There is a little girl in one of my preschool classes. She can be tender hearted towards kids that need help, and is very bright. She also has a will made of iron. The other day a teacher asked her to do something she did not want to do. She ended up under the desk, shaking it while crying out “God’s plans are NOT MY plans!”. We go to the same church as this little girl so I am sure she has been in many Sunday school classes where she has heard that we need to be obedient, and bend our will to HIS will.
I know exactly how she feels. Now, I haven’t screamed at anyone or shaken any desks over it, but I have been struggling with obedience, and trusting in His plan. We never expected to go to China for our first adoption, and we sure didn’t expect to adopt a second time from China. Over the last few years China has become our normal, our comfort zone. We have done it twice, and know what to expect. We have the paper chase down to a science being able to anticipate what needs to come next. We know a little bit of Mandarin, and even know where our favorite restaurants and shops are in Guangzhou. We have grown to love China and its people, and wanted to go back “one more time”. We were so looking forward to going back again. That’s been the “plan” for the last three and a half years. I can’t count the times I’ve said “Well when we go back to China I’ll…..”.
As it turns out, we won’t go back to China. I was shocked, and broken hearted to learn that the Chinese officials rejected our pre application for a third adoption due to our visual impairments. Of course we appealed. We made videos of us doing regular mom and dad things. We wrote an appeal letter, our 13-year-old adopted daughter wrote an appeal letter, and our agency fought hard for us. We did everything we knew to do to change their minds, but eventually we had to accept that China was closed for us. We knew in our hearts that yes, the Chinese officials had said “no” to us, but so had God. After all we had two Chinese children that proved that their decision had made zero logical since.
I was so mad that I really wanted to give up. I wanted to settle for the five amazing and beautiful children we have. I wanted to be done, and move on. I mean life is good right now. Our adopted children are adjusting well, our kids are relatively healthy, and are all doing well. My youngest will go to Kindergarten next year, and we will be moving to a new stage in life as parents of older kids. Did I really want to have another preschooler or toddler? Did I really want to risk a child with a difficult adjustment to living in a family, or might have attachment issues? There were a million reasons why it was ok for us not to adopt again, but through every excuse I made God quietly whispered “You still have room in your home and heart for another child who needs a family.”
I then began looking at other international countries. Many internet searches, and phone calls later I was disheartened that none of those programs were going to work for our family. Eastern Europe countries wanted loooong incountry stays. Several other programs such as India have a four child already living in the home maximum, and we have five. After crossing off each country I knew I was moving closer and closer to domestic foster care adoption. THAT WAS NOT MY PLAN!!!
There are good reasons why we chose international adoption to begin with.
1) I don’t want to deal with biological families.
2) I don’t want to deal with seeing kids that I love on, sent back to the same terrible conditions they came from.
3) I don’t want the State THAT involved in my business.
4) I don’t want the State telling me what I can and cannot do with my child.
5) I don’t want to deal with the aftermath of a broken-hearted child whose parent didn’t show up to a visit, or showed up high, and couldn’t see the child.
6) I don’t want to deal with a child who has BIG feels and BIG problems because of the abuse they have suffered by those who are meant to love them the most.
7) I don’t want to deal with how losing a child we loved for so long to an extended family member would possibly affect the children we already have.
8) I don’t want to deal with a broken system full of misinformation, turnover, and protecting the rights of biological parents when it isn’t the best interest of the child.
Basically, I told God domestic foster adoption was too hard, too risky, and required too much of my heart. This is pretty much what He had to say about all that.
I know you do not want to deal with all of that stuff. No body does, but do you honestly think the kids that are dealing with it every day want to deal with it any more than you? Could you look one of these little ones, and tell them “This is too hard. You’re not worth it?”. These are real children, with real needs that you can meet. Remember when I brought you Quinn? She was an older child adoption with a scary special need that you had zero experience with. Yet, now you cannot imagine your life without her, and more importantly, you can’t imagine her life without you. Y’all are experienced parents of five, experienced adoptive parents well acquainted with connected parenting. You both have counseling field degrees. I have prepared you for this. I don’t ask for what I am not going to provide for. Get out of your comfort zone, and TRUST ME.
Soooooo yeah, my husband and I attended our first orientation meeting with CPS yesterday. We have no idea what this will look like. If we will love one child, or many. If we will love them for a day, or lifetime, or somewhere in between. We do know that the Lord Himself goes before us, and will be with us: He will never leave us nor forsake us. We will not be afraid or discouraged. (Deuteronomy 31:8) We will get out of our comfort zone, take a running leap, and say “Yes Lord, send me!”.