Waiting is hard.
One of the more trying aspects is that we’re coming up on two years of wanting our family to grow, but have nothing to show for it. January 2011, after a year of marriage, we started praying and planning, and asking God to show us how He wanted us to start our family. Adoption was always something we knew we would pursue at some point, and He surprised us by giving us a very clear call to do it first. We jumped in head first, and never turned back.
It’s hard to believe it’s been almost two years, and our family hasn’t changed. We’ve watched many of our friends have their first, second, and third babies. We’ve also watched many friends adopt children after a long wait, and in some cases an even longer battle with infertility. We rejoice with them, and are so thankful for God’s grace that covers us in those moments! At the same time, we have also cried many tears, and wondered why it feels like we’ve been seemingly “left behind.”
There have been a lot of hard days in this adoption journey. As the wait gets longer, and we hear a variety of “you haven’t been chosen” more frequently, we’re tempted to despair. We’re tempted to ask questions like “what’s wrong with us?” We’re tempted to become bitter towards the broken child welfare system, knowing we’re powerless to change it.
We’ve also come face to face with the depth of our own sin, and selfishness, quite frequently during this wait. We desperately need to believe the gospel in ways we have never considered before. Often, our hearts need to be refocused, and reminded, that we are not entitled to, or deserving of, any child. In those moments, the Spirit gently reminds us that we don’t deserve this blessing of children. If God chooses to bless us, and grow our family, that will be a precious gift we will welcome with open arms.
We also know that satan hates adoption. He definitely doesn’t want children to be welcomed into permanent families, especially families who desire to glorify Christ, and lead them to know Jesus! Satan is having a field day with our hearts and minds as we wait. The despair he tempts us to can be crushing at times. Keeping our eyes on Jesus is a moment by moment struggle as we fight for joy, contentment, and satisfaction in the only One who can give it.
It’s been an exhausting journey, and a risky one. There has been a lot of sacrifice involved. more than we anticipated, and we haven’t even been placed with a child yet! But, Adam and I can say with full confidence that the emotional exhaustion is worth it. The risk is worth taking, for the sake of the gospel. We wouldn’t change our decision to adopt for anything. We’re learning, slowly (and often with clenched fists), what it means to truly believe “to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
Don’t misunderstand, God has been covering us with His grace throughout this entire process. That is obvious to us! We know that God is faithful, and we trust He is doing something incredible behind the scenes that only He could orchestrate. Adam and I often equate this journey to our very own love story, and how God brought us together in a beautifully unique way that only He could. Um, hello, we were on the same flight to and from East Asia, with CRU, in the summer of 2006 and wouldn’t even meet for another two and a half years! Beautiful 🙂
We’re also living in a very broken world, where we should expect suffering and trials to come. Being a Christian, (well, more specifically living a radical life as an obedient follower of Jesus), doesn’t mean life is going to be easy peasy. In fact, it’s a whole heck of a lot more difficult to follow Jesus in a world where running after the “quick fix” is the norm. So, we continue to wait. We continue to fight satan and his lies. We continue to fight for joy by keeping our eyes on Jesus.
With that being said, here’s a little update (which isn’t much of an update at all, because nothing has changed since last time I updated) 🙂
Our home study has been in the hands of 15-20 case workers (I’ve lost count at this point), for a number of expectant moms, young children, and sibling groups. If we’re not chosen, we usually don’t hear anything. Months go by, and we just assume another family was picked. More recently we’ve heard straight up “no” a handful of times. We appreciate the clear answer, and agree that the details of that particular situation is more than we could handle, but sometimes that’s harder than silence. With that we keep moving forward by faith.
There you have it….a very real glimpse into the adoption process, and our hearts. I know this hasn’t exactly been a “feel good” blog post, and I’ve probably scared some of you away from adoption. I hope that’s not the case. If you still want to pursue adoption after reading this, then I think that’s probably a good sign 🙂
I know many of you have been praying for us, and you have no idea how much that means to Adam and myself! Please keep doing so while keeping in mind the very real things we continue to struggle with. Adoption is hard, and often times Adam and I feel like we’re completely alone in this process.
If you’re wondering how you can come alongside us in some practical ways, may I share a few closing thoughts with you?
1) Please don’t be afraid to ask us how we are doing. We recognize the reality that adoption is a daily thought for us, and for many (probably most?) it might not ever cross your mind. Or maybe you are just unsure about how to carefully, and thoughtfully, ask us about it? That would be completely understandable, as it can certainly be a sensitive subject. We are giving you permission to ask, and welcome your questions about how we are doing, and what the process looks like.
2) When you do ask questions, may I lovingly suggest you re-word them a bit? Instead of “how’s the adoption going?” or “any updates?” (which are fine questions, just not the most helpful for conversation) would you mind asking how we are doing personally instead? We are happy to share whatever we feel comfortable sharing (Clearly I’m very against shallow conversation!). It would mean a lot to us if you would ask varieties of “how are you doing?” or “What’s God been teaching you guys as you wait?” Honestly, it’s really hard to answer “no update” over and over again to very well-meaning questions. It’s just tiring, and then the conversation doesn’t go anywhere because we don’t usually have anything to share. I can assure you that when something big happens, you’ll know 🙂
3) We know that every comment, and question, comes from a heart that loves us, already loves our future children, and is just curious. We are so grateful for that, and we don’t want to take it for granted! But, again, there are some comments that are unintentionally hurtful for any adoptive parent to hear. Here are a few that we’ve heard multiple times over the course of this journey, that we thought would be helpful for you to know as you seek to care for us and converse with us about the adoption:
- Please don’t tell us the nightmare adoption story about your aunt’s best friend’s daughter “and how she…” or about “the birthmother who took her baby back.” This is similar to a pregnant woman being told labor and delivery horror stories. It’s just not helpful, and those stories are incredibly rare in real life/only appear in Lifetime movies.
- Please refrain from telling us “just you wait, you’ll probably get pregnant as soon as you adopt!” I’ve already blogged about this, and like I mentioned above, this decision to adopt first was completely our choice.
- “When are you getting a baby?” or “when will the adoption happen?” No idea. This question is quite jarring, and if we knew, we’d be shouting it from the rooftops 🙂
- “Don’t you want your own children?” Yes, any adoptive or biological child will be our own. I’ve also written about this at the link above.
- “You guys are saints/amazing/heroes!” or “that child is going to be so lucky!” You’re very kind, and we know that you’re just trying to compliment us, but no, we’re not. These comments makes us extremely uncomfortable. We’re not trying to save children. We’re not heroes. We trust, by faith, that we are going to be ridiculously blessed by any child God places in our home.
Adam and I are so thankful for the phenomenal group of family, friends, and church family, near and far, who care about us, and want to walk this journey with us. THANK YOU for joining us in this!