Monday, July 27, 2009

The Funk

I've been in a funk lately, and not the fun kind. I've been really weirded out about the adoption for a few weeks now. There is a lot of shame involved in writing this post- but that's what makes me know I really must write it. One thing I do know for sure is that 'hiding' never heals anything. So I"m putting it out there. Shame be damned! If you are a person who has adopted, maybe (hopefully?) you have felt some of these same things and will let me know that maybe (hopefully?) it's normal and that maybe (please God!) it will pass soon. If you are a person who has adopted and you have never felt any of the following... well... please just keep that to yourself. ;-)

It started right after we got on the waiting list. Simultaneous joy and terror. And when I say terror, I don't mean the average 'wow. this is big. i'm taking this job seriously.' kind of terror. I mean waking up in the middle of the night w/ a pit in my stomach thinking things like, "There is NO WAY I can do this!!! TWO more people in this very small house??? What were we thinking??? This was a huge mistake. Why on earth did I do all that freakin' paperwork??? I don't have room- not in this house, not in the budget, and maybe not even in my HEART to do this!!!" See- terror. The reality of adding two more people to our lives was just overwhelming to me. Everything I was thinking was totally fear-based. (I'm writing in the past tense, because I'm hoping it passes soon, but really, it's very present tense for me right now.) I was afraid of whether or not I would love them and they would love me. I was afraid of how it would challenge my marriage. I was afraid it would make me neglect Jack and Ben. I was afraid that we wouldn't have the money to do anything fun ever again as long as we lived because I remembered about how little kids have to go to the doctor like every other day and need medicine for every little cough, bump, fever, etc... Things are so easy right now with Jack (8) and Ben (almost 6). "Boys, go take a shower." (yes, you have to remind them to wash themselves, and then check to see if they really did, but still- easy.) "Boys, buckle up." "Boys, fix yourself some breakfast." "Boys, go get your clothes on and brush your teeth and get your backpacks and get in the car." So easy. And I am willingly going to dive back into diapers and baby food and naps and the crying and the fit throwing and potty training and grocery shopping with small children? And how a mom w/ small kids is NEVER really clean- someone has always wiped a mouth or a nose or a sticky hand somewhere. NOT easy. I was even worried about how on God's green we would put FOUR kids through college. I finally said the TRUTH to myself: I don't really want to do this. There. I said it. Everyone give a mutual GASP on the count of three, and let the judgement begin.

Yes, I realize how terrible that sounds. Believe me. I've been thinking "I don't deserve to get to adopt these kids... they should go to a family that is LONGING for them." The crazy thing is: I WAS that person before the funk. So I have to believe that I will be that person again. But right now, not so much.

So... I had to ask myself why I am doing this. Really. I mean, I've been talking about my desire to adopt for YEARS now, and I did paperwork for 6 months to make this happen. So apparently I really do want to do this. Why? What pricked my heart and made me desire this in the first place? Well... not to pass the buck, but: God. It's probably obvious by now that I am not a saint. I don't always think or do the right things and my heart can be exceedingly unfaithful. I want things that are not good for me and can be tremendously stubborn. Like my man Rich Mullins wrote: "Surrender don't come natural to me. I'd rather fight You for something I don't really want than take what You give and I need." But somehow, God got through to this unfaithful heart, spoke to this deeply flawed character and planted a seed in my heart- a seed that said, "I want you to make a difference." And I said, "Okay."

I have to believe that because this is God's dream, He will be there every step of the way to help me. I absolutely KNOW that in my own strength I CANNOT do this. I am far too selfish, lazy, carnal, and weak. So even though the funk isn't over, I am trying to trust that it soon will be.

I went back and re-read some of my favorite quotes to help get my mind, heart, and attitude back where they need to be. Here's what I need to continually remind myself of:

"It is poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." Mother Theresa

"Why is my life more valuable than this baby's? Someone asked me recently why I don't save money for emergencies, or retirement. My answer was how can I justify saving for myself "just in case" something happens to me when something IS happening to so many already. 29,000 kids will die today of preventable causes. If I'm to love my neighbor AS myself, why spend so much time worrying about me?" Francis Chan

"...Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." (Proverbs 24:12)

Richard Stearns, President of World Vision, US said,
"I believe that this could very well be looked back on as the sin of our generation. I look at my parents and ask, where were they during the civil rights movement? I look at my grandparents and ask, what were they doing when the holocaust in Europe was occurring with regard to the Jews, and why didn't they speak up? And when we think of our great, great, great-grandparents, we think how could they have sat by and allowed slavery to exist? And I believe that our children and their children, 40 or 50 years from now, are going to ask me, what did you do while 40 million children became orphans in Africa?"
I know that it feels like the problem is way too big for us to really do anything to make a difference, but I know with all my heart that touching the life of just one, just ONE, child can truly make a difference. And if everyone touched the life of just one child, we could reach them all. "

Richard Stearns, president of World Vision, took some liberties with Matthew 25:35 and wrote a paraphrase version for today.
"For I was hungry, while you had all you needed. I was thristy, but you drank bottled water. I was a stranger, and you wanted me deported. I needed clothes, but you needed more clothes. I was sick, and you pointed out the behaviors that led to my sickness. I was in prison, and you said I was getting what I deserved."

