I remember the first time I ever heard someone from Lifeline talking to a prospective family about adoption. I thought to myself, “What are you doing, are you crazy.. you just successfully talked that family right out of adopting!” To my utter amazement as the meeting concluded the family appeared energized and excited. How could this be after a 30 minute diatribe of unthinkable difficulties for anyone who dare consider adopting a precious child from another country.
I quickly learned two things that day. One, adoptive parents are the most courageous, awe inspiring people in the world. Their heart for adoption is not a heart that is free from fear, but one completely resolved to the truth that there is something.. a someone..a child..their child, who is significantly more important than fear, waiting, expense, or the unknown! Two, I realized the importance of creating a proper expectation with families. The cold hard fact is that the selfless act of international adoption is tested long before you reach the shore of your child’s Motherland. I can assure you that there isn’t a GPS in the world that can guide you to the Promiseland of International Adoption, without having to first traverse what I call, “The Wilderness.”
The wilderness is a place of self discovery. One of the first things you’ll learn is that you don’t see things as they are. You see things as you are. The Wilderness becomes a mirror reflecting your deepest thoughts and motivations. I am continually amazed and grateful that this experience almost always makes a Lifeline family better, not bitter. Your child will not get the person you are today, but the one who is refined, even transformed, in the wilderness!
This is the place we truly learn, perhaps for the first time, that our lives and our adoption is a scared covenant with God. He alone sees, knows, and controls our course. I will tell you, just as it was for Israel in their journey, there is temptation in the wilderness. The fear.. the waiting.. the unknown...can grow into a dark and foreboding storm cloud. You can find yourself easily being overtaken by an insatiable urge to do something..anything..blindly driven by the feeling that motion is progress.
In reality, the most important thing is staying positive and staying on the path God has for you. I love this quote by Yogi Berra, “If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up somewhere else” You have a whole team here at Lifeline to help you keep you eyes, your heart, and your head on the Promiseland and not on the tumble weeds. If you get to a place where you feel so frustrated that you are going to burst if you don’t do something..do this..call me.
I can’t control our government and I certainly can’t control another country’s government.. but I can answer questions, remind you of God’s big picture in adoption, and pray with you! I won’t minimize or trivialize the frustration or even the pain you are experiencing as you wrestle with the unscheduled wait or the latest unknown. I will gently encourage you and keep you facing forward, so even if you fall its in the right direction. We have a whole team that’s got your back!
In closing, remember this..There will come a day when your rescued child will mature, setting aside the glitter and eye candy, so prevalent in America. They will look you in the eyes and ask you to tell them of the journey you made, the sacrifices you endured, the obstacles you had to overcome. They will discover that Heroes are not made on the “gotcha day” ..they are forged on the waiting days, the unknown days, the difficult and almost impossible days. And you will realize, as you have so many times along the way, the journey is worth it! Yes, there is a wilderness.. but looking into the eyes of your adopted child, you know there is a Promiseland!