Attachment to the Idea of a Maybe
My husband described the adoption process this way to a few friends as they sat across from us on the couch in the living room. I'm usually the one to work words in clever ways - but Josh hit the nail on the ever moving head.
We are licensed foster-parents, intent on adopting from the foster care system in Minnesota. Otherwise known as 'The Minnesota Waiting Children.' That title alone pangs ache in my heart. An ache that, I'm sure, all 500+ of these kiddos feel as they wake up each day without a forever family.
When we went through training last year and announced our intent to adopt, I could never have imagined the journey to today. In fact, as my fingers hit keys, I await a phone call that could tell me we get to meet children tomorrow. Isn't that insane? While I carry on meetings and #31days and life, I also plan for our lives to be dramatically changed in the space of one phone call.
This call to adopt is not for the faint of heart. Then again, it's God's heart that we're pursuing. Our wellspring of strength is limitless.
In pursuing adoption, we've learned that a discipline we must learn is this: waiting. So often we send emails or files and wait for responses. Other times we inquire about children who are available for adoption, wait for an answer, and hear 'no' and wait for the next possibility. Other times still, we wait before the Lord for clarity. Do we press in or press on, God? Please lead our every breath and step.
I'm not sure how the minds of other potential-adoptive parents work in this process. For us, it involves a lot of intentional prayer, rumination, and discussion. And of course (without fail and I couldn't stomp it down even if I tried) dreaming. Oh, the dreaming. Each time we read a profile about a child, we pray and if lead, we ask for more information. Then we ask to be considered as an adoptive resource. And while we wait for responses, we dream.
I can't tell you how many pictures of sweet little faces I've looked at, and then imagined our future together. Pictured them baking with me and the girls, helping Josh tack nails into the deck, running down the hallway to 'brush-teeth' before bed. I picture the hard moments, too: Midnight crying where a moment of breakthrough forged by hard earned trust allows them to collapse into my arms and actually find comfort there. The moments when they yell 'you're not my mom', and I get to pour love into that moment even if I never hear 'mom' from their lips. Sneaking food, throwing tantrums, testing my theory that target is designed to make parents question their capabilities.
In my dreams my love for them grows. We become attached to what they could be to our family. Attached to the idea of a maybe.
And then the response comes: They've just been adopted. A relative stepped up to adopt them. They're going to give the birth family another chance. Your family isn't a great fit...
There was a movie I saw, once, where a woman lost a friend. She went to a river and placed a floating lantern into the current, symbolically and peacefully letting go of a dream. Our loss is in no comparison to that loss, but I mentally have had to let many lanterns away float.
The beauty of this journey is God's goodness. His consistency. His promise to provide for me exactly the portion I need, regardless of what comes downstream. I sit here on the precipice of change, unfaltering and (mostly) unafraid. I could break and shatter each time. And, it's not with shame that I admit crying when we hear 'no'.
But when I challenge my heart to let God lift my eyes to the hills and carry me with his strength, I find that it isn't so hard to be strong.
It may take many 'maybes' until we bring our child or children home. I know God will see us through it all. His promise will come.