So. Here we are all of two months into the adoption process. Still at the beginning, I know. So I thought I would take this ICY day and tell the story from the beginning.
When my oldest son was 3 months old (that would be May of 20001) I watched some show on TV where Barbara Walters and Rosie O'Donnell were talking about adoption. Both are adoptive parents and their stories, along w/many other people- famous and not famous- were very inspiring, to say the least. I wept through most of the program. I mean WEPT. It went straight to my heart. At this point in time I honestly don't remember anything at all about the show except the ladies who hosted it, but after it was over I felt like God spoke to me. I felt I heard this in my heart: "You are going to have another baby, and it will be a boy. And later I want you to adopt a daughter." Really. Sound crazy? The answer is YES. And that's what I thought at the time too. I'm nuts. I'm postpartum. I'm overly emotional. I'm crazy. So in response to feeling like the Creator of the Universe had spoken to me... I went to bed.
The next Sunday Mick, Jack and I went to our wonderful church. Guess what my pastor spoke on that Sunday? ADOPTION. For real. The whole sermon was on what it means to be adopted and how we are all adopted into God's family, etc... etc... etc... I cried through the entire sermon and then I heard it AGAIN: "You are going to have another baby, and it will be a boy. And later I want you to adopt a daughter." So at this point I thought I had better start listening. I told Mick about it on the way home and all I remember about the conversation was Mick's blank look and his response: "Huh." At that point I thought that if God really wanted us to do something that huge, He would place it in Mick's heart too eventually and left it at that.
A little over 2 years later as I was having an ultrasound for my second pregnancy I heard the Doctor say, "It's a boy!" and it was all I could do not to say, "I know!" So there it was. The first part coming true! We had our second son in August 2003 and from there on I was waiting for the time when I would know it was right to start the adoption process.
For a long time I felt really content about waiting. When people would ask if I was going to have more kids I would always tell them that someday I wanted to adopt. But it was just an idea. Just a conversation. Just a hope. Mick would still give me that "huh" whenever I would talk about it. Then one day (don't remember the date- maybe sometime in 2005?) Mick breezed through the room where I was reading a book and said, "I think if we are going to adopt one child we should really just go ahead and adopt two. Because if we adopt one little girl we are going to spoil her and plus she won't have anyone to play with." and walked out. Seriously. I just sat in stunned silence. And now it was my turn to go, "Huh."
So the seeds were planted in our hearts. It was something we wanted, something we both felt was in our future. But when??? The year of 2006 was spent with me experiencing intense longing. EVERY day I prayed that God would lead us to our daughter. EVERY day. EVERY day I would feel an ache. A longing. A deep desire for the process to start so I could get that girl in my arms!!! But I did not feel it was time. After a year of this I became, well, irritated. Why wasn't this happening? Why didn't I feel the urge to start the process? I know it's not a short process, so shouldn't we get started??? Then in 2008 both my boys started school. I was ALONE. Which I LOVE. I only work part time so much of my time was MINE all MINE to do with as I pleased. It was glorious! And I began to feel like maybe I WAS crazy and had made the whole thing about adoption up in my mind and I could just forget about it and go on with this great new phase of life called RUNNING ERRANDS BY MYSELF!!! I even told some friends who knew all about my desire that I really didn't want it anymore. Selfishly I liked my time and could not imagine having to give it up and go back to diapers and naps and carting kids around to the grocery store. I asked them to pray for me b/c if God really wanted me to do this adoption thing He was going to have to speak loudly b/c I was in a place in my life where I didn't care if it didn't happen.
Then came December 2008. I don't know what happened. Actually nothing happened. I just got this urge. This desire. This feeling that I needed to start looking around on the internet for Adoption Agencies. And just like that, the process had begun! I was excited beyond belief. We started talking to the boys about adoption and what it meant and what it might be like to have a sister who didn't look like them. When we explained that many mommies love their children but because of lots of different circumstances (poverty, death, we really didn't go too deep on this w/ the boys at this age) they can't take care of them. And how that mommy's heart ACHES because she wants someone to love her children and give them a home with lots of love and enough food. Jack, with his kind and loving heart, replied one day, "WE could love those kids, mom! We have lots of love in our family!" OH! The beautiful ache.
Why Ethiopia? I have been asked this many times already and wish that I had a beautiful and eloquent, deep and poignant answer. But I don't. The best reason I can give is that maybe we chose Ethiopia because that's where our child is. That's all I've got. I'm reminded of the scene in The Silver Chair by CS Lewis where the children say to Aslan, "But you didn't call us- we were the ones asking to come here." and Aslan replies, "Children, you would not have called to me if I had not been calling to you."
To be honest, it doesn't feel anything like I had imagined. I had pictured starting the adoption process as a beautiful dream coming true! That I would happily wade through the paperwork joyously and with no doubt in my mind that what we were doing was perfect and right and going to turn out perfect and right! Instead, I have found myself riding a roller coaster of emotions that differ day to day. Some days I really am jubilant! Thrilled to be adding to our family and to be helping Africa at the same time. Some days I feel rather indifferent. Like it's so far away, why bother thinking about it too much. Other days I feel totally afraid. Afraid of how this is going to change Jack and Ben's lives in ways they have no idea about. Afraid of racism and how I won't know how to prepare my kids for the ways small minded people might treat them. Afraid of standing out like a spectacle everywhere we go. Afraid of the cost-financial and emotional- of the process. Afraid I don't have the energy to do it all again as a much older person that I was the first time. Afraid of the possibility of emotional trauma this child might have experienced and my ability (and patience) to cope with it. Afraid, afraid, afraid. And in those moments I have a choice to make. I can either give in to those fears and choose to just forget about the whole crazy idea and take the easy route and go on with "normal" life as we know it now, or I can choose to face them and stare them down. Yes, they are all valid fears. Not unreasonable. Not beyond the realm of possibility. But... BUT! I deeply believe that God's grace, mercy and HELP are sufficient and that even though I know my own failings, I also know the strength of my God.
Mick is so great about this. He totally lives in the moment and doesn't worry about things that are beyond his control. I try to learn from him... but my imagination gets away from me. A dear friend told me once that God doesn't have to soothe my imagination, because it's IMAGINATION. It's NOT REAL. Fear is a misuse of my imagination. So I'm trying to not let it get the best of me.
Because... well... because there's this:
And so it's worth it.