Since the time when the decision to adopt became a personal conviction for me, I have come to realize some beautiful and beastly things. Remember the fear of loving an adopted child as my own, especially compared to my two biological children? I had this worry despite the fact that I have had the privilege of seeing firsthand the immeasurable love present in adoptive families. I love that my in-laws refer to Mike as “son” all the time, and his brother Scott and he call each other “bro” all the time. It’s not just a nickname; it’s reality. I also remember at one point while pregnant with Connor, wondering the exact same thing: would I be able to love my 2nd child as much as I love my firstborn, Ethan? OF FREAKIN’ COURSE!
At our church, there are baby/child dedications during the service where parents can ceremonially dedicate their children to God. It’s a symbol of recognizing our children are a gift from Him, and we promise to do our best to raise them in His love. We dedicated both Ethan & Connor when they were babies. In the past year or so, whenever there is a dedication during service, I cannot help but daydream. (Sorry, pastors, but I’m daydreaming during church!) I actually visualize that service with our future adopted daughter, and it’s all I can do most times to keep it together. It was meaningful with my boys, but for some reason the mere thought of its meaning with a child we choose to bring into our family in this way takes it to another level if that’s possible. The indescribable feelings stirred in my heart in those moments completely blow away those initial fears in a nanosecond. I already love her as my own, and I don’t even know her. I can’t explain it except that it’s just the beginning of furthering my understanding of the Father’s heart. He loved us before we were and when we were not His.
I’d rather not share the ugly because I like people to like me and think what an awesome person I am. (Aw, shucks, no, really, I know.) However, I like being honest even more, so here goes. Once I jumped on the adoption decision with Mike, I totally wondered why the rest of the world didn’t. Didn’t they all know that there are too many children out there without a family? Just think of the possible positive changes we could see in this world if more orphans had a loving home. I think it would be intense. But what do I know? Apparently, I thought I knew a lot. Yep, let me stand a little higher on my soapbox. It got to the point that I was wondering why people had multiple children. If they wanted more kids in their family, they should adopt! People like the Duggars were especially scorned as irresponsible. Instead of having 19 kids, adopt and take at least 16 of them out of the system or orphanage or streets!
I should’ve been the one to go to law school because I am the most excellent judge. I judged, maybe not outwardly but inside I know I did…until last year. Recall Mike and I are extreme planners and had our life planned out in every way. Well, last year, things did not go according to plan. While thinking our adoption would start the summer of 2010, we suddenly found ourselves unexpectantly pregnant. Long story short, the roller coaster ride had us freak out, adjust, plan again, rejoice, miscarry, mourn, and end the ride completely wiped out and confused. Through the grief and lessons on control (so much “fun” for us planners), I also understood the beautiful desire to have your own children isn’t limited to one or even two.
Our dear friends, the Kaisers, are amazing people who moved their family of 5 to Uganda last year. Going overseas to serve orphans in Africa is awesome, and if we all did that or something similar the effects would be intense. But it’s not the call for all. And maybe the same is true for adoption. As much as I would love to think otherwise, it may not be for all. And as hard as it may be for me to write it, that’s ok. Even with our set decision, I realize how much we have to learn in all this and how much we want to do so in the right way. The Beast called pride is huge in me. I can sense it trying to make me feel superior about adopting. I am embarrassed to admit it, but confessions are good for the soul and for me help to battle the Beast. May humility win!