Sunday, April 02, 2006
"Nothing is as simple as we hope it will be." - Jim Horning
Well, its finally April. March of 2006 proved to be an achingly long month. Full of incredible joy and celebration and mixed with some real stress and sadness. And remember- we got our referral on March 1st. It proves that the families who are waiting for a referral and the families who have a referral and are waiting to travel and the families who haven't really had to do much waiting at any one point in the process- all suffer their own challenges. None of this is simple. I remember last summer talking with Mark about having more kids and at first we thought- lets have kids the way we already have- because that is easy- we know how to do that! And its true that in some cases- (not all) it is easier. There are obviously things are so vastly different- you can't compare the two. But there are many facets of both which are markedly similar.
So, I haven't posted in awhile. Some of that had to do with the fact that we had this referral and needed to make decisions and also we are not allowed to post much info about it. But the other reason is that it has been a difficult time talking with people about our decision to adopt- and the decision to adopt two has just pushed people over the edge. I think I finally heard the last of why our family thinks we are crazy...at least I hope I have. It turns out they all have had a chance to get their say at some point. And then when I started to email my CWA web board about how people have reacted...I found an interesting response- all of their families and friends think they are pretty much crazy as well. This starts with the couples who haven't birthed any children- people say "Why don't you try infertility treatments? who don't you wait a little bit, maybe God will work a miracle, why don't you take a vacation- it would relieve stress and then maybe you will get pregnant..." This list of insensitive comments goes on. Then you have the folks who just plain chose adoption...these people did not attempt to conceive a child...they are bound to have people make every comment under the sun about "why don't you have one of your own? "You know those kids might end up being messed up." "Have you thought about adopting domestically? aka what about trying for a white newborn baby?"
And then there are folks like us- and you wouldn’t believe how many of us there are out there. families with 2 or more birth children (or adopted) who are adopting (again) more than one child from Ethiopia. I was amazed at how many people were adopting more than one child. Its funny how we all come to what we think will be the easier thing. I know one couple- they have a 2 year old and are looking to adopt twins less than 18 months - to me that sounds really challenging...when she heard we had requested a toddler boy and an older child 4-7- she said, "Oh I could never do that- that sounds really hard!" We have friend we have met through this process and they have two children about 6 and 14. They started this thinking they wanted one child- the younger the better- they went from one to two- about the same time as we did and then they were recently referred two sets of sibling groups of three. The one set has two young ones and one a bit older but the other set has three young school aged kids. They are leaning towards taking three- and they are leaning towards the older group- just not into babies. I know there are so many families out there who would take the younger set of siblings over the older set any day- but that is not what this couple is being called to or feeling compelled to do. One of our other friends- a couple with no kids is adopting two teenagers. To Mark and I...that sounds harder than the two little ones we are getting. Many would argue that the teens would be easier- I mean they are potty trained right?
So it goes to show you- everyone is so different I what they feel they- as a family- can handle- and what they want to and can do. Our family- looks at us and they see something different from what we see. We can't change that vantage point. We can listen to their concerns and we can take it all very seriously as we have. But in the end - it is what we feel we are here for. We feel our kids are at a place where they are excited- they can help- and they want this as much as we do. If we waited a few years as has been suggested, our kids will be teens- they won't see things the same way they do now and they may not be as invested an bringing two baby brothers into their family. We wanted out kids to all be a bit closer in age- its nice that Madeline is nearly 13- but it also means she will be going off to college when our baby is 5! Just entering kindergarten. I can't imagine waiting any longer- and I can't imagine a more perfect time than now- we own our home, we both have great jobs, our kids are old enough to help- but young enough to enjoy being part of the family- it feels like the timing is perfect- as is God's timing.
The support from the CWA board this week has been so wonderful. I will post a few of the emails- so that you all who may be reading this blog- who are adopting and getting comments from others- that are often insensitive and you are feeling down- questioning your choices- I will give you these words from other families - encouraging words of faith. Nothing is as simple as we hope it will be. But we can do and say many things to make things simpler for others. Thanks to those of you who have done that for us.
Comments From Others:
"What you are doing is beautiful. You are blazing a trail. They talk about Hollywood being "brave" for making Broke Back Mountain. I'd like to see your family made into a feature - you are truly brave! Bravery is not doing what you already do around your like minded friends. Bravery is stepping out and doing what others are afraid of doing to make the world better."
"I have also experienced A LOT of questions, looks and raised eyebrows. I also get ignorant remarks (My least fave -- "oh, you're doing the Angelina Jolie."). I have people asking me why we aren't doing infertility treatments, why not domestic, why not this, why not that. It is amazing to me that so many people who are peripheral to my life seem to feel it appropriate to weigh in on my family and choices to adopt and raise a child with my husband. I have been blessed in that our entire family has been incredibly supportive and loving but initially we had the questions and "concerns" raised as well. We just tried to talk through them and help people understand where we are at, what we are doing, and they came around VERY quickly. It also helped that we developed a website to have people go through some of this with us and to use as a tool for education about adoption, Ethiopia, infertility, and just generally have them see how much fun it can be to expect your first child - no matter how you define "expecting." The best thing about what we have in each other is the desire to help and pray for each other. I am so grateful for all of you on this board. This process would not be nearly as manageable as it has been if not for the love each of you have shown me and each other."
"Thank you all so much! It fills my heart with joy and my eyes with tears when I read your comments and prayers. No one else could ever understand what we are all going through. It is the web board and prayer that keep me going and seeing a light at the end. Thank you again for all your prayers. God is awesome and He knows are hearts and thoughts. I hold to His plan, not mine. Thank you Jesus for bringing these families to us and for protecting our children. You are glorious and righteous."
"I hear your heart and will be praying for you. I have seen where God uses a quiet example to change the hearts of others. What appears to others as overwhelming and crazy at first seems just right when witnessed in action. I pray that we all can be a witness to God's goodness through adoption and that we will be careful with our words (especially me on this one) so others can see that we are believers and positive encouragers of what we are doing. Which by the way has many biblical examples - Moses and of course, we are adopted into God's family. So maybe a response could be "God did and so am I!" I'm praying your day is filled with God's grace and goodness and it leaks into the weekend. Walking with you in this journey."
"We face the same comments as you all! We have a smaller home and everyone asks "Where are you going to put two more?" Well, all I can say is that we recently looked at moving and when we told our children that we felt God was asking us to wait...our two oldest each said good, we like our home! That was from two teenagers. Everyone's spiritual gifts are different. I took a spiritual gifts test last night and my highest is "Hospitality". Listed under hospitality is adoption. I felt so good knowing that I am using my spiritual gift for God's glory. We live is a selfish world where children are considered a burden. Most people won't understand us. Isn't it sad for them...?"
How good to hear from you! I was praying for you again this morning. Don't let other's concern bring you into doubt - you have been led by God to do this, or you wouldn't be here. Have you read John Piper's book "Don't Waste Your Life"? It really impacted us, and when I start thinking I am crazy, will regret this, don't know what I'm doing, etc, I remember the call of that book - to live life with purpose. Em, think about what life for these boys would be like without adoption. You are very possibly providing them the means of SURVIVAL. Not to mention, hope, a future, love, the gospel, witness to the world - this shows in such a huge way how BIG God is - we have been given an incredible privilege to participate with God in His work. He could do all of it without us, but He has chosen to allow us to participate with Him - it's an honor, a blessing, and He will make a way for you and your family no matter what the future bring."
Nothing is as simple as we hope it will be.