Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Truth -- It's Not About Me

Some days lately I wonder why I'm still trying to make this adoption thing happen.  I've tried to stay at least mostly positive here on this blog, but the truth is that many days I'm not that positive.  The truth is that while I still want to adopt, while I still feel like it's something that we're supposed to do, Jacob doesn't.  He feels like it's not the right thing, or at least not the right time.  And the truth is, when you and your spouse are both honestly praying about something and getting different answers, it's hard.  Really hard.

And so some days I wonder, "Why am I still trying?"  And lately, many days, I don't have a good answer.  The truth is, I'm often overwhelmed.  School's starting, therapy schedules are changing and becoming more complicated, we're starting activities for the younger kids, and things are busy.  Jacob's often working long hours, we're both over-tired, and the house is kind of falling apart a lot of days.  And I think, "Why add more?  Can I actually handle more?"

And it's more than that.  I feel like we should adopt, but whereas before I had some pretty clear direction, now I don't really know who, or where, or when, or anything.  And I don't like disagreeing with my husband (okay, if you know us, you're probably laughing right now, but, well, I don't like it on the important things, at least).  If I don't have a clear direction, and he doesn't want to move forward, why create contention by continuing to talk about it and ask about it?

Plus, the truth is that while I adore my kids, being a mom is not really my favorite job ever.  Don't get me wrong -- I feel very blessed to be a mom to my kids, and I've felt like staying home with them was the right decision for our family (at least for now), and I'm grateful that my husband makes enough that we have that option.  But really, in thinking just about _my_ career choices, it's not even close to the top of the list.  I completely respect people who teach or do childcare for a living.  I'm so grateful for them, and how awesome the good ones are with my children.  I'm not someone like that.  I enjoy kids, but mostly in small doses, and that generally goes for my own kids, too.  I have a lot of fun with them, but then I turn on the TV so I can distract them while I escape.  And the truth is that I'm pretty happy with my 3 boys.  They're great, we have fun, and I really don't feel any longings to have another baby.  (Honestly, I've never really gotten those.)

But though I've been feeling discouraged lately, wondering why I'm even still trying, I got a great reminder today of why I am.  Why it's important, and why I still want to do this, in spite of all the reasons for not doing it.  My friend is over in EE adopting for the second time this year.  I want to share with you some of what she wrote after returning.

And, now the sorrow. When we came here 6 months ago the groupa was about 15 children.  Today I saw 6 total.  That includes V.  The other little girl that was so close to EM and V was not here anymore.  She could not be adopted so that means she aged out of her baby house.  Another little girl that pulled at my heart-gone.  Most of these children were not available for international adoption.  These kids were in the oldest groupa in the orphanage. Most of these children have been transferred.  Whether they went to the institution or the internat depends on how severe their needs.  But either place will not be what they are used to. It will also not be a family.  And their chances of being adopted as they age gets smaller.

I looked into these children's eyes. I held their hands.  I talked to them.  For them to be gone, most likely transferred, is heartbreaking. I am hoping that some of the parents came for them. I am hoping some of them were adopted.  But I will never know.

And how awful for V and the other little ones that have been left behind. Can you imagine losing most of your friends in 6 months?  One after another.  Being left behind.  Can you imagine what that would do to your heart? How that would harden you over time?

I hope our girl was just nervous today. But I also imagine it has been a rough 6 months.  I am so glad we are here for her. That she won't be left behind to age out and face the internat alone.  But so many more have been and will be.  It is overwhelming.  They are all deserving.  Where are the parents for these other precious children?

And that is what it is like to be over here doing this. Full of joy, love,  devastation, heartbreak, fear, sorrow, happiness, elation, worry, anger, frustration, hope.  It is so emotional.  so hard.  so draining.  And yet I am, of course, so grateful to be here.  Not only for my family and my daughter.  But for myself. That my eyes have been opened.  Better to see even when it hurts than to look away ignore the painful reality. These kids are real. These kids are there. waiting.  wanting. needing whether we want to look at them or not.  As hard as it is for us, imagine how hard it is for them. If we open our eyes and see, we can do something.

It was just the reminder that I needed today, that it's not about me.

I was reminded of a conversation I had with a friend recently. She was asking about our adoption, what we were thinking, if we were planning on moving forward, etc, and I mentioned (off-hand) that I didn't want to adopt a healthy baby. She looked at me in genuine confusion and asked, "Why not?" It was a legitimate question, asked thinking about the heartache some of her family members have gone through with their adopted daughter (who was adopted as an older child, and has some special needs). She wondered, if I could choose, why I wouldn't want to adopt a healthy baby and avoid some of those issues? I told her a truth -- that if I wanted a healthy baby (though really, there's no guarantee of that through birth or any type of adoption) I could have my own. I probably didn't delve far enough into the greater Truth -- that it's not about me.

This isn't about me, though I know I would benefit, learn, grow, and become a better person through the process. This isn't about my bio kids, though I know they'd love another sibling, and would learn valuable lessons about love, caring, and being grateful. This isn't about our family at all, though I think if we do adopt we'll be blessed. This is about children who have nothing and no one, who are simply waiting for someone to love them, someone to choose them. This is about being the hands and feet of God, reaching out to the least of these, and saying, "I love you. 'Come unto me.'" The truth is, these children need someone to step out of their comfort zones, be willing to go out on a limb, and say, "We choose you." If not us, then who?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Catching Up

I know, it's been forever since I blogged.  What with vacations and summer breaks and kids being home all the time I haven't been on the computer quite as much (which is really a good thing, overall).

But since I love all my blog readers, I thought I'd catch you up a little bit.  We went on an awesome long vacation during which my kids saw both sets of grandparents, all three great-grandparents who are still living, 10 of their 16 aunts and uncles, and 19 of their 23 cousins.  We also went to theme parks, aquariums, dinosaur museums, and national parks. 

It was great, and exhausting.  At the end I was more than ready to come home, and the kids were, too.  They were so happy to see all their toys again, and I was happy to let them play without worrying what they were getting into or what they might break.

Not much else has been going on around here.  We've been trying to have some sort of routine to the rest of our summer, but other than therapies we don't have much going on (I rather like it that way).  School starts in just 2 weeks, so that will end soon.  Spencer will be in 2nd grade and Travis will be in 1st grade.  I might try to find a Pre-K for Nathaniel if he ever decides he's willing to use the potty.  We'll see.

As far as adoption plans go, I'm still obsessing about trying to figure out what we should be doing, but we continue to not get any answers (or rather, the answer is probably just that we need to wait, but I'm not very good at that).  I'm hoping things will change sometime, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see.  I do hope to at least start updating the blog a little more frequently, though!