"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I should do and, with the help of God, I will do." Edward Everett Hale

And last, but certainly not least, there is this:

May I have
The courage today
To live the life
That I would love,
To postpone my dream
No longer
But do at last
What I came here for
And waste my heart
On fear no more.

Source, John O’Donohue
To Bless the Space Between Us

...So I continue to say "yes" and trust that there is some bigger picture, something much bigger than me and my little life that this is all a part of. I do want to live a life that I can be proud of. But things you are proud of always involve sacrifice. I believe that it will be worth it. Not easy... but worth it.


neely said...

totally normal and honest...those moments changes but still exist even for us once we came home. But we know that God is good and love and faithful! thankful for this glorious journey!

Kerri said...

Sorry you're in such a funk right now. I don't think any of us make it through this long and difficult process without something similar. It will pass! (Hope you can make it to dinner on Thursday.)

nancy said...

Seriously, girl, i can RELATE. i had those feelings for a good couple of months even AFTER we brought E home! Life with my self-sufficient 6 year old was pretty dang easy. I still even have brief "funks" that last a couple minutes or more, but I felt all those feelings and MORE!
God will bless you for being honset and working through these issues.

Just Mom said...

I've never adopted a child, but I did have moments during my pregnancy with JS when fear struck and I wondered the same things about financial futures, etc., and what in the world I was doing becoming a mom. Once I had him, I never looked back on my previous life.

I'm praying for strength for you -- and for some of that FunkBeGone. :-D

emily said...

The enemy desires to rob, kill and destroy and certainly doens't want these 2 kiddos to come into your home- these feelings are normal. Hang in there- I bet the funk will pass quickly and a new funk of "when will we get the call" will set in. :)

Sohailah said...

Girl you are NORMAL - well, actually, you are HEALTHY. You will be the perfect Mom and RIGHT family for those two children. As an adopted one - THANK YOU. You know the life I've lived - we lived part of it together, and we both knwo darn well I woudln't be the wonderfully adjusted, healthy person I am if not for my parents - seriously, can you imagine the FREAK I wouldv'e been if I HADN'T been adopted?! You are healthy. If you didn't feel any of that I would think you were a freak - and a touch out of touch with reality. Love you!

Charissa said...

Good news, you're normal! If you could just know how much I panicked, except mine hit just after we got our travel date, about two weeks before we met our daughter. I was sure we had made the biggest mistake of my life. But that little "mistake" is sitting beside me, singing to her invisible baby doll, patting my leg and saying "Mama" as I type this. And I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!

Kimberlie said...

Oh Gayla, I have so been there and done that. You are NORMAL. You are OK. Before each of our adoptions I panicked to one degree or another. This third adoption tested my will and obendience to the MAX. I fought God every single day. I wanted to say, "My will God, not yours!" But instead, I would just grumble, "OK Lord, NOT my will but your will be done."

Call me if you need to talk. I am here for you!!!

Jocelyn said...

I can't speak for everyone but believe me, I had moments of fear, what the heck am I doing and what was I thinking. I got through it...I knew in my heart I would and so will you. You need to come out Thursday for dinner...hug on the Ethiopian babies and relish that yours will be home one day soon.

Julie said...

How many of us have had the same emotions during our pregnancy? The only difference is that the baby is coming whether we like it or not, so it's a bit easier to let go of those anxieties. One of my very close friends returned from China last week with a daughter. I can say with absolute certainty that there were moments where she and her husband both questioned what they were doing. It is a long and difficult process, and it's understandable to have those feelings.

In a pregnancy, you have the simple reminder of your baby kicking and moving inside you. It's not the same with adoption. It's paperwork, home studies and waiting. A little harder to stay excited and stay out of the "funk."

You are a creative, fun and thoughtful mom. You will continue to be those things to Jack and Ben and your two girls that God has set aside for you right now.

Hang in there!

Michelle Grace said...

I think it's great that you posted this. You will actually help so many people who are in the middle of adoption or are thinking about adoption understand the emotions involved.

And I am agreeing with everyone else. You are SO NORMAL.

I felt many of the same things when we were waiting to adopt Lily. I had many days where I literally freaked out and thought about stopping the adoption. I had many days when I was in tears at the thought of bringing another child into the family. I thought I was crazy for bringing our child count to a whopping 4:-)

Just take a deep breath and do what you did today- fill your heart with word and keep surrendering your adoption plan to the Lord.

Brooke said...

Hi Gayla,

A friend just passed along your blog link this morning. We're planning to start the process to adopt from Ethiopia next year. We also have two boys, and I'm and Aussie while my hubby is American. I didn't see an email link on your blog, but I'd love to ask you a couple of questions about getting the Australian documents as I'll be going home next week for a couple of months. My email is


Charissa said...

I enjoyed Hole in Our Gospel. Thanks for the recommendation.

Teabo Chica said...

Girl...finding your post today made me burst out crying> I AM THERE I even woke up from not sleeping going What the Heck am I doing!??
Have I gone made I am doing what?!
IN a totaly as you would say FUNK! Thanks for being honest with your words! Cant wait to see how being scared for Jesus looks like :)!

Selam! G'day! Hello!