I have the spiritual gift of faith. I have a gift to believe that if God has said something, He will do it and that He has everything under control and it will all work out according to His will. My husband does not have the gift of faith, his gifts are much more concrete like administration and teaching. It’s a good balance, sometimes my gift of faith can get me into trouble, I can take it too far and go off on my own tangent of what I believe God might want and Glenn has to rein me in. For example, if I could I would adopt 20 kids. When I say crazy stuff like that Glenn points out that we live in a 1500 square foot house and our van only seats 7. It’s a good balance. I have had so much faith during this adoption. I am convinced that God has called us to this adoption and to this little girl and I didn’t think too much about doubts. But the closer we get to meeting her, my faith comes up short and that’s when courage has to take over. Courage is acknowledging fear and continuing on anyway. Without courage, faith does nothing. You can have all the faith you want, but in order for that thing to happen you must have the courage to do it. Why the sudden doubts about our adoption? Well, I have been down this road before with our son Joshua’s adoption. I know firsthand what we will experience, more or less, and I know it’s not all unicorns and sunshine.
When we decided to adopt the first time we went through all the paperwork very quickly and started the waiting process. I had faith that God had a child for us and in my mind I had a picture of this child. It was a little hispanic, healthy, baby girl. So, when the social worker called telling me she had a black, premature, baby boy for us, I was a little taken aback. But God assured me that was the child He had for us so I walked forward in faith. I really believe everything would be just fine until I walked into the hospital so see Joshua for the first time. I was shocked. He was so tiny and had cords coming out of everywhere. He didn’t even look human and barely looked alive. I was scared. I began to question if we could do this. But as I looked at this tiny little boy, I felt compassion. It wasn’t love, but I knew I could not leave this child. He needed us. He had no one. It took courage not to run out of the hospital and it took courage to bring him home from the hospital and it has taken courage to be his parents through all these challenges. But 3.5 years into the process I know that the first year was hard and there have been hard times since, but we have come to a good place with Joshua. I can not imagine our lives without him.
Having been down the road with Joshua, I know a little of what we will face with Elizabeth. The first year will be hard. She might not like us very much, she might hate us. There will be days where we wonder what we have done. But in time I know we will come to love her, and she us. The hardest thing I will face over the next few months is loving a child who does not like you. I experienced this with Joshua, attachment came slower for him than with some children, and it was hard. I was convinced I was a bad mother or had done something wrong for him to not like me as he did. He preferred his dad, he still does. But our relationship has grown over time and it began to grow when I realized I had done nothing wrong for him to dislike me, he just has a hard time attaching to people. He doesn’t like physical affection much and that is the primary way I like to show love to my kids. It is typical for boys to prefer their dads but not as infants. I had not experienced that, until Joshua, and it was hard for me. I don’t deal well with perceived rejection. I have some scars from my early life that make me hypersensitive to rejection and I will clam up and withdrawal in situations where I feel I might be hurt. God has done some great work in healing my heart through Joshua. I have learned that loving is not a two-way street. It’s about sacrifice and that might mean the person you are loving doesn’t love you back and that is okay. You love anyway. I love our daughter even now, but I don’t expect her to love me or even like me right away. I am preparing myself for her not to like me and it’s okay. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, but at least I know what to expect and how to handle my feelings. I don’t think I would have ever learned that lesson were it not for adoption. Adoption is hard, I don’t pretend otherwise. It’s not for everyone and if you think I have a pessimistic outlook on our upcoming adoption experiences, maybe you are right. But if you haven’t walked this road, you cannot know. This will be the hardest thing we have done, I know that for sure. But I also know God will grow us mightily through it. My motto is always, hope for the best and prepare for the worst. My posts recently are my preparing my heart for the worst, but make no mistake I praying for a better outcome than I am expecting, and I know others of you are too.
Reality is hard sometimes. I know our daughter will not be as we expect her to be when we meet her. I have found few parents who really knew what their child would be like from reports and photos. They just don’t give you the whole picture of the child. I don’t know what the true reality of loving Elizabeth will look like, but I do have faith that God had called us to it and, boy are we exercising courage right now as we prepare to meet her. I will be honest, I am scared. But, I acknowledge that fear and keep moving. And know God will be with us and give us the strength and courage we need to keep taking the steps.