You might be like me. You might have married a good man, a quieter man, a man who will cover your feet when you’re cold or leap out of bed in the graveyard hours when you hear those heartwarming “harf harf” sounds of the cat commencing her scheduled barfing routine. I think that many of us have married these steady men. Everyone likes them, demands their time, they give unselfishly, cautious spenders (Target is his nemesis), you get the picture!
They work hard, pay the bills, bathe kids, fuss at teens for too much phone time. Overall, they are really, good guys….church guys, who will answer the call to help others with basically, anything.
But adoption….adoption was really a struggle for my steady man to wrap his mind around.
A few years ago, when I broached the subject with him, it was a flat out “no”.
“We have enough kids, we can’t afford it, how can I love another child like my own?”. Those were the main bullet points, and in that order.
Me, I’m all pie-in-the-sky. “We DON’T have enough kids, GOD will provide, we CAN AND WILL love another child just the same as our own”. And so the argument went, and argue, we DID.
The topic would come up, I would become bitter and frustrated, he would shut down, I would be sarcastic and snarky (which is always such a GREAT and PROVEN way to move your husband forward on the spiritual journey of adoption).
I was so incredibly, undeniably certain that adoption was for us. I had wanted to adopt my whole entire life, ever since I was a child, I just knew….I wanted to have my own kids and I wanted to adopt. There were children that needed a mother and here I am, a mothering type of person and I would mother them.
They would be so mothered that they wouldn’t ever feel the need to be mothered again. I’m here, let’s get this show on the road. Chop chop.
And so, we went round and round, me, weeping sometimes bitter, angry tears, yearning to be involved, yearning to start the big, scary journey and him, rock solid in his bullet point facts of male, square-boxed, time honored practicality.
The divide widened, rifting us in an unhealthy way. A not God-honoring way. A way that wives should not be taking and for me, I was completely justified, in my own stubborn mind, for feeling this way. Clinging to my pride and justification, I allowed bitterness to creep in.
And our marriage suffered, because of me, because of him, because we weren’t doing this the right way, the Godly way, and we both knew it.
Finally, I got to a point where God was gently (but not audibly) saying, “Let it go”.
“Let it go.”
God, I CAN’T let it go, there are children that NEED me, they need homes, they need a MOTHER and look! Here I am! A mother! What a coincidence, so, you know, let’s start this thing.
Let. It. Go.
I’m pretty sure He quite possibly was saying this with gritted teeth because, man, can I be super stubborn.
So, I’m all Holy-Spiriting my husband, which just might be NOT my job and I’ve got the impatience thing firmly down pat from lots of practice and I’m a total, emotional wreck inside.
After much internal struggle, which resembled one of those animal planet shows where two grizzlies have at it over a salmon head, I had to finally, reluctantly let it go.
THEN, because even though I’ve “let it go”, I still had to do SOMETHING, I started a line of artwork to help raise funds for other families, who were obviously more spiritual than ours, and much more blessed to be able to be so annoyingly united in their decision to go adopt.
I feverishly poured myself into fundraising, and fundraised my little heart out for quite a long time, creating a whole line of ink artwork that sold like hotcakes. It was the beginning of the adult coloring insanity and my finger developed a permanent dent in it from all of the drawing I did.
I believe God gave me purpose in the waiting, and there was purpose in this artwork that was yet to be realized. It took me an entire year to complete my line of Exquisite Ink work and in that year, I felt like I had truly let it go. I sadly resigned myself to the fact that adoption wasn’t for us. I’d just do my small part, however measly it felt, in raising funds and supporting families who were going. (Grrrr…)
We started attending a new church at the time and it just so “happened” that the pastor was preaching a whole entire, wondrously glorious series on trusting God.
Are you really trusting God? Are you stepping forward in faith, even when you are uncertain of the outcome? Do you trust God with your marriage, your money, your family? Well, do you? Huh?
He wasn’t as annoying as that, but you get my drift.
I’d sit in service and I’m telling you, it took all the self-control in my body not to elbow my husband at certain key points. He’d sit really still, I’d glance down and see his foot jiggling. At times, he’d shift uncomfortably like someone was poking his back (It wasn’t me, I swear!). I’d smile an internal smile with my internal jaw, which, later on, you’ll see will be dropping….internally.
After service, in the car, I’d want to talk about the sermon, and he’d say, “I don’t want to talk about it.”…… that’s it….and silence prevailed.
And I left it, because I sensed that something was happening, but I didn’t allow myself to hope…..I’d already spent too many years hoping, weeping, and praying… Hope hurt too much.
I miraculously managed to shut my big mouth (no easy feat) and let the Holy Spirit do His thing, because, you know, that’s His job and not mine (I should probably get a tattoo of that somewhere to remind me of that).
Three months. For three months, we didn’t talk about the sermons and for three months, our pastor wielded the sword of the Word of God like an expert surgeon…..and now you’re wondering what kind of surgeon I go to, but ancient surgeons might have used swords back in the olden days, so just hush now. You get the mental picture.
Finally, one Sunday afternoon, he sat me down. He needed to talk to me.
He’s very serious. My heart suddenly hurts. “I’m ready. I’m ready to adopt.”
I sat really still, fearing that any sudden movement might blow away this new feather of faith. My heart leaped and my internal jaw just dropped, but outwardly, I didn’t move a muscle or say anything.
My internal jaw was grinning so hard that it forced my external one to comply. There are really no words to accurately capture the sky-high joy that swept over me.
We’re ready. All those tears, arguments, years of hurt, hoping, disappointment, bitterness, talking, hinting, hoping some more….We. Are. Ready.
And that, my dear friends, is how we started down the wonderful, lovely, hard, scary, amazing, close-to-God’s-heart path called adoption.
Through all that emotional upheaval, I learned something valuable. Don’t be the Holy Spirit in your husband’s life. Yes, yes, it’s very hard and while there are times we are to hold each other accountable, it wasn’t the right time.
My man likes to lovingly point out that if we had started down the adoption road when I wanted to, Lian wouldn’t have even been born yet and wouldn’t be a part of our family. It’s so incredibly evident that Lian was meant for this family in God’s perfect design.
Think Sarah and Hagar. Just because your intentions are good or that you think you’re following God’s plan for your life, doesn’t mean that you can take matters into your own hands and advance your cause, pre-empting God’s perfect timing.
It has been an incredibly difficult, but necessary lesson for me.
The journey has transformed our spirits, whittled away our self, weeded out the sinful poison ivy in our garden of life.
Adoption has irrevocably changed us.
God’s timing, allowing the Holy Spirit to work, being patient, respecting my husband’s leadership and decisions….ALL things I had to learn the hard way and I’m still learning these things.
Above all things, lifting up your desires in prayer to our Heavenly Father, Who hears us, but just may not answer as quickly as we’d like.
Now, I’m itching to do it again, but I’m proud to say that I’m zipping it.
Was your adoption decision journey easy or hard? Encourage others with your story in the comments. I feel that there are many spouses out there that feel the call, but aren’t united yet in the decision.
How can I lift you up in prayer, my friend? Let me know!
Stay tuned for how Down Syndrome chose us!