I spend a good portion of my time praying, day dreaming, thinking, wondering about our daughter-to-be. I've spent a lot of time lately thinking about adoption itself on a much deeper level. That one little word is so complex and full of meaning. On one side it is purely glorious. On another, it is dark and sad, wounded and broken.
We've spent a lot of our adoption process thus far taking a lot of classes, reading books, completing online modules. My thinking regarding adoption was always fairly solid. Our church has an amazing adoption culture and has done a fantastic job educating all of us about the gospel picture it is. I studied social work in college and understand the beautiful family-creating mechanism it can be. Adoption is beautiful and wonderful. It is a gift.
I guess I just always made a choice to see only the nice parts. The "other side" of the mountain parts. I never stopped to see the humble and broken beginnings. Now that I look at it in the context of our daughter, things have changed. It is awkward and complex. People hear we are adopting and they instantly say, "You must be so excited." They are right to say that. I am excited. It would be wrong to say otherwise, but it also pains me to say the word "excitement" when I refer to the eventual adoption of our daughter.
When I think about the process of having our biological children I remember such joy and anticipation of their eventual arrival. Never once did I think about what they would go through to get here (I did, however, think about what I would go through to get them here!). While birth is probably a rather traumatic event, none of us remember it. God designed it that way. When I think about the process of getting our daughter in China here, it is so, so different. Yes, we have to go through an exhausting and challenging battle to get her here, but what she has to endure to get here, well, it brings tears to my eyes. And there is no guarantee she will not remember.
Adoption is a beautiful and wonderful thing, but let us never forget that the genesis of adoption is trauma and brokenness. Somewhere, over an ocean and a couple continents away, a mother will give birth. For reasons we will likely never comprehend, she decides she will be unable to keep and raise her child, so she abandons her (it is not legal to give up your child for adoption in China, so you must simply abandon them). Our daughter, precious and new, helpless and innocent, will be left somewhere...a city gate, an orphanage door, a busy street. Then, her sweet, amazing, life giving mother will turn and walk away. Her agony is our joy because now, she can become ours. I thank her mother for her bravery. In China you are urged to have an abortion if you've had too many children or any defect in the child is detected. Her agonizing, terrible choice to walk away will one day be our overwhelming joy. Yet somehow, as her adoptive mother, I will one day have to walk my daughter through this. Why her mother made this choice, how it happened, why her, how was she so undesirable to one, yet longed for by another. There will be questions I cannot answer.
So yes, I am deeply and eagerly excited for our daughter to arrive--to see her sweet face, smell her skin, and stroke her hair. I am not, however, excited for what she must endure--the brokenness she will carry for a lifetime. I pray God will mend her heart as only He can. Sweet daughter in China, you are already a little warrior and so miraculous. You are simply amazing and I love you to my core even before I know you.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
It has been way too long since we've had some non-adoption related family updates! Here is a photo over load of some of the fun we've had in the last several months:
These little nuggets turned three. THREE!! I guess I cannot refer to them as "the babies" any longer. Somehow "the pre-schoolers" doesn't have quite the same ring to it. They are the most complicated, sanctifying, fulfilling, overwhelming, joyful, complex, and stretching part of each day for me. There still isn't a day that goes by that I don't say, "God, you sure you wanted me (ME?!) to be the mommy of twins?! I sure do make a mess of almost each day!" Yet He is so faithful to use the challenges of mothering multiples to show me my desperate need for Him. I am so humbled and thankful He did pick me! Mama of twins is such a unique thing. It is hard to put words to it. You twin mamas out there totally get it, I know! I adore them and cherish them. This age, while carrying a special set of challenges, is seriously so much fun for Chris and I! I love little people in my home. I hope to keep it that way for a long time to come. We must have little people! Joshua and Grace abound with joy and I love their special bond.
This boy saw fit to turn six the following month!! SIX! Surely I am not old enough to mother a six year old! Jacob has had an explosive year with his reading. We went from "Hop on Pop" to full throttle with chapter books! We went to the library last night and checked out at least five new books and I have no doubt they will all be done in two weeks or less! This boy loves to read and it makes my heart so happy! Jacob is an amazing big brother. He loves his siblings and they adore him. He is mature and poised and he makes us proud! We have chosen, as a family, to pursue home school next year and participate in a local Classical Conversations community as a part of that. He and I are so excited to embark on this journey together. We can't wait to see what God has in store in the coming school year. He is wrapping up his time at Trinity with gusto and working so hard. He loves to study and learn!
