Friday, July 25, 2008

Risks and Rewards

Taking risks, adding names not yet visible to the world, trusting they WILL come home!

This past week we spent an evening at the home of a local family who is in the middle of the adoption process to adopt a sibling group of 3 from Kazakhstan. I was surprised to learn they live a mere mile or so from us out here in the country a bit, and that their new "oldest" daughter will fall right in the middle age wise between ours coming home. We are only a couple of months behind them in the process so the kids will all be home learning English around the same time, which might be a nice support system for all of us.

In conversation with this lovely family, I learned that we are not unique in our experience of having others make thoughtless comments about our plans. They too have been subjected to the mindless opinions of others who think they are more than a little nuts to upset the applecart of their happy home by inviting 3 strange children to live with them along with their 3 younger biological children. I was very impressed (not that me being impressed matters one whit!) with their openness and thoughtful questions about all areas of the adoption and the possible adjustment issues associated with their new children. It was obvious that they have thoughtfully and carefully considered all aspects of this and feel led by God to move forward.

It all felt a little weird, actually, sitting here talking to someone doing almost the same thing as we are, looking through the beautiful photo album that had lovingly been created to send to their children-to-be, seeing our own hometown in the background of some of the pictures...and knowing what courage it takes for them to do this. And yet...the funny thing was as if I were standing outside our own experience and not recognizing that, yes, I guess it really DOES take courage because for us this feels so natural and part of our life plan that I am not at all really that scared. I am excited, a little nervous, and at moments a little concerned about the emotional issues that might arise...but I don't see us as being all that "courageous". There was this detached sense as I spoke with them, as if I was rooting them on from the sidelines without seeing our own story playing out in tandem with theirs. Very odd, and also a teensy bit sad that our families are both almost fearful of discussing something so close to our hearts with others for fear of hearing yet one more negative comment directed at us, as if we are all so stupid we don't know what we are doing and need someone to set us all straight. But as usual, God seems to boost us up when we need it, and the evening of freedom to share our hopes and dreams we had with one another as we walk through this unique moment in our lives served to hopefully bolster their confidence just as it also helped us.

I had another "light bulb" moment this morning when in conversation with our new friend Terri, who is adopting from Kazakhstan. We met Terri and her husband Jim while in California and Terri and I have sense shared some wonderful "real" phone conversations back and forth as we talk through the emotional challenges of adopting internationally. Terri has just created a blog which you can find at . While Terri and I were talking about this very subject...of how people make comments and can be so negative, she reminded me of something...we are not alone. If things go badly, if they unexpectedly take a wrong turn and we find ourselves pulling our hair out and frustrated beyond belief, we are not alone. We have the biggest, best support system, other than God right here...

under our own roof.

Our sons, our wonderful, loving, understanding, creative, accepting sons are here for us. How could I have forgotten such a profound thing? That we are in this as a family, not just as a husband and wife. I remember back when things were at their very worst with Josh, when I at moments felt I couldn't hold on and wondered if I was the worst mother in all the world because my own son couldn't love me, couldn't even let go enough to allow me to hug him, it was Matthew who lifted my spirits with a hug at just the right time, with a joke to lighten the load, with a drawing that to this day I still have that shows a rainbow and stick figures that was taped by my desk for years as a reminder of his love and His love. It will be they who remind me, when the going gets tough, that I really am an ok mom. It will be Josh, Kenny and Matt who will set an example for our daughters of what a good family is all about. It will be the boys who will model respect and kindness right alongside with us. The girls will be bombarded by 5 people who will simply not let it all rest until they "get it". They will be surrounded daily with love, with acceptance, and with pure "La Joy" joy that can not be ignored.

While we are blessed with a wonderful support system both near and far with friends and family who we know love us, it is right here under this roof where the real magic will happen.

Life comes with risks, love comes with risks, adoption comes with risks.

The rewards, however, are incalculable.


khais_mine said...

I remember when you wrote about making this heart you've shown here and am glad you decided to share it. You mentioned at the time that there was not enough room to put your names. I think you need to add them. Put them on the back because just like with the kids when mom and dad are not seen they will always be in the back of their minds. You will always "have their backs."
Kim heading to Seoul

Hilary Marquis said...

Good grief, woman! You need to write a "Chicken Soup" type book! How do you manage to write with so much passion, wisdom and humor all at the same time? You're absolutely right, your girls are coming home to some pretty awesome little brothers as well. No one will understand how they are feeling quite like they do. Blessings all around!