Here are some reflections on adoption from a POH reader and fellow blogger. Sheila lives overseas with her husband and three children. She blogs about her misadventures in motherhood, the craziness of living overseas, their adoption journey, and a smattering of random things at www.momfessions.net (when she has time!)
A few weeks ago I was tucking my three-year-old son into bed. After brushing my lips against his baby soft forehead and turning toward the door, I heard his sweet voice, “Mommy, when is Baby Sister coming?” My heart skipped a beat at the precious question—there is not a baby in my belly as one might assume from his question. He was asking about Baby Sister who we’ve been talking about for over a year now. Baby Sister won’t have my husband’s eye color or my same skin tone. She won’t be mistaken for a “twin” like our three biological back-to-back, look-alike kids are.
But she will be just as loved, just as anticipated, just as celebrated, just as much a part of our family as the blond-headed, Superman-loving little boy gazing up at me from his top bunk.
“I don’t know, honey. But God does know when she will come. Would you like to pray for her now?”
It’s hard to put into words what adoption means to me, and I’ve struggled to adequately explain to curious friends and relatives why we are adopting another daughter.
Adoption is painful. It is born out of the loss of what should be. A brown-eyed, brown-haired little girl should not come to live in our house and be called our own. Because she should be living with her loving family—the family she was born into. For some reason, the should is not a reality in her case. There is loss. Loss of what should be. Adoption is born out of that loss—allowing something ugly to become something beautiful.
Adoption is beautiful. Because I have experienced adoption personally—being adopted out of sin and darkness and welcomed into the Kingdom of God through the amazing, atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross—I can relate to my future daughter. I know what a blessing adoption can be. I realize how beautiful it can be as it transforms ashes into something lovely. I appreciate how deeply and eternally it can change a life.
We aren’t very far in our adoption process. Almost a year was spent praying and researching before we even took a step forward to start the actual process. Slowly, we have applied with an agency and gathered documents for a home study. Already, I have been waiting for Baby Sister for longer than I ever waited to get pregnant, or carried a child in my womb.
But that’s OK. As I see the hearts of my children being prepared (and getting excited!) for Baby Sister, I know that the Lord’s timing is best. We don’t know who our little girl is right now, but He does. He knows her favorite toy and who she spends her days with. He sees where she sleeps and knows when her tummy is empty. He has counted the hairs on her head, and He had begun to form her in the womb before her mother even knew she was there! He knows what did happen/will happen to give her the title “orphan”, and He knows the exact time we will be able to hold her in our arms.
Adoption isn’t easy. As beautiful and worth-it as it is, there are deadlines and dollar signs, and government regulations, and red-tape… and attachment issues and special needs and heartache and language barriers and adjustment troubles. Add in unethical practices and corruption in places around the world and it can quickly become overwhelming and unappetizing.
I find it’s very similar to living overseas. My husband and I live abroad and we know without a doubt that we are obeying a call the Lord has placed on our life by doing so. On days when language-learning and relationship building and public transportation and raising kids in another culture just feels like too much (and I want to give up!), I have to remember 1 Thessalonians 5:24 that says, “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”
In the same way, we feel very strongly that it is the Lord who has asked us to follow Him into adoption. After a season of praying and fasting, my husband and I agreed that this was something God was asking our family to do. Sorrow over the orphans of the world or just a desire for social justice for the fatherless would not be enough to sustain us through the long, tiring international adoption process.
When our bank account doesn’t hold enough money to cover the agency and home study fees, and when the pile of paperwork is overwhelming in the midst of marriage, parenting, work, friendships, and life overseas—we have to look to the God who called us to this and remember He is faithful! He will guide us through our adoption. By His grace, we will one day see our daughter kiss her brothers and sister goodnight and crawl into her bed.
And we won’t have to wonder about when Baby Sister is coming anymore.