My heart and my arms are full. Sometimes I find myself looking at photos like this and I try to picture our second daughter with us. Yes, my heart and arms are full--yet they long for her to come and ache with the emptiness her absence brings. Until then, I pray for her and rejoice in what I have right now, knowing all of it, all of this, is part of His glorious plan for me. Blessed indeed.
Monday, April 14, 2014
I have a very specific prayer request for all those prayer warriors out there to focus on. Would you please pray for Chris to be able to get his physical with as little missed work as possible? (None is the most ideal option). I completed my physical last week on Monday and while it was necessary and important, it is also now a ticking time bomb. The signatures are time sensitive and we need to get it to China before those dates expire. We can't send it to China until the dossier is complete. I can't start the dossier until Chris' physical is complete. I need all the time possible to gather those dossier documents. Basically, each day that passes between my physical being done and Chris' not being done is wasted time. We need it to happen....SOON! The new job is providing some potential opportunities to get the physical done there, but if it cannot happen there, the new job is creating a problem to go to our family doctor, due to Chris not wanting to take time off right when he started his new job. All that to say, it is complicated and we need it to happen as soon as possible (this week or next would be fabulous!!). Would you please pray for God to pave the way for Chris to get his physical very, very soon?
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Today, Chris and I had our fourth and final interview with our social worker for our home study process. She said to us at the end, "Well, this interview has concluded your home study process." Wait. What?! What does that say? Yep. CONCLUDED. Finished. Complete. Done. Sorta. We lack two documents that should be gathered and submitted super soon.
I don't know how I feel. This home study has been such a way of life and has occupied permanent space in my brain. Now it is over. Phew! Huge sigh of relief! I am elated, overjoyed, energized, and excited, yet also weary, war torn, and nervous over what bumps we'll hit in the next portion of the road. I do know that God is with us and while we might be battered a bit and tired of spending evenings on "parent education", He is utterly and completely in control of this and we are so thankful He is allowing us to walk this road.
So, what next? We have to jump a few more hoops and get our home study to the super duper end of the road where it is magically declared finalized. I am excited about the word "concluded" today, but in the next few weeks finalized will really have me feeling giddy. Once that word is attached to it, it is locked and loaded, signed and sealed, not to be touched again (unless we pay a big 'ole fee). Next stop will be US Immigrations for the next 2-3 months where they will review our application and home study and decide whether or not our application to adopt internationally will be approved or denied. While our home study is hangin' with the nice people of USCIS, we will work on compiling all the necessary documents for our dossier.
We have had many, many people ask us about time lines from this point forward and while I can make fantastic estimations, they are just that. Estimations. What I learned about myself through the process of the home study is that estimations are great, and even useful at times, but they often lead to disappointment (primarily for me). So, a lot like when you are pregnant and you don't know the exact date you'll go into labor, but you wait and watch for signs of the coming baby. We know that when all is said and done, we will hopefully one day exit an airplane on US soil with our daughter in our arms. We don't know when, but as the time draws closer, we'll be sure to clue you in that we're watching for signs of labor.
For now I will just sit back and bask in the goodness of a home study process that has concluded.
Monday, April 7, 2014
Happy nine months of adoption journey, today! Nine months ago we put months and years and ages of talking, praying, thinking, wishing, hoping to be chosen to adopt into action. We filled out the form. We said YES! We want to be part of a child's journey to a family. July 7, 2013 will be a date I will not forget. One of many significant dates in our adoption journey.
One hand! Five fingers! Actually, less than five fingers! That is the number of items that stand between us and the completion of our home study!
Today, I went to the doctor and had my physical completed. Shew! I am a human pin cushion! Three vials of blood, a tetanus shot, and a Hep A and B vaccine (and I have to go back two more times for boosters in the next six months!). We've saved these physicals for the very last thing because they are time sensitive little documents! We need to get these babies in a dossier and off to China so we don't have to repeat them!
From what I can see, our home study should be complete in APRIL (!!!!!) if we can get Chris' physical completed soon! Would you join me in praying the following? That I will retrieve all the documents from our physicals hiccup free. That Chris will be able to work around his work schedule and get his physical completed and miss as little work as possible. That our fourth and FINAL interview for our home study will go smoothly this week.
Somebody do a cartwheel with me! I've been dreaming of a little girl.... One step closer to eventually seeing her face and holding her close!