If you were to find adoption on a bookshelf in the library, which section would it be in?
Adoption is an adventure. It is a mystery. It is a memoir. A biography. So, which section would it be found in? When one is chosen to adopt, he must be prepared to encounter all of the above.Some days, it is a sappy, happy memoir, the story of parents finding children. Some days it is a mystery, would-be parents feel like private eyes tracking down the missing form. Other days, it is an adventure gone wrong where prospective parents feel as if they have gone over the waterfall in the latest adventure story. That is when the four Ds can take over and the story turns into a drama.
Jerry and I had finished our paper work. We were in the middle of the waiting game, the pages of the book that no one writes because it is so mundane. We sat by the phone and waited for the call. One night I had a nightmare. Snakes, Little wriggly black snakes all over the back yard. I stood in the middle of the yard. The ground beneath my bare feet moved and writhed. I woke up, sweat pouring off me, confused. Had I entered a Stephen King thriller? I called a friend for help with interpretation. It was too real to be nothing. “The snakes represent discouragement,” she said, “you need to encourage yourself in the Lord. You are discouraged about the adoption. You need to stop!”
Discouragement can cause us to divorce the mission. I needed the warning. Heed the warning, don’t let discouragement stop you!
No great book is worth reading if there is no plot line. That means the main character has to make a choice, face difficulty and overcome it. My favorite books include character change. Adoption will change you.
The Guire family had traveled to Pittsburgh to go to the INS office. We walked through snowy, slushy streets and commented to the kids, “this will prepare us for Poland, we will walking a lot there.” Excitement filled each of us. We marched a little jollier that winter day. Then it happened, just like it does in any great story, difficulty. You don’t see it coming, you just turn the page. You round the corner. A sign on the door -Office Closed. What were we to do? We had driven all this way. Jerry had taken off work. When we have another day to do this? (This is when the main character races through her inner monologue). The plot builds. The main character has a choice. Go back to number one. Discouragement. Or, maintain a good attitude and give thanks in all circumstances. So, we prayed right there in the middle of an office building in Pittsburgh. Jerry pulled a sticky-note out of his coat pocket and said, “I don’t know where I got this phone number, but I am calling it.” He did. The person on the other side of that call redirected us to another building and we traipsed through the snow again. Walked in. Greeted by smiling faces and a efficient staff. Wow! Don’t give up when difficulty comes. It is the hallmark of great lead character, when she makes the right choice (James 1:2-4)
Adventure junkies like books with disasters. Storm chasers anyone? Or Job syndrome? Not me. But, none of us are immune to disaster. I would like to think I am, that I can control my circumstances. I can’t. Neither can you. The adoption journey can present some Job-like disasters. Take heart. God is control.
The day I sent a packet of important adoption paperwork in the mail, my neighbor rushed up our country lane warning, “Evacuate! There is a forest fire coming over the hill.” I could see the smoke. I could smell the smoke. (Inner monologue) What should I do? I have three small children. What if my home burns down? What if we have no place to bring our new children home to but a charred shell on a plot of black, treeless land? Hmmm. I, the main character in this story had to make a choice. My mother had told me a story of a godly woman who had stood on the edge of her property and ordered a tornado to turn away in the name of Jesus. I could picture her hair whipping around her face as she raised it upwards and called upon the name of Jesus. Could I do that? Did I have that godliness inside of me? I ran out to the hill the fire was eating up and told it to stop in Jesus name. Then I prayed and sweated. Sweated and prayed. The fire stopped on the crest of the hill. Yes, God used the firemen. No, I don’t want to be in that situation again, ordering the elements around in the name of Jesus. However, inner monologue continued, the main character doesn’t go through a scary chapter without some change, a supposition being born or beaten down. Who is trying to mess with my family? Christians like to look for signs. Was this a stop sign? Sometimes I look at disasters as stop signs. Most of the time they are not. They are something God uses to get us to turn to him. Did God start that fire? No. Did he stop it? Yes. Was my faith built? Yes. Not every disaster in my life has been stopped, but that is another series. That day it was. I did waver. I didn’t want my family to encounter a series of disasters because we were adopting. Thankfully, faith won.
Dread and fear are twins. They operate a little differently, but the outcome is the same. They stop you from doing things. Edgar Alan Poe had a firm grasp on the art of fear, are you hearing a heart beat? Dread plays into the best mystery novels because there are unknowns. Who is the murderer? Finding murderers is usually not in the adoption paperwork, however there are many cases for dread. It whispers all kinds of what ifs and puts the main character in a tail spin. Did I mention I am a control freak? Adoption is out of control. My control- that is. I like having all my ducks in order, trouble is, half of my ducks were on the other side of the world. I couldn’t hug them, hold them, tell them I loved them or I was coming for them. I didn’t know what they looked like. What if something happened to them while I was here? This is when the memoir-type monologue enters. It can be boring, redundant and still scare the heck out of you.
I had a vision one day while driving. I was holding a large bouquet of helium balloons. Trouble is, I couldn’t do anything with them. I couldn’t walk through doorways or carry groceries. I was so intent on holding those balloons that I couldn’t focus on what was in front of me. My home. My children. The Lord showed me each balloon represented something I was trying to control. I needed to let go of the balloons and trust Him to take care of each person and thing on my control list. I needed to let go of my good buddy dread and invite trust in.
The four Ds are just waiting to harass you and convince you to divorce the idea of adoption. Don’t do it! Remember, you are the main character of your story. Make sure it IS a story you want to read to your children, an adventure where the main character triumphs and brings home a family.