Adopt The Perfect Child And Look Good Doing It." Thank goodness! Because we're not, we don't, we didn't and we don't. (Or at least I don't, LOL.) Who would that help, anyway?
Maybe, next time you see a photo of a plaid couch or a cluttered kitchen, or a woman with not the cutest haircut, or wearing an outfit just this side of in style... it might be that that woman gave up recreational decorating, clothes shopping and hair color to afford international mission trips and a subsequent adoption. Maybe she agreed to the interview so she could show how big her God is and hopefully get more older kids adopted into more homes. Maybe God gave her a heaping helping of grace that day to get her through that interview. Behind that smile might just be one of the most insecure people you could ever meet.
And it just might be me.