The past couple of weeks have been quite interesting around here. Obviously, committing to Carolina has started some major rearranging of the house. We are still bouncing ideas around, but the plan is coming into place rather well.
It's hard to explain the feelings associated with the adoption process. I suppose, in many ways, it is not unlike being pregnant. Each time I have realized I was pregnant, there was an initial shock. This time there was sort of an, "Oh my goodness, here we go!" kind of feeling. Like the start of a roller coaster. It's scary and thrilling and so wonderful all rolled into one. But there is another feeling that I hadn't expected. When I am pregnant, I have the little "mantra" going in the back of my mind, no matter what else I happen to be doing. This mantra says, "I'm pregnant, I'm pregnant, I'm pregnant." There is no time when that baby is not somewhere on my mind and so I make all decisions with his/her best interest in mind. I am not carrying a child inside of me right now, but I am feeling those same feelings. All future plans have our new daughter in them. I think of her as we're preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas. My heart aches that she has never known either.
Someone once said "Being a mother is making a choice to allow your heart to walk around outside of your body." This is very true. I feel like an invisible force binds my heart to each of my kids. This week, that force stretched an ocean. Though we've never met, Carolina is in my heart. I wonder as I am going to bed at night whether she is up for the day. I wonder if she is talked to, or if anyone notices her at all. I wonder if she can get around on her own. I wonder if she's being fed and if she has warm clothes and blankets and heat. These are not guarantees in Eastern Europe the way they are here.
With all of these new feelings and emotions, it is hard to answer questions objectively, but it is even harder to take criticism of our decision. Thus far, I have done well, but it isn't easy...hence the reason I am up writing at 3am and not in bed.
Last week, my husband spoke at church. He doesn't enjoy being asked to speak in front of the entire congregation, but he did it. He spoke about our experience that led us to commit to Carolina. This was the first time that most of our church heard of our plans to adopt. To say people were shocked was an understatement, but we have another adoptive family who has been a wonderful example, so most were pretty excited for us.
But our closest friends were not.
My family is not.
It makes life very hard because the people we are closest to in the world are pulling away from us. I do not believe any of this will be permanent. We continue to spend time with our friends and we talk about it. They ask questions, we answer. As for my family, they will come around. But I guess I was having a really hard time this week with my family and friends avoiding normal, non-adoption conversation with me because of our decision. Why are they being this way? Here are some reasons I have come up with....come....psychoanalyze with me;)
1.) Fear for our safety. This is a big one. Friends and especially family fear us heading to an Eastern European nation where we know no one and do not speak the language.
Why are we not afraid? Because we are not truly "alone." There are people in country ready to assist us 24/7. They make the arrangements for our lodging and ensure it is a safe place. They help us get from place to place. It is their job and they are quite good at it according to the other families who have used them...so why worry? Will it be tough to communicate? Yes. But that is not an impossible hurdle and will give us a little first-hand experience of what our daughter will feel like when she first comes home.
2.) Feeling guilty or judged.
This is probably the biggest issue. If there was one thing I could say to people who do not feel called to adopt, it would be, "That's ok!" I think sometimes people feel that those who adopt look down on those who don't. That could not be further from the truth, at least for me. Everyone in our faith is called to "care for the widows and the orphans" but NOT everyone is called to adopt. Not everyone can adopt due to rules and regulations. Not everyone SHOULD adopt due to dynamics and other reasons. It does not make your personal mission any less valuable just because OURS is different. We all find ways to serve and do good in the world (all who want to anyway) and one person's good is not better than another person's good. There are plenty of ways to serve our fellow man and to ease human suffering besides adoption. We all are to do what WE can do. Our best is not measured against someone else's. What is good for me might be terrible for your family, so please, don't think that an excited adoptive family is somehow looking down on you for not adopting...we're not.
3.) Worry for our biological kids.
All I can say here is that my biological kids have adjusted just fine to each new sibling. I have no reason to suspect that they will not again rise to the occasion and welcome their new sister. They will miss us while we are in country, but I know they will be in good hands. Daddy will not stay the entire time, so he can be back with the kids and keep them in their routine as much as possible. My biological kids are quite excited about this. Of course, one wishes he could travel with us and that just won't be possible, but he'll get over that. As for issues once home, there is just no way to know what it will bring. But we are well-researched on the topic and we have many resources available to help aid us in the transition.
4.) Different viewpoints
This is kind of vague so let me just put it this way. When I explained the way children were left to starve...or nearly starve for years on end in cribs simply because they had an extra chromosome or other difference that made them "undesirable" in their country, I related a story. The story was of a little boy who died waiting for a family. The medical treatments available in the U.S. would have saved his life, but his orphanage director would not let him be adopted unless someone who was the "right" denomination adopted him. 1 Catholic Family, 1 LDS family and 2 non-Christian families wanted this child, but they were not deemed good enough, and the child died. I found that to be horrible. I find it horrible when kids waste away in cribs...teenagers who still look like babies from lack of nourishment. And when I relate these stories with all the passion I have, I am met with a blank stare and a shrug. And what comes next just blows my mind, "Well, better for the child to die and be with the Savior. They have a straight shot to heaven."
WOW! REALLY?! I agree that yes, the child is in heaven and will not suffer anymore, but how awful to think it better to let a child die that way...slowly, painfully, alone and unwanted. It won't affect where the child's soul goes, but what will that attitude do to our souls? Think about it. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these...ye have done it unto me." These are the words of Jesus Christ, whom these people and I worship as Lord and Savior.
Do we forget that the Savior expects His people to care for "the least of these" as we would for Him? And do we forget that NOT doing those things is as though Christ came before us and we did NOT help Him?
No, not everyone should adopt. But everyone CAN do something. Christians of all denominations not only CAN but are COMMANDED to do something. Adoption is ONE thing people can do. Helping those in process is another thing people CAN do. Donating to charities that aid orphans is also something people CAN do. Aiding people who are down-trodden in ANY way is something people CAN do.
Being anything less than supportive of any of these efforts is a great way to land on the wrong side of "ye have done it unto me."
And thus concludes my late night thoughts.