Many of you have asked questions about my last blog post, so...
How are you holding up?
Um, I'm not really sure how to honestly answer that question. I'm listening to a lot of Gungor and Laura Story's Blessings and similar songs in a playlist I made a titled "encouragement" long ago for such a time as this. I'm diving into the Psalms. I'm flipping through albums of memories from Zoe's adoption exactly three years ago and viewing each one as a stone of remembrance of what God has already done in and through our family and her first family.
Oh, and I'm eating all the things. I like to eat my feelings, and none of them have been healthy this week.
So if you're homestudy ready now, does this mean...?
No. Let's just stop right there.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the lingo, homestudy ready is an adjective used to describe an adoptive family who has been approved to adopt by a licensed social worker and who has the report - the homestudy - to prove it. That homestudy is used to evaluate a family's ability to be a safe, loving, and suitable adoptive match for a child in need. When prospective adoption situations arise, agencies and lawyers seek out homestudy ready families first, because having a homestudy is like putting your money where your mouth is - it means you aren't just talking the talk of adoption, but you're willing to walk the walk of being scrutinized and background checked and physically examined and having your children medically cleared and getting personal references and providing every imaginable financial detail and discussing any hard parts of your part and... well, let's just say it's a lot.
(Note: I'm not complaining about that. It's a lot because it should be a lot. When a child loses his or her first family - by choice or abuse or death or disease or poverty* or some other measure of brokenness - the next family to receive the child should be screened well so that the child doesn't have to experience any additional trauma. I'm all for homestudying the heck out of prospective adoptive parents. I'm just saying it can be a lot to open yourself up to, even with the best social worker.)
*Side note: poverty alone shouldn't be a reason for adoption because financial and social supports can and should be extended to try to allow the first family to parent the child. If that is truly attempted and doesn't work, then that means another reason is present in addition to poverty. But when poverty is the only problem, then the solution should be something else other than adoption.
When friends ask what's next for us if this adoption doesn't happen and we have a homestudy ready and we're already pre-approved for international adoption by US Citizenship and Immigration Services, they're asking if we're going to adopt a different child. The answer? No. Not unless God moves us in a way we're not expecting right now.
Adoptions fall through. We know that. But our family has never experienced an adoption failure before, and words can't describe this hurt. It's like having a miscarriage but the baby is fine, thank God, but you'll never get to hold and love and raise him like you expected so the loss and grief and sadness is still deep and profound. Loving someone else is always risky, and right now we're feeling too raw to even consider that sort of risk again.
We've said no before and had God turn it into a yes, so we'll see what happens this time. We weren't planning to adopt yet when my friend Georgeanna contacted us about Zoe and we weren't planning to adopt three at once or from Uganda at all until another friend shared a waiting sibling group with us, so we've learned to hold our "no" loosely. After all, we want to be faithful in all circumstances, not just the ones we choose. But for now, our hearts are with "Sam" and not ready to open up to any other children than him and the six God has already placed in our home.
How's Lee? How're the kids?
Lee is grieving hard too. From comments made to us in passing, we've realized some people assume I'm the driving force in our adoptions. That couldn't be more wrong. Lee and I are a team. I guess you could say he's the leader and I'm the mouthpiece. His heart is as 100% in this adoption as mine is.
We haven't told all of the kids yet. Some are too young to fully understand