Well, we put this adoption stuff before the Lord, asking Him to teach us, and He is not letting us down.
This blog was originally started as a way to keep my thoughts organized about the complex steps involved in adopting and to keep whoever is interested updated on the progress. It has lately morphed into a somewhat philosophical "dissection of a learning process" with more questions than answers and more confusion than closure.
I thought that deciding to adopt was the growth process. From there on out, I expected that the rest would be, to put it bluntly, paperwork and picking out onesies. But things are not working out as I expected. God is really using this process to teach my hubby and me so much about Himself (have I mentioned this already?) :-)
Anywho...here's the latest.
See, I've got this family of really smart people. They include my parents and my big brother and sister, who kinda helped raise me, too, because I was the baby of the family, and at least five years separates me from them.
All four of them are perceptive, wise folks who love me lots. And all four of them, in the past two days (and basically independent of one another) have told me that they are rather nervous about the idea of us adding a baby to our family.
The issue for them isn't adoption. That is a well traveled road for our family. One of us in the family is legally adopted, and my siblings and I grew up in a home where my parents displayed adoptive hearts. (As an example: Once my mom brought home from church a young Russian woman who was visiting America and needed a place to stay for a few days. Mom put her in the extra room. She ended up staying for seven years.)
So my family's issue isn't adoption. Their issue, to put it plainly, is me. They are concerned about me. And they make some good points.
First, my own health. Now, it's not that I'm not healthy. I'm very healthy. I'm certainly in better shape than most Americans. But I do have type-1 diabetes. This illness, as anyone who has it knows, it complicated, irritating, and at times, extremely stressful.
Here's an example. Last night, we had a picnic dinner with some of our best friends. We brought chili, and they brought cornbread. We had a delightful time. During the meal, I had a second piece of cornbread because it was yummy, but I forgot to take a second shot of insulin. I didn't remember until I tried to go to sleep at 10:30 and realized that I was feeling horrible.
I checked my blood sugar, and it was 300 (way above safe). So I had to immediately take insulin and stay up until my blood sugar came down and my body was able to relax back to normal. I was agitated, feverish, weepy, and miserable until the insulin finished its work. It took two hours, and my husband stayed up with me for moral support. This morning, he told me to sleep in because of the ordeal the night before. He took the kids with him to the ministry-training summit that we were all registered to attend today. He'll have to tell our ministry team, "Sorry, but Betsy had a sugar spike last night. She's resting today."
All because I had a second piece of cornbread.
My precious family has been with me through all of this: my diagnosis, my learning to live with the illness, my birthing of two high-risk "sugar babies" (as the docs call babies of diabetics), and the many mood swings that go along with blood sugar ups and downs (if you're someone who loves a type-1, you know that "mood swings" is the nice word for it).
So it's not that I'm not healthy. I am very healthy. But my life is complicated by my health issues.
Not only am I diabetic, but I'm also just naturally a very intense person emotionally. I feel things very deeply. I am an all-or-nothing kind of gal. I can experience total elation and intense despair all before breakfast. So my family is concerned for me in that area, too. I have done a great job with my two little ones. But both my mom and my brother have had three kids. And they both tell me that three is a whole new ballgame. Having more kids than hands is a huge step. And for a personality like mine (plus a chronic illness), it just might not be good idea.
Lastly, my whole family knows how important it is to me to seek God's will. They have pointed out to me that God hasn't given me and my hubby a clear "calling" to this adoption. I can't help but to agree with this point. I have been a woman of prayer for many years. I have heard God's silence before, and I have heard His voice. Right now, He's not speaking much to me about adoption. He's speaking to me about many deep, important issues. But not this one. And God can't be manipulated. He can be ignored at our own peril, but he can't be manipulated. And so I continue to wait for spiritual confirmation about this adoption.
Also, my family has talked to me about my clear skills and giftings in working with young adults, young Christians making critical life decisions. Toddlers are not so much my forte. Their argument is this: Why not, in whatever spare time I do have, throw my energies into the ministries that my husband and I are involved in now: Marriage mentoring, assisting the impoverished with life choices, explaining to new Christians the mysteries of the Bible. I have to admit, that's a good point, too.
