The Process [or] “So…anything new with the adoption?”

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I love this question.  It is almost always asked out of a place of genuine interest, and it allows me an opportunity to verbally process the strange situation we’ve put ourselves in and to share what the Lord has been teaching me.  When someone asks this question, I feel accepted in my decision.  I feel normal.

Something I did not anticipate when Rod and I signed up to become foster parents is the uncomfortable interactions I would have with so many people because of our decision.  When someone new in my life says, “So…do you have any kids yet?” I feel like I have begun turning the crank on a new jack-in-the-box, unsure of what is going to pop out at the end of the song.

“Nope!  Not yet.  We are working on becoming foster parents with the hopes of adopting.”

The reactions are usually ones of surprise, excitement, curiosity, concern, and often a little bit of awkwardness.  Sometimes people surprise me by telling me they are adopted or that they have adopted.  Sometimes people tell me horror stories of someone they knew who tried to adopt but then all kinds of awful things went wrong.  Sometimes they compliment me, expressing more assuredness than I sometimes feel that I am going to be a good parent.  Sometimes they ask me sad questions like, “Aren’t you afraid the child could be taken away?” or they give me advice to not let myself get too attached.  Many times, they tell me that they considered adoption, but then decided against it.

Occasionally these interactions can send me down some not-so-pleasant mental roads, but for the most part I understand that at the root of all of this concern and questioning is a desire to connect.  It seems to me that people who have walked a different road want to think of ways they can relate to my situation, I believe, as a means to maybe make me feel normal.  The problem is that when I see someone scrambling for some semblance of a way to know how to talk to me, it makes me feel just a tiny bit less normal.  In my imagination, I want to interrupt their fumbling, put my arm around them and say, “You know what?  It’s okay that my story is different from your story.  You don’t have to relate to me.  You can just listen to my experiences, and I’ll listen to yours.  Mmkay?”

But when people who know we are going through this process ask me how it’s going, for some reason, I don’t feel like such a weirdo.  I feel like I have a story that someone wants to hear.  A story that isn’t going to make someone feel uncomfortable.  And it is very, very good.

So, for those of you who want to know, this is how it’s going…

We are done with training, we are done with our home studies, and two weeks ago, our big ol’ stack of paperwork got sent to the state of Michigan.  Once they look it over, and as long as they have no further questions, our license should come through in the next week or so.  Technically, we could get a child placed with us right away…as in “I’m calling to let you know that you’re licensed now, and by the way we have a child here in the office and we’ll be at your house in an hour.”  But we suddenly and surprisingly got invited to go to Israel {yes, Israel!} at the beginning of May.  It’s a 2-week trip, and since it’s less than two months away, we requested not to be called for any placements until after we come home.  We wouldn’t want our babe to only have a few weeks to settle in with us before he or she would have to go somewhere else again.

So that’s the story.  In the meantime, we keep praying.  We attempt to keep our house clean, and we figure out how to put together the new white baby crib we bought today.  In the meantime, we wait.

I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.”

 


photo by Brian Wolfe(y)

 

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