You know the movie “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”? There is a woman (played by Jennifer Lopez) in there who isn’t able to have biological kids so she and her husband decide to adopt from Ethiopia. The movie makes adoption seem like the easiest process and as though it should happen within a couple of days, maybe even a month. And in the end she goes to Ethiopia to pick up her (very healthy and chubby) looking baby. When she goes to pick up her baby they have this BEAUTIFUL “handing over ceremony” that every single child is a baby, and every single baby has its own personal caretaker. Beautiful, huh?
I mean, so beautiful that it makes you want to drop everything and adopt, right?
Because it is so EASY!
And you wonder why nobody has told you about the ease and beauty of traveling to another country to adopt your child/children…
……… cue the crickets……..
We never went into adopting because I thought it would be easy. In fact, we knew it would be one of the most difficult things that we would ever do. However, I don’t think I realized how difficult it really would be.
We knew that it is a beautiful picture of how we are adopted in Christ. We knew that God has called Caleb and I to care for the orphans and widows in this way. We knew that it would be a long process. We knew that we wanted to “give back”. We knew we wanted more kids. We knew we didn’t want to get pregnant again.
So we did research: what is the easiest country to adopt from? The Democratic Republic of Congo. What country has the shortest wait time? The DRC. What country would accept that Caleb and I haven’t been married for 5 years yet (a common requirement for international adoption)? The DRC. What country will we know other families, from Bozeman, who are adopting from there? The DRC.
The answer seemed easy, we would adopt from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their adoption process from start to finish was supposedly 9-10 months. Their rules were a little more lax. They often made exceptions to the rules if you were deemed a “suitable family”. And we knew quite a few people who were in process to adopt from here…
Easy enough, right?
Well, we are about to start month 15 of waiting to bring our boys home. We don’t get communicated to about what is going on. The rules are constantly changing about what they do or do not require. What was supposed to be an easily done process has become a very difficult and confusing process that doesn’t seem to know up from down or left from right.
I’m telling you all of this because the picture that the world paints of adoption is not accurate. It is not easy. It is not “perfectly beautiful”. And honestly, at times it makes you want to yell at the top of your lungs that you are finished…
I’m not writing this out of desperation…
Okay, let me try that again (honestly this time)…
I AM WRITING THIS OUT OF DESPERATION.
Adoption is something that comes with many tears. So many tears that we often joke that there must be some sort of “adoption hormone” that causes us to be higher strung emotionally and crazier that normal.
In fact, I stopped blogging because I didn’t want my crazy to show…
So much for that, right??? Because let’s be completely real for a moment, we need real in our lives. We need real so that we can function. We need real so that we all know we are not alone. And we need real so that we know that we are all a little crazy at the heart of it (can I get an “Amen”?!).
So, before I write my next bit of “real”, let me say, this is in no way something that I am upset with any of you about. These truths are written so that you can understand a little bit of what adoption has been like.
Okay, here we go:
1.) Adoption has made me absent minded.
Trust me when I say that I don’t like feeling like I don’t know where I left my brain. Sometimes I forget appointments (yes, even if I write them down and have a dozen reminders on my phone). Sometimes I lose my keys… I found them under the bathroom sink the other day (It wasn’t even baby girl’s fault, it was a child safety locked cabinet). Sometimes I forget to eat. Sometimes I forget about feeding Charlie (until she gets in my face and screams for about 10 minutes). Sometimes I don’t call, email, text or Facebook people back. And the list goes on. And no, it isn’t because I’m busy – which I am – it is because I have misplaced my brain so I can fill it with forms and documents from the adoption.
2.) Adoption makes me want to hide.
It isn’t that I am depressed. It isn’t that I don’t like my friends. It isn’t that I don’t want to be social. I do… sometimes. It is just that When you are adopting you get so exhausted that you don’t want to have to be around other people. You don’t want to have to answer more questions. You don’t want to have to act excited about the adoption process because, honestly, right now you aren’t. You don’t even want to have to pretend to be engaged in the small talk. It takes too much energy, and quite frankly, when your heart is split in half between two parts of the world it takes all of your energy to think or talk about anything else.
3.) Adoption is messy.
That’s all I can really say on that. Just because there are forms and applications and agencies to get some of the work done does NOT mean that it is a simple, “tie a ribbon around it” process. And the messiness doesn’t end when you are on the plane heading home, it continues because now you have two kids who don’t speak your language, and need to attach to you after being used to taking care of themselves. It is hard. It is messy.
4.) Adoption hurts.
Again, your heart is split in two. And the part of your heart that is in the other country is often times, malnourished, ignored, abused, brokenhearted, alone and literally having to be “the least of these”. How do you reconcile this? It is nearly impossible.
BUT there is one more thing that adoption is:
5.) Adoption is beautiful.
Not the beautiful in the way that the world describes it – no, it is beautiful in the way that the Bible describes it: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV) When I think about all of the tears that have come from this process, or all of the questions about who God is in this, I often forget to think about how hard the process was for Our God in adopting us. Let’s face it, it wasn’t easy. He had to die for us. It wasn’t a neat little package wrapped with a bow. He was tempted, He was tried, He was crucified all so that He could adopt us – you and me both – into HIS Kingdom. I have learned so much more about adoption in Christ from the trials and the heartache of this process than from anything else… “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
Adoption makes you question everything you believe.
Adoption also heals.
So why are we still adopting if it hurts? Because God has called Caleb and I to this.
Would I suggest adoption to anyone else??? Wholeheartedly, yes!! But in doing so I would say, make sure that you understand that it isn’t easy. It will never be easy. In fact, I could bet that it is the most difficult thing you will decide to do.
I would also say that there is healing for your heart and your kids’ hearts in seeing your adoption into God’s family through His eyes. And those trails and difficulties that bring that healing?? I hear that it’s worth it
Until next time,
[All that being said, we have some prayer requests: Please pray that our adoption process starts moving forward. We have been at a stand still for 3 months now. Please pray for all of the people you know who are adopting, they are fighting a hard, trying, exhausting battle that sometimes seems to have no end. Pray for unity among the families and parents adopting - that their hearts will become strong in Christ and unified so that they can fight these battles together... Thank you.]