It's a painful thing to hear for sure and a scenario that is even more complicated in the dynamic of a child who is still testing his relationship with his adoptive mom.
But, what creates a lump in my throat every time I think about it is what my friend replies back to this little boy every time he tells her he doesn't love her, "That's okay, you don't have to love me, but, I love you very much and I always will!"
That, my friends, is unconditional love, only made possible by Jesus shining so brightly through this dear woman of God!
And it reminded me of this post I published on October 5, 2011 (the 4 year old I spoke of is now 6 and the Ethiopian daughter is now home and KNOWS we are her family!):
Recently as I was putting my 4 year old son down for a nap, I kissed him and said, “I love you.” He said, “I love you, too.” That exchange happens often, but then he asked me a question that stopped me cold.
“Would you love me even if I didn’t love you?”
It was a good question. A big question for anyone to ask of another human being, much less to come from a 4 year old.
I began my answer to my little guy like many parents probably would, "Of course I'd love you! No matter what, I'll always love you, even if you did not love me."
But because we've been in this process to adopt a little girl from Ethiopia for over 2 years, it's something we've talked about for so long that my 4 year old son probably does not remember life before adoption was a regular family topic of conversation, I was also able to illustrate it for him like this, "You know (insert name of our Ethiopian daughter here)? She doesn't love us right now, she doesn't even know we are her family, but we love her, right?"
And oh how we love her! How we desperately want her home with us!
But, we do not love her because she loves us.
We love her because she was created by God in His image and because hers was the picture He predestined to have flash up from an email onto our computer screen that wonderful referral day.
We love her because that is how God first loved us, when we didn't love Him.
"In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."
1 John 4:9-11
"We love because He first loved us."
1 John 4:19