Adoption Thoughts (From a Recovering Perfectionist)

Yet another late night had us sulking home far past bedtime. From the front seat I barraged myself in silent mantras that tend to scream loudest when darkness shrouds my view and stress and chaos abound. Mantras that call into question the measure of my motherhood. Interrupting my harsh thoughts, a sweet voice called for me from the back seat. “What baby girl?” I asked. She rambled on in her precious way before speaking the words that rooted their way into my heart with divine purpose:

“Tonight, I’m just going to believe God and go to sleep.”

“I’m just going to believe God…” Why can’t I do that? For weeks I have fretted over how I could add to the conversation surrounding National Adoption Month. My brain has started and deleted a hundred different articles to share here without even typing a word. Those I did type faced the same outcome:

See somehow this notion that my words will change someone’s heart was a message I received and accepted as reality. For so long I’ve unconsciously believed there is a perfect way to spill these words onto paper and a way that isn’t. Under the false pretense that if I can write compelling messages with just the right balance of humor and grit the world will benefit, I have written, deleted, grown frustrated and been unproductive. The light of truth buried somewhere deep beneath the mess of these lies is that I will never change someone’s heart, only God will. Oh I’m assured He can and will use these measly word offerings, but it will never be my words that change a person’s heart.

“… And go to sleep.” Isn’t that the antiphony of peace? Just resting. Not fretting over a to-do list or what someone said about me or what they might say about me. Sleep. Rest.

If I’m honest, I waste far too much time wrestling with perfection. Often I don’t even realize the anxiety creeping into my spirit to make it all come together just so. I manipulate words and sentences and craft whole new drafts in endless strife to reach a target that mists away when the arrow is released. There’s space for striving for excellence, but it should never be more important than the message. It should never impede on my belief in God’s power. This plague of perfectionism stretches far beyond just my storytelling in written form and into the stories I want to see written on the pages of life. Adoption in particular has pulled taut those strings until they’ve reached strand-snapping capacity. And beyond.

Today, the season is a reminder to my ever-striving-for-perfection heart that faith and peace are gifts available now. Thanksgiving is when we pause with intent to give voice to our thanks. And today, I’m thankful for the loss.

Every heartbreak and letdown, every rejection, every tear along this journey has pointed me deeper into connection with my Savior. And someday, it will point into deeper relationship with my child. Though please hear me: I will not compare these temporary losses with the daily reality my child will endure. Adoption starts with loss. Always. And I’m just so thankful the Lord has been gracious enough to provide us opportunity to experience a taste of what it is to live with a broken and confused heart.

As we move forward into the Christmas season, we wait in hopeful expectation the celebration of the Savior’s coming.

Down to the millisecond, God’s timing was, in fact, perfect. Every minute detail was planned and executed in perfect order. Regardless of the imperfections of the human heart, God remains sovereign.

So today, as the harsh realities of this continual wait stare me in the face, I’m going to foster a heart of gratitude. Today, I’m just going to believe God and let sleep the voices that long to steal my joy; the mantra of my own ruthless critic that threatens to erode away the beauty of this perfectly imperfect story with my own twisted ideals of perfection. Instead, I’ll listen for that still small voice to whisper sweet tendrils of His sovereign plan into the depths of my heart. With my face to the sky, the wind on my tear-streaked cheek and a spirit stirred up by thankfulness, hope and peace, I say, “What next Lord Jesus? What next?”

Quick Update: One mama still has our profile book. All others have chosen other families. We appreciate your prayers and love!

The Solid Rock

Life lately has dished out some major disappointments. Disappointments that have left me reeling for a safe place to land. To be honest, there have been moments I’ve felt paralyzed in fear and anxiety and uncertainty about where to turn next. Along this adoption process, I’ve questioned. But in the past several weeks, I’ve questioned everything.

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Happy and Sad

The clock on the wall read just before 10:00 when the notification rang I had an email. I’d been standing in front of the mirror curling my hair but when I saw the sender, I snatched my phone instead, spun and sank onto the bathtub surround. I opened the email as quickly as my phone would flip through screens and read the short message. Rob’s voicemail picked up when I called. He was in a meeting but promptly texted to ask if he should leave. I gave him the run down and said I just need to make sure he was still good with our yes. He wasted no time in responding, “Absolutely.” So I typed up a quick email and sent it. Then watched the clock.

I texted family and friends asking them to pray. I sat down with my kids and explained the situation the best I could on their level. We huddled together on the worn, chocolate brown recliner that sits in the corner of the living room by the front corner window and prayed together. Lucas led us this time and his prayer was simple, “Lord, help this mama to pick the right family for her baby girls – even if it isn’t us.”

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I Will Choose Joy

Tonight the air was humid as we walked across the grassy field. We’d parked in the far parking lot, the soccer field separating us from the large building where we were headed for the restroom. My little girl skipped beside me in her ballerina attire – all but the shoes because the shoes are only to be worn inside – myself in leggings and a thin cotton striped dress. When I wear it, my husband always gives me a second look just to make sure I know he notices me. We’ve learned through our decade and a half together through tears and late night talks how to show the other the love we continue to choose as we honor our vows. My little girl skipped along beside me, talking nonstop as always. She talked about her dance class we’d just left and the bench we passed and the flowers she stopped to smell. 

We walked into the large, empty lobby. Only a handful of people milled about and I could see them watching and listening to my sweet little chatterbox as her voice stretched through the vast space and echoed against bare walls. She paused to do a twirl on the worn red carpet in her black sheer skirt and I cheered. 

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“Then Fan Again.”

The embers, still hot from the night before, seemed to puff out their chests in crimson the moment the air current changed. With a stiff paper plate my sister fanned the glowing-bellied coals until they ignited. Barely licking the dry kindling but not quite ready to bite, she whipped her tool of choice harder and faster pushing those tiny tongues up further until they reached her meticulously placed straw and twigs. The edges crisped an orange hue before the flames grew to consume them.

As sisters do, we chatted about life as we sat beside the fire ring warming our chilly extremities in the cool morning air. The sun poked through the natural holes gaping from the spread of leaves overhead to warm our cheeks as we watched the fire. But, as fires do, the flames calmed and slowed, retreating back to the embers that had given them life. We continued our talk as my sister knelt back down into the mixture of dust and ashes just outside the fire ring and rededicated herself to building it up again. Furiously, she waved for a few moments then sat back on her heels breathless and chuckled.

“‘Fan into flame…'” She quoted a partial verse from 2 Timothy before adding, “Then fan again.”

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Hard Days But a Really Big God

I wouldn’t consider myself a hopeless romantic. I’m far too much a realist to allow my dreams to overshadow my present tense. Yet, lately I’ve been praying for some big things; health concerns, marriages, broken hearts, hardships, unimaginable pain and none-the-least of which adoption details – our own and others. It seems everywhere I turn, life has taken its toll on the whole lot of us. And if I’m honest the weary tends to turn into worry in my mind.

A couple weeks ago I shared about some pretty big possibilities for our adoption. Two cases being for children with special needs. Another in the works.

Long story short:

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