God makes families.
Sometimes these families start in a delivery room, with tear-filled eyes and loud baby cries.
Sometimes families are born out of tears shed for other reasons:
The tears of a teenager, whose physical agony in labor is only surpassed by the heartbreak she feels signing papers that surrender her child to another.
The tears of a woman facing one more miscarriage, or one more failed fertility treatment, or one more night of hollow, aching grief.
The tears shed by an aunt or a grandmother or a cousin whose poverty has made it too hard to care for her orphaned relative. The tears underlying the painful decision to choose an orphanage over a life of desperation.
The hidden, internalized tears of a young person in foster care, once more shuffled to a new house to live. The tears of watching a dream called “home” fade away.
These experiences of loss and grief mark many lives—and they’re not easily or magically overcome. But they can lead toward tears of joy, of miracle, of wonder. To the tears shed when God, in his own way, makes a family.
God makes families through various means—through labor and childbirth, but also through adoption, through foster care, through indefinable ties of love and friendship. A mother’s love isn’t limited by genetics. A child’s bond with his parents isn’t determined by DNA. Even a life-worn teenager or a young adult can become somebody’s baby.1