The class I just finished taking was about writing, defined as finding your voice as a writer, an artist. Prompts and questions were designed to push us over the hurdles blocking us from accepting the words we want to share and our right to share them. However, as I stood facing each challenge that prodded me over my hurdles, the underlying theme of what I fear pursuing was not writing, but something else:
We have wanted to adopt for years. Then found out about our third daughter...SURPRISE!!! To say she threw a wrench in our plans is an understatement. She shattered them. It took me over a year to be okay with that. Yep, do the math. I was still struggling with the loss of our own ideas after she was born. Plus, she has been our most difficult yet, so some days I still wonder if we've actually settled in.
I needed that. We have battled through serious emotional fallout and disappointment. I wrestled hard and long and mad with God for what I felt He took from us. I eventually gave up my demands, expectations and anger. I accepted this new version of life for what it is, not what it wasn't supposed to be. I had to get over myself and the quality of my plans. Apparently I am stubborn enough that this was a major undertaking, but God kept at me until I got it through my tenacious skull. Life isn't always going to be how I want it. I'll try not to throw a fit every time.
And somehow, I’m back. Adoption is tugging at my heart again, but this time, rather than confidently proceeding through a checklist to achieve my goal...I’m terrified.
Or...was that the worst that could happen? Like a serious workout in preparation for a fun game of tag with the kids, has this experience been a strengthening for a (now) manageable adoption?
How many? How hard? How soon? How expensive? How much change?
I'm scared it will be too much, that in the process we will lose the very qualities we had to offer in the first place.
I’ve assumed that once we adopt, I will be ready to check out from the rest of the world, hunker down and convince that kid (or kids) that we are family, safety, certainty, home. I will relinquish my offerings in every other way to focus on establishing Us. I will do whatever it takes. But is that best? Should I be so ready to ignore everyone else, everything else? I mean, I’m a missionary, for crying out loud. Shouldn’t I always be ready to help someone else?
Always searching for insight and truth, I found a couple of new resources and started reading the stories of others. Sometimes it is hard. Sometimes it is beautiful. Sometimes that happens simultaneously.
And then a simple verse reference and my mind and heart exploded with this:
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?” (Luke 15:4)
If anyone who isn’t following God is a lost sheep, most lost children fall into that category. According to Jesus, He assumes that the loss of a single sheep warrants leaving the rest, who are healthy enough to fend for themselves, and going in search of the one. The world is full of those lost sheep, and whether I am seeking a friend with whom to study the Bible, someone who hungers who needs some food, a young single mom who is terrified and alone, or a child who needs to know what Love feels like, it is worth everything I have to see that through.
So whenever adoption happens for us, I’m going to set my sights on that one (or two) sheep, and keep after them until they are brought home, not just in terms of having a bed and clothes, but finding their hearts at rest, truly at peace in belonging here with us. And in the midst of my fear, I will trust that God can lead us to a new version of ourselves (again!) that is good.