A very close friend of mine (Samantha) recently adopted, as a single parent, a six year old daughter (Justine or J-girl as I like to call her). Through our many long distance phone conversations walking through the adoption process together we have talked about a multitude of things, most specifically Samantha’s experience as an adoptive parent and the subsequent reactions of those around her. As a Social Worker and also an adopted child myself this experience as shared through my dear friends eyes has been a journey that I cherish and learn through almost daily.
It was several weeks ago that Samantha said something to me that has continued to resonate deep in my heart and I feel compelled to share it with you. As Samantha navigates the system of social workers, school boards, play therapists along with her own personal support system she understands that others see Justine in different ways. Some see behavior, other’s see brokenness and sadly some see nothing but challenges. Discussing this one night, Samantha made an awe inspiring comment about where she comes from on this; she told me that from the minute she met Justine she “saw her”. This reference had to be explained to me but is related to the movie Avatar where the characters say to each other “ I see you” instead of I love you. (It has the same meaning but much, much deeper). She saw Justine for the beauty that resonates out of her six year old little body, sees her where she is and not where she should be, sees her exactly in the moment and because of this it allows her a level of patience and understanding that she never before has experienced.
This is when it hit me. In this month of Love celebrated by some of us through Family Day and Valentine’s Day we attempt to honor each other through gestures of love……time together, gifts, cards and the like. Thinking deeper on this, can we actually say that we ‘see’ those that we love? And can and does this extend to the greater work that we do on a daily basis when interacting with those in our worlds? Challenging thought isn’t it? To see each other, I think provides hope and light where maybe there wasn’t any before.
As an eternal optimist I believe that most of us do this, but maybe not as much as we like. So why don’t we spend the month leaning into this and do our level best to fully ‘see’ those around us, let the other stuff slide away. Because I truly believe that all of us share one commonality – the desire to be seen for who we are- it validates that our journey’s are special and in turn so are we.