OK, so that's my family's concerns. But now it's my turn: I want a baby.
I want, want, want, want a baby.
I'm crazy about my children, and I want another one. I drool over the little size-zero shoes. I bought a crib. I think about baby names all the time. I am clearly not ready to say adios to my baby-nurturing days.
Also, I've learned a lot of lessons from my struggles. And these lessons might very well make me a better mom, a more patient person, and a better candidate for handling the chaos of another child than if I hadn't gone through these things.
Besides, I don't want to let diabetes stop me. I don't want to let my intense-emotional personality stop me. I don't want to let anything stop me. I want a baby, dammit.
So anyway, while my husband and I were sitting up waiting for my blood sugar to come down last night, we chatted about this all. My husband, if you don't know him, is amazing. He is nearly always at peace. He is hard-working, long-suffering, fun, delightful, able to not take himself too seriously, and brilliant. And I'm not just saying this because he's hot.
So anyway, when we started this whole adoption thing several months ago, my husband told me that when he was praying about it, he heard this from God: "November 15th." (I know it sounds weird. And unless you've had similar experiences with God, it might sound crazy. But it would take days for me to write about the many times that we have gotten weird words just like this from God and they have turned out to be amazing insights.)
Since that word from God a few months ago, we've wondered more about this date. What does it mean? My husband brought it up again last night.
He thinks (and frankly, he's usually right about spiritual matters) that the date might be the day that we finally know what on earth we are "supposed" to do.
I was a bit shocked. I thought that we already knew what we were "supposed" to do. Didn't we? Why else would my husband be leading us to complete all this paperwork, committing money to the process, even getting our kids excited about the idea? Why on earth would God start something in us that He didn't intend to finish? You would think that instead of "November 15th," God could have saved His breath (and four syllables) with a simple "No." Then I could have moved on with my life and thrown my energies into one of my seven other current hobbies instead.
But after my ranting, my husband reminded me of something. He reminded me of the purpose of creation.
God's primary purpose in creation—and in His tender care of us, His children—is to raise a family for Himself. To grow us into maturity...to grow us into Christ...to grow us into citizens fit for the kingdom of light.
He often does heal our diseases, fulfill our dreams, and bring rest to our souls. But His primary purpose is to raise up mature children and to enjoy them. So it might very well be true that He is working out our maturity through this process of pursuing another baby even without the promise of our heart's fulfillment in the end.
So anyway, I thought I should update everyone on this morsel. Here's a summary:
--My family is pretty smart, and for some reason, they have all four felt free (in one 24-hour period) to independently tell me of their concerns. And these concerns are all really similar.
--I am shocked, scared, and angry that we might come so far and end up choosing not to adopt...and it all will have still been in God's will. What kind of crazy plan is that?
--I am tempted to just put the whole thing (the adoption process) on hold until I know more about the end result. 'Cause one thing that pisses me off is wasted time and energy. But my husband makes a good point: we are learning and growing through all this, and it doesn't hurt anyone to keep going (there's no birth mother involved yet).
--Most importantly, to be totally honest, I'm at peace. Even in my distress, I'm at peace. It's that peace that passes understanding. That peace that the Bible refers to as our "guard," which protects our hearts. It's that peace I never had before Christ transformed me. I trust Him.
I love my hubby. I love my kids. My life is happy. Right now, I feel all discombobulated. But I've been there before. I have mourned a lot of loss due to my diabetes, and I will survive if I have to mourn this loss, too.
Just like I totally believe that I can handle another baby—no matter what anyone says—I know that I can also handle the baby-shaped void. God has saved me from a lot worse—if you know my testimony, you know what I mean.
Thanks for reading. It really does help to not feel alone as I go through this all. My husband says that he wants to write a post here soon. So be on the lookout for his perspective!
Love to friends and family, Betsy