If you've ever read this blog before, I'm sure you've gathered that we're excited about adoption. When we were dating, Jim and I dreamed about adopting. As a family, we've talked and prayed about adopting for years. I can look back and see seeds that God was planting in our hearts over the years to draw us toward this plan that He had for us; even toward these specific two children that He has always known would be part of our family. And I can tell you that there is an indescribable joy in being right where God wants you to be. A sweet sensing of His pleasure when you step forward in obedience. An experience of His blessing that is almost tangible.
But if you know me really well, you have also seen my fear. There have been moments throughout the process of this adoption when I've hovered on the edge of panic. I've spent sleepless nights wondering what we were thinking to take blind steps into this unknown place. What might we be taking on? What might we be giving up? I mean, really; we're in a pretty good place. We are financially stable even in this culture, and compared to most of the world we are ridiculously wealthy. All four of our children are healthy (and at least in my opinion they are also beautiful, intelligent, and talented!) We've had the opportunity to be educated, and to educate our children. We have wonderful friends. We are free to worship, as well as to do pretty much whatever else we want to do. And here's the thing...I am so selfish. I don't want my life to be harder. I don't want to suffer. Am I really willing to sacrifice? This is what I am learning, and what I long for: that I would experience more and more deeply the truth that God is more satisfying than anything. That there is nothing I have that I would not lose for the sake of obedience to Jesus. That I would pursue whatever He calls me to with abandon. I am so far from being there, but I am learning...I am.
I am sitting in my comfortable house, on the couch, with my laptop on my lap and a heating pad on my back. I hurt my back today lifting boxes (looking for clothes for Mihret and Yoseph). I felt sorry for myself. I wondered how I could possibly get done any of the things on my (very long) list if I couldn't even stand up straight. In pain, I snapped at the children. Without the frantic pace of busyness I've been keeping since we got our travel date, I started worrying about things. Missed flights. Power outages in Ethiopia. Parasites. Lice. Temper tantrums on 17 hour plane rides (maybe the children's; maybe mine). Attachment disorders. Long-term effects of malnutrition. Racism. Taking care of African hair (okay, that might seem out of place, but it's on my mind!) And there are lots of others. But at some point, God just got ahold of my heart. And I got it (at least for the moment). So what? What if we miss our flight (or worse). What if there are lice, parasites, temper tantrums, attachment disorders, special needs I can't foresee? Really? What if our children (all 6 of them) experience painful challenges? God is bigger. He is better. Better than living a life that seems safe, comfortable, and predictable. I want to be in the center of His will. We've been reading and memorizing Psalm 91 lately: He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. We've been talking with the kids about the fact that you can't be in Someone's shadow unless you're very close to Him. And that's where I want to be. And I don't think He is staying in the clean, safe, comfortable places. Honestly, when I think about what we're doing in those terms, I feel like an idiot even considering that we're facing anything that might be considered "suffering". There is so much more we could do. There is so much more we could give. I hope and pray that our children (all 6 of them!) will learn to live with abandon for God. That they won't have my steep learning curve. And I hope I keep learning too.
Here's something I read this afternoon that's worth checking out: http://kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com/2010/02/she-was-eighteen-years-old-and-she-had.html