"Take a breath, don't forget, hang onto His promises..."
Yesterday, I was driving and just felt so overwhelmed by some of the pieces of our adoption journey that I told Josh I felt like it was hard to breathe. Just the weight of the world on my chest, and I was not doing a very good job of managing that anxiety. I heard this song on K-Love, though, and the refrain just hit me like a sharp cool breeze to the face. I was reminded of ALL God promises us. He doesn't promise us more children, or a smooth ride, or no pain and heartache. He promises so much more- salvation, a home with Him forever, and the promise that He will NEVER leave us or forsake us. Even when our worldy anxiety is making us forget to take a breath, He doesn't falter.
Adoption, I sometimes feel like, seems to draw a lot of type-A personality moms to it. I sometimes think its because God knows we will need that kind of organization to wade through the paperwork and process. And I sometimes think that it's because nothing in my life has challenged or stretched my type-A-ness like the road of adoption. I have several friends right now that I am talking to daily- we are all at different parts of our process, and all struggle with the need to know and control and have a grip on EVERYTHING. We actually discussed yesterday what time period is appropriate to wait between contacting our social workers. I mean, like, hours- not days or weeks. Like "Would you call again in the afternoon if you already did in the morning?" As if they have big secrets they are hiding from us! We know this is not true, of course. We trust our agencies (some of us use the same agency, and some of us are at different ones). I think sometimes we forget though that while OUR journey is the only one on our mind, they have dozens of children, and waiting families, and heartbreaking scenarios on their plate.
Whatever part of the journey we are in- waiting for paperwork, waiting to hear back if an expectant mom chose us, waiting to hear if a child is coming into our home, waiting for the hearing that will finally make our child ours legally- it can take our breath away. We can forget His promises. We can forget that He says He will never leave us nor forsake us.
I think I do even worse in the unknown this time around than I did during Eli's adoption. Now, I have to think and weigh what this "unknown" will do to my son. How my stress affects him (it does, very visibly.) How another child or children will change his life. When that change will occur. Will we have to go out of town- how will he handle that? Financially. Emotionally. Spiritually.
Another thing I didn't account for is that the wound of Eli's adoption- the heartache of the process- was not really healed. I thought it was but a faint scar on my heart, but turns out it just had a band-aid over it. When I hear about an expectant mom, the pain that Eli's birthmom has expressed to me bubbles to the surface. I wrestle in this dichotomy of being excited to add to our family, while feeling physically ill over what another mother is going through. Another thing that is just a hair's breath beneath the surface is that old fear of losing Eli. I can say with my mind that I respect a mom's right to choose adoption or parenting. I can tell you that I think PA's 30 day revocation period for birth parents to decide is a good thing. I can tell you that I do NOT think that every single mom in crisis should choose adoption. I believe all those things, and make sure to share those ideals with others we meet on this journey. That doesn't mean it wasn't terrifying during that month of parenting a child whom I didn't know if I would get to raise. That doesn't mean my heart still doesn't stop when I think about the afternoon we left week-old Eli at his birthmom's house while she spent some time with him to firm up her adoption decision. While she considered parenting him. I have felt anxious recently about Eli. Not that I have a fear that he is going anywhere. Not because of dramatic news cases like the "Baby Veronica" trial. Not because of Law & Order episodes where adoptions are dissolved 13 years down the road. I don't have fears like that. My anxiety about Eli is just remembering how tenuous an adoption decision is. How the fact that he was even given to us is miraculous, and could have changed in an instant. How blessed we are to have him. Will we be so blessed again? We are already the luckiest parents in the world.
I don't pretend that our adoption journey is more difficult that anyone else's. We have met families who have been through the wringer. Foster care, international adoption, waiting for years upon years. We were blessed by our path to Eli, which was "easier" than a lot of adoptions (I don't think any adoption is easy, but if we are going to make a 1-10 scale of difficult journeys, we were probably at about a 3 or 4). I just know for us, in this season, it is hard. Trusting, not knowing, hearing about children and scenarios that would break your heart if we could share. People living in the same blessed country as us, but practically a world away. That's never easy. And as Christians, it shouldn't be. God wants to break our heart with what breaks His.
And today, when I came up for a breath and felt some stress lift off me, I was able to look at our beautiful son playing in the leaves and realize it will all be worth it someday. His joy, the unfettered laughter that just overflows out of him, is the sweetest thing I have ever seen. My husband and I say to each other a dozen times a day "I just love him so much..." And while God doesn't promise us more children, we also believe when we trust Him and walk in faith, He fulfills the desires and calls He has placed on our hearts.