Adoption is a Journey

Every family's adoption journey is unique and seems to be filled with a great number of challenges. While our story is still in its infancy, it has already spanned several years. To the outside observer, it probably appears that we haven't made much (if any) progress. But to us, we have already moved far beyond any plans we had ever imagined.

My husband and I began discussing adoption early in our marriage. Since we planned to have biological kids first, we let this dream lay dormant for quite a while. It is hard to imagine parenthood before having children and we decided it was best to simply focus on one child at a time. We had our first baby and once we finally adjusted to the "new" normal, life was great. It is reasonable to expect life to have balance with one child and we adapted nicely. Our transition into baby #2 was not nearly as smooth. Life with two is a challenge and I wrestled to navigate "full-time" motherhood. The year after our second child was born was the most challenging year of our marriage thus far. We began to wonder if we were capable of any more children...life already seemed so full. At one point my husband even suggested that he could maybe have one more child, but that three would be his max.

The change was slow and almost undetectable. I heard sermons on family and our culture's unwillingness to make the sacrifices needed to raise children. Our attention was called to various adoption stories. We read books. We had friends going through adoptions. I began to awaken to the true value of motherhood. A whisper here, a nudge there. The miracle was that at the same time God was transforming my heart
, He was also changing my husband's. With very little discussion and no hesitation, we decided that we were definitely ready for a third child. Due to absolutely miserable pregnancies, I had no desire to travel that route again. There were so many children in the world in need of a loving home and we had so much love to give, adoption seemed like the perfect way to add to our brood. So, after much prayer, wrestling and seeking of wise counsel, we decided to adopt a baby girl from China.

The paperwork required for adoption is extensive. As anything related to government is concerned, the
bureaucratic labyrinth one must navigate is no surprise. With international adoption, there are two governments involved...so the process is mind-numbing. We began at a rapid pace and were checking items quickly off of our to-do list...home-study, fingerprints, writing checks, passports, autobiographies, references. We were about 6-months into the paper-chase and very close to completing our dossier (which is the bundle of paperwork that goes to China) - when we found out I was pregnant.

When I look back now, I am saddened by my reaction to the pregnancy. Instead of being grateful for the blessing it was, all that I could think about was the all-day nausea that would soon leave me unable to keep up with my life for 4 months. We were so committed to China; so invested. We had made the decision slowly, prayerfully and with much research. Why God? It took us a while to process the change of plans. We put the adoption on hold and focused on my third pregnancy. And now, as I look at my precious baby girl, I am moved. Once again, God knew me better than I knew myself. She is one of my greatest delights and I am in awe of His wonderful grace.

So, here we are today. Our little surprise is 17-months old and we are excited about the possibility of adding a fourth to our clan. Five years ago, we were planning for a three child max. But then God gently revealed our over-use of the words, "I, me and we" when planning our family. Somewhere between babies #2 and #3, he opened our eyes to the true blessing of children. We are beginning a China adoption once again. Because the wait is so long for China, we are also considering an Ethiopia adoption in the
interim. It is all extremely terrifying, but equally as exciting. We pray that we are listening to God. We are trying to lay our selfish planning aside and be open to the children as He brings them. So, although we have yet to actually complete an international adoption, God has already dramatically altered our hearts.

Last week we had our first meeting with the social worker who is doing our home study.

More to come soon...

1 comment:

Martha said...

Wow Tiffany, it is so great to see how God has opened your heart. I feel the exact same way with our journey. It is such a blessing to be able to see your story unfold... I know it will be amazing... it already has been with #1-3.... Martha