Wow. I have been wanting and wanting to write for the longest time… and was somehow unable. The reason? I’ve been… well… sad. Confused? Maybe a little depression thrown in. Basically the opposite of everything I thought would happen after I made the announcement that JD and I were adopting a child.
The funny thing is – I’m no good at keeping secrets. I don’t like when things are in the dark. I thought it would be a huge relief, burden lifted and joyous occasion when I let the world in on our new endeavor. Instead I’m feeling… I’m not really sure. But maybe I shouldn’t try to explain that… or you’ll just get more adjectives. With no real connection. 🙂
I started this blog with the desire to help educate my family and friends about what we were doing, and why we were doing it. In a large part, I’ve barely even begun to break ground in that area but I think I might have missed something important. Before I make efforts to relate people to my child, I think I need to make efforts to relate them to me.
I am thrilled about what we’re doing – It’s what I’ve been wanting to do my whole life, and I feel like it’s the greatest opportunity we’ve ever been given. What thrills me even more is that JD is twice as excited as I am. He’s solid when I waver, completely dedicated to what, he is certain, is the best investment we can make. But maybe I should have mentioned something else. Something more along the line of, I feel scared.
Yes, I’m apprehensive that my child will probably not connect with me immediately. I’m also nervous that I’m going to have to go into the deepest parts of their suffering and sit there, quietly waiting for them to open up. I’m afraid that I will fail them, misinterpret, misrepresent Christ – and I’m terrified that in the end I may very well feel that all of our efforts have been fruitless and our child will walk away from us. By God’s grace, I’m able to keep all of this in balance knowing that God called us to this place. And He will equip us. And He is the one who changes hearts. God has given me, through His provision, a lens through which I’ve been able to process all of this without being mastered by fear. I truly feel free.
I know, I said above that I was scared. And I am. But what scares me most, more than any other thing is being misunderstood and passed over. Not by my child – by those “observing.”
All my life I felt as though I was on trial – being judged. I can not escape it and for some reason (either God’s been giving healing in *very* micro-doses, I haven’t made myself available to receive healing, or who knows what) it seems to be the driving force of whatever I do. Will I be good enough? Am I pretty enough? Am I smart compared to this person? And why in the world does everybody do a better job than me? I’m fairly certain everyone is aware of my shortcomings, and I’m even more certain that when I leave the room it quickly becomes the main topic of conversation. Ah – I know this is ridiculous. I’m prone to repeating that to myself again and again. But somehow it’s always true, it’s always taking root in every new endeavor. Including this one.
I am quickly realizing that this mindset needs to die. If I’m ever going to convince someone that their past doesn’t matter, and if I’m ever going to risk looking ridiculous because of an ever-present handicap, it needs to happen now; or, I will have nothing genuine to offer to my child. Because genuine change never happens in private. It needs to be tested and even exploited. I want to walk in security before God and men, knowing that I have the approval of those from whom it is REALLY required.
I guess I’m saying all this for a few reasons. Partly because I genuinely like confession. Which is an odd thing, for someone who seeks so much approval from people, I’m awfully quick to point out my flaws. Maybe I like to hide behind them, so when I feel bad I can point to it and say, “See?” But the main reason I’m saying it though, is because I’m feeling that while people want to have something to relate to me about, I’m hearing a lot of stories about adoptions gone awry. I didn’t expect it to throw me the way it has…but it has. And while I always enjoy hearing about other people’s stories, and I just enjoy talking with people about “life” in general, I’m realizing that this is not proving to be a “timely” word to me right now. I completely understand that most people (including myself before we started this whole process) have no frame of reference on which to anchor their opinions about adoption. It’s not a very common thing, and adopting out of foster care is even less common. Not only that, shouldn’t people my age really be adopting infants? I mean, it does seem to be a more natural fit. And what we’re doing seems, well, unnatural (on many levels). But regardless, it’s part of what defines me now. And while I love questions over coffee (even those ones that might seem weird and overly personal) and I DEFINITELY don’t want anyone walking on eggshells around me, I think I’m learning that at this point in my life that I need to guard my heart. I’m so thankful for your prayers because I definitely do expect some really hard realities things as a result of our adoption and knowing that you are praying helps me determine who I can relate to, because I feel like a big swollen object that people stare at and muse over but don’t really know what to do with. I’m struggling through the feelings of isolation.
I hope I’m not conveying anything inappropriate – actually the reason I hadn’t written (I see it clearer now) is that I was maybe too afraid to just come out and tell people what I really needed in this time in my life. I was afraid it would be too large a request, and it might even come off as a rebuke which is not what I’m intending. Maybe I’m just letting people know that I understand that this is different, and I understand that it’s probably really difficult to see where I’m coming from. So, being in this place where the Lord called us, right now prayer and really positive encouragement is what would be so greatly appreciated right now, I guess I’m wanting to let you in on a little secret about how to make my world a whole lot brighter – and might make you a place of refuge as a kindred spirit.