The other day my friend S friend called to check on me. I kinda lost it on her. Crying and telling her through my cracking voice that I feel like a fool because I helped my children to become so invested in the adoption of J and M, and now I have to break their hearts. I told her that I felt like was abandoning J and M in some way. Maybe we could have pushed hard and forced the adoption to succeed somehow. Depending on the circumstances, the father could have been arrested for child abandonment and his parental rights could have been taken away. The thought of that absolutely made me sick. He's there now. I don't need to know more than that. Still, so much conflicting emotion and fear that I would just be one more person in their life to disappoint them had a crippling grip on me. S told me that I was already parenting them. She said that I made a very hard decision in their best interest, by stepping back and making it as easy as I could from here to let the father come back into the picture, and that was being a mother to them in some way. That's what moms have to do sometimes. I don't think she realized the healing that came in those words. Moms tend to carry guilt for the should haves and the should have nots, and adopting moms step it up a notch, I think. Every decision we make, we tend to second guess. We go into this knowing we will be parenting perfect strangers, so every choice we feel like has this "you better not screw this up because these kids didn't ask for you and probably won't want you anyway, so you better be sure they know you love them," string attached to it. Your words hold great power. Her words were exactly what I needed that day.
Later that afternoon I had lunch with E and her sweet K, newly home from China. E had also lost a referral and for four months she and her husband and young children also fell in love with a child they will never meet. The circumstances were very different, but the pain and sense of loss is the same. She had shared with me that her kids were also devastated. She let them see her cry. They grieved together and prayed for the child together. And now, while K blows kisses and raspberries at me with her bare feet propped up on the table (she is an Ozarks girl, after all) I see hope in her sweet face. If you knew this child and the amazing sense of humor like I have never seen in a child so young, and you knew the family she was adopted into, you'd be amazed at God's goodness. They are a match made in heaven. I got to hold her briefly after lunch. She reached for me. We had visited before but she had no interest in getting into my arms. The few minutes I held her were really like a little band aid on my heart. They do come home. Maybe none of the waiting, the tears, the constant holding your breath for an email, a phone call, any shred of a hopeful update, the policies and time lines (and subsequently the costs) that seem to change with the wind, ever make sense until they are in your arms. So, we are back to waiting again. No more time lines, no more clothes shopping or scrapbooking, just more waiting.
1 Thessalonians 1:3
We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
This road is already harder than I imagined it would be, and by no means did I ever expect it to be easy. I have to remind myself what Christ endured for us, His children, and be inspired to press on. The part of this verse that says "endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ" really has a new meaning for me regarding adoption. Because Christ came and loved us, his adopted children, we have hope. He endured pain, suffering and loss like no other, but He did it all because He loved us. The labor and struggles we go through for our children pale in comparison. The hope for our children, for their future, for our family, is what inspires our endurance. We press on because we love them, plain and simple. So, on we go.