CERTAINTY, ASSURANCE, CONFIDENCE, SURENESS, NO SHADOW OF A DOUBT. Our planes don’t just land here by chance. These are the final destinations that we move all of our family and belongings to……………….in ox wagons. They are not just last-minute holiday destinations. And I believe these are the gem places that we need to find! But let me speak a little more personally…
I have observed that when it comes to child ~bearing and ~rearing there seem to be infinite opinions around the dinner table – often with a little chilli added on the side! Some of my friends have had elective Caesareans, others gave birth at home (in the bathroom, with no intervention and a retired midwife to be exact). Some have chosen to free-school their kids and others have sent their littlies off to play-school before they can talk. Obviously we all have reasons for our various decisions – wonderful – we are different and we have the freedom to choose!
But if these are truly personal convictions then why does a differing opinion sometimes invoke so much emotion? Are we concerned with what others think of us? Are our decisions and choices a reflection of our heart and character, our insecurities or values? Are we making decisions out of fear or because it fits in with popular culture? Is child-rearing so closely wrapped up in our success as a person? Do we sometimes impose or reject a way of doing things to maybe reaffirm our own choices or circumstances? Are we secure in our decisions? Because that we must be!
I would like to think that I will be open as a parent to graciously receive perspective and suggestions from valued sources. I mean which parent continually gets it right? But am I truly willing to be a salmon? And am I also okay with being disliked because of my convictions and choices? Even if i can say “Yes I am willing”, it doesn’t mean that I don’t / won’t feel the pain. I’m a Christian, so I do know what it feels like to be labelled or feel the sting of blaspheme… it’s ok, i get how it works. But I can’t change it. I am convinced. I love the God I serve and, like anything we are passionately convinced about, we take it on the chin.
SO, my husband and I are about to enter the adoption process
This deserves its own heading…. because, OH MY, does it have a whole ox-wagon and small country in tow!! I aim to record our journey as we go, starting with meeting our social worker next week! As I understand it, we are going to have to answer a lot of questions during, after… and forever…. heck we are already having to answer and explain so much. I do have a vague idea of the assessment questions we will need to face and answer and I am finding the thought just a little overwhelming. It just seems so hard and almost heartless to tick a ‘we would prefer’ box – when talking about a precious child.
My husband is quite amazing and helpful in this way! He finds it easy to simply state what he believes or feels about something without feeling the need to justify his answer, even if it seems controversial. It was one of his main character traits that I first noticed and fell in love with. I remember someone asking him which team sports he played ‘at school’ and his answer was, “I didn’t play competitively at school”….. what he failed to add was, apart from a multitude of other hobbies, he actually played provincial sport ‘outside of school’…. but that wasn’t what they asked and he didn’t feel the need to further affirm his worth in that way. That was the moment i knew 🙂 He is a secure man and I SO love that about him!! (Altho I do sometimes think he could throw a bigger ‘shame-i-see-you-are-trying-to-make-conversation-with-me-here‘ bone :)) At times he has had to use props to help me simplify a concept and cut through the emotion (or perhaps concern) of being misunderstood. I so want people to get my motives & heart when we draw lines in our answers but I also realise that I mustn’t confuse unconditional love with unconditional approval.
So, the various birthing and schooling options are not exactly in our sphere of questions to ponder at this point, instead we are having to really prayerfully evaluate our motives, feelings and eventual answers to questions that we will be faced with regarding gender and race, around health (HIV, Down Syndrome, FAS etc) and the circumstances around conception (rape, incest etc). Also would it be wise to receive our child from birth and run the 60 day risk of the birth mother changing her mind or should we go with an agency who kangaroos the babies for that consent period? These are big decisions and at this early stage in the process I have already been told that it is selfish to even be desiring a child from birth – because of the devastating orphan crisis in our country, with so many older children waiting in the system. This thought truly does break my heart and at times it feels overwhelmingly unbearable! We have had to wade and work thro SO MANY statements like this to settle on a secure conviction…. And weirdly the comments have so often been directed from families with biological children only! Are pregnant women faced with the same questions? Maybe we could all share this calling or maybe we are helping in other ways? We have also had to work past the usual ‘JUST ADOPT’ catch phrase…. cos apparently then you will relax, sperm will arrive and we will have a biological baby…. SERIOUSLY GUYS!! These are children we are talking about. Not plugs for hole or a means to an end. Beautiful, precious little lives worthy of love. Every one of them…. with whatever hurdles or past hurts that they may have unwillingly inherited along the way. To get to this place of finding our conviction in adoption, we have had to face these questions and perceptions head on. We have had to at times face our own grimy hearts and we have allowed intervention free time that was needed to grieve and heal from our initial diagnosis – 5 years of time to be exact. So that not one of these decisions will be taken lightly!
Fortunately we have many amazing friends in our sphere who are in the process or early days of adoption. Some are adding to biological families, some have chosen to adopt and not ever have biological children and for some the vehicle has been infertility – but each FOR THEIR OWN REASONS have found a beautiful conviction. We have had to do the same. The time is right and WE ARE SO EXCITED – actually we are even excited to be excited – cos there was a time when we didn’t know… if our ox-wagon would land here. There was a time when we painfully wondered whether we were meant to have children at all. We looked it all straight in the hairy eyeball!! I am however aware that aside from the big questions above, adoption is going to bring about a new/different set of challenges and I have found myself staring and praying far down the road (and side roads) with each decision we will need to make. I want to be prepared (as prepared as one can obviously be)… I mean adoption aside, teenagers alone require a tailor-made set of parental navigation tools. There may be days when our children-to-be will be faced with clanger comments and there may be days when they need to process through some painful parts of their story or approach us with a desire to meet their placing families and of course there will be a day when they finally leave the nest…. hopefully as secure, courageous, well loved, medium-sized humans!
ADOPTION IS NOW OUR CONVICTION… our beautiful plan A.
What has helped me wade thro all of this, apart from sticking close to my anchor above, is to look at each question a little differently – as if I were to be pregnant now: What would I be praying for?? I’d be praying for a healthy baby of course. I’d be hoping for the best start in life for my boy or girl. And out of this viewpoint, some of my answers have found their ground and in other, maybe more sensitive areas, we just have a knowing that we will be graced to handle that scenario with wisdom and heart should it be presented. We are also really looking deeper at where we are graced and what we will have capacity for in the bigger picture, so that we can run and live this life fully and with purpose, whilst raising a healthy, strong family well. I have retraced many of our decisions back to the root, I have tested my heart to see that a choice isn’t made from a preconceived or even convenient place for me alone. You could safely say that I have overanalysed 🙂 Thank goodness for my husbands simple engineering clarity. I am grateful that we are stretching our picket fence boundaries and have the opportunity to check our hearts in this way.
So, I’m not sure I can tie this post up with a nice little bow at the end, but let me try….
…. at that dinner table, I don’t want to add any extra chilli. I want to find my security in the fact that so much of our journey to this point has been very clearly God led and it is ok if others don’t always understand or agree, because we know why we have made our decisions and we need to live by them! So can you please pass me that bottle of grace………. after you! 🙂