The Million Dollar Question
Over the next month, we will travel to China, meet Kai, adopt him, fly home, and start our new journey together. So, here's the million dollar question: "You must be so excited. How excited are you?" Yes! I am excited. But can I be honest? I'm equal parts excited and anxious with a few moments of doubt sprinkled in.
Excited. Of course! We are meeting this precious boy that we have known about since July. In a matter of moments, we will meet him and become his mommy and daddy. He will be led into a room where we will be waiting. All of our lives will change in an instant. We will finally get to hear his voice, hold his hands, look into his eyes, and pull his little body close. We will finally be the family of four we have been dreaming of for the last several years. We will start to get to know him. We will see the place that housed him for two years and the people that cared for and loved him. We will get to know what he likes, what makes him laugh, and what makes smile.
Anxious. Definitely. We have major travel ahead of us and will experience all of these amazing moments in a new culture and twelve hours ahead of what our bodies are used to. We don't know exactly what to expect when we meet Kai. We have heard stories of quick attachment and stories of families where attachment takes much longer. Many parents have expressed that at times, while in China, it can feel like babysitting. Not all parents meet their child and feel the same types of emotion we do when we give birth to children. Kai is at a tender age where he is old enough to notice the changes but too young to understand or verbally process it. This will be major change for him. For almost two years, he has had the same routines, heard the same words, interacted with the same people. That will all change in an instant. Yes, kids are tremendously resilient, but it does take time. Soon, he will learn his new routines, get used to our voices, and eventually find joy and comfort in our presence! I think of Asher being thrust into a new family and culture and I can see how difficult that could be at times for a little child. The greatest gift we can give to him is our love, patience and time. We continually are reminded of the importance of managing our expectations-- for his sake and for ours!
As I have brought my anxious heart before the Lord, I have thought about my greatest fear. One fear is that he might not like me or attach to me at first. But can I honestly tell you my greatest fear? My greatest fear is that I could ever have a moment when I regretted this or that Kai could one day wish we never adopted him. In adoption, more than having children biologically, there is a greater sense of our efforts. We prayerfully chose him. We pursued a specific child.
With these deep, hidden fears, sometimes the real truths of Scripture feel like they fall short. Yes, I know God works all things together for good. Yes, I know that God is faithful. Yes, I know that He will never leave me. I have learned through this process what it looks like to lean into God with this kind of fear. Rather than dismissing my fears and trying to make myself believe truth more, I press into my Father. My greatest fears are not too big for him. He doesn't respond to my fear and doubt with distancing shame, telling me that I should be stronger. No, He draws me into His arms. He calls me to face my fears, sadness and doubt directly with Him, in His very presence. As I pour out my heart, I wonder, "What if Kai doesn't want us? What if, in a moment of exhaustion and despair, I wish I had never started this process?" He pulls me closer and says to me, "Even if Kai doesn't want you, even if you feel like you made a big mistake in all of this, my grace will be enough. I will be near. I will never leave you"
In the midst of our struggle with infertility, I read an article on Desiring God, "What if the Worst Happens?" It reframed how I approach my fears. I tend to rehearse a long list of what if's. As the list grows, my anxious heart swells and I often move away from God. When I honestly face my fear in God's presence, I can say with certainty, "even if the worst happens, you will be near." There is incredible freedom in this and it draws me into God's presence even deeper.
Recently, while praying through these fears in my heart, God recalled things that I have brought to him over the past years. My heart has been swarmed with anxieties.
What if we can never have more biological children? Even though we likely cannot have more biological children, God is so near. His love and presence in this barrenness is precious.
What if God calls us to adopt? Even as He has called us to adopt, His presence has been constant. He has ministered joy to our souls. What if we can't adopt an infant from Africa? What if we can't adopt a physically healthy child? Even as God has called us to adopt a toddler with special needs from China, He is empowering us.
Facing my worst fears before the Lord has brought incredibly deep closeness with Him. I am so grateful that I don't have to make myself believe truth more. I have tried that and failed more times than I count. No, He isn't asking me to try harder to believe. He is wooing me to His arms, calling me to share my deepest fears and the dark places of my heart so that He can grow faith, hope and joy in my heart.
It truly is His kindness that leads me to repentance. It is His patient, perfect love that draws me to His presence. Do you know the freedom of facing your worst fears with the Lord? There is freedom knowing that you don't have to make yourself fear less or believe more. No, turn to the Lord, allow Him to breathe faith and deeper trust into your heavy soul. We all have legitimate reasons to fear, but my God is by my side and that is the ultimate reason not to fear.
So if I see you before we leave for China, please excuse my fearful stutter before I tell you how excited I really am.