This post has been something I have contemplated for many months as I have cried my way through many moments in this adoption journey. I am going to share my whole heart, all of it is going to be out in the open. Should you not agree with me please have kindness in your heart to keep it there.
Adoption is a very emotional journey for so many reasons. For one you are "pregnant", it may be paper pregnant but you are expecting, however you have no tangible evidence, no one can see your baby bump and ask you how you are feeling. In fact you may feel that no one wants to hear about your "pregnancy". Expecting through adoption can be a very lonely place to be. Just like in pregnancy you gravitate to people who have or are experiencing what you have gone through. Unfortunately, in adoption there are a lot less people who have been where you are in your immediate proximity. You have less people to share your journey with, less people who are happy with you, less people who want to hear about it. Do these things keep us from adopting? No!
Adoption is costly. When you give birth to a child and you have insurance your insurance usually pays a portion of the birth. When you adopt internationally, even after any tax credits, you are still paying more than what a no complications birth would have cost in cash. Should we let the cost of an adoption leave children as orphans? In our house we say NO! We feel blessed to have been chosen by God to form our family through adoption.
Families formed through adoption are treated different than families that give birth. Unfortunately, that is just the way it is. When you come home with a toddler or even a new born that joined your family through adoption you are overwhelmed, tired, emotional, stressed, recovering from jet lag, dealing with a child that may not have ever seen a Caucasian person before joining your family nor heard English before, dealing with a child that may be on emotional overload and may be grieving. Do people show up with food and offer to help out? Not usually. Instead when times are tough and you are beyond frazzled you hear things like "you are the ones that chose to do this". Again, adoption can be a lonely place.
You arrive home with your precious child and begin many rounds of doctors appointments, surgeries, therapies and the list goes on. With M we came home and didn't find out about her medical condition until she was 2 years old, she was adopted at 9 months. She had a bit of time to learn to trust us and get adjusted to her new life in a family. With E we knew of his medical condition at the time of his referral and he had his first surgery 2 1/2 months after joining our family. He came home at 2 1/2 years old and has many long lasting issues that come from living in an institution for so long. Sophia's medical condition has many unknowns, we know that she will need an MRI shortly after coming home so we know what is going on. With all of these processes and procedures you are tired, your child is trying to trust you and you can be just plain worn out. Do you give up and say it is too hard? Nope!
I write of these things not because I am not happy adopting, it is quite the opposite. I don't think I could have been given a greater gift by God than the gift to love a child born not from by body but in my heart. I know that there are many people out there that can not do it for whatever reason. Growing our family through adoption requires many sacrifices by our family. We have not taken a "vacation" almost EVER. We took a trip to Lake Tahoe for our first anniversary and that was nearly 17 years ago. Vacations for this family is a weekend camping trip or a trip to Nana and Papa's. Our kids have not seen Yellowstone, Disneyland, Disney World, Six Flags or any other fun kids place. We have not taken a cruise, been to Hawaii, Mexico or any other exotic place besides a trip to China together when we adopted M. Now daddy stays home while I travel to pick our kids up.
When we adopted M daddy had a pickup that was very dear to his heart and Ol' Blue was sold to help us with the remaining travel money needed to pick up M. Daddy sacrificed his treasure to bring home a much greater treasure. Since then we have not had anything really of value to sell. For E's adoption we did have a bonus that helped us get started but after getting our dossier to China everything went a lot quicker than planned so we had to take out a loan for E's adoption that we are still paying on today. Not only did thing go quicker but the economy started to fall. Barely a year after getting home with E we started the journey to Ginger which later turned into the journey to Sophia. Again we had a bonus to get us started but nothing after. In fact it has been a really really hard year financially. The down economy has really affected things where we live. Instead of giving up because it was "too hard" "cost too much" etc. we continued on. Would it have been easier to quit before seeing our little Sophia's face, you betcha! Ginger had been matched with a family and we were left to wait and SEE what God had planned for us when he gave us the love of Ginger. We continued on because we know that He gave us the love of Ginger so that we would be ready for Sophia.
So here we are, about three months from me leaving for China to pick up our baby girl. We still need to raise about $6500 to bring our baby home and our possessions are being evaluated. I have never been a person that wished that I had a collection of high dollar items until now. I wish I had a collection of fancy name purses to sell that many would love to get their hands on. In all reality I don't have fancy anything. I am a fairly simple person, pretty much always out of style, and I'm ok with that other than I wish I had more to sell. I will be scouring my house for all things that may be of interest to another that will get us another step closer to Sophia. What few "treasures" I have are up for sale in order to bring our precious girl home. When telling someone what we had left to raise rather than words of encouragement I heard "Good luck with that". I can tell you that I have shed many tears because of comments like that. There is nothing more humbling in the world than having to fundraise to bring a child home. To have the desire to take a child out of an orphanage and not be able to write a check to make it happen. I truly feel that the Lord has called us to adopt at this very time in order for us to bring others along in our journey. By opening this journey up to others we also open ourselves up to a lot of heartache. There is nothing that hurts more than knowing that your family and friends do not support your adoption or your fundraising. I have cried myself to sleep on more than one occasion and know that I will have many more tears to come until Sophia is placed in my arms and I will then have tears of joy.
I tell you all of this so you may understand the emotions that we as adoptive parents go through. You add in the dynamic of a fundraising family and the emotions can be multiplied. I have met so many wonderful people through the adoption community that have helped me through the tough times. To them I say thank you! Thank you for the words of encouragement, for telling me that you have been there and I am not crazy, for sharing your heart with me and for being such wonderful friends. For our family that has been rallying behind us in this journey we love you with all our hearts, we couldn't do this without you. We appreciate all your contributions to our journey, we thank you for spending your days working your heart out at yard sales, for listening to me cry, for putting your life on hold to help care for our child either in the US or in China. We love you and really couldn't do it without you.
If you are an adopting family that needs a shoulder or a friend please let us know. We have been there and want to be there for you.
When my spirit faints within me, you know my way! Psalm 142:3
Trust Your Mama Gut
1 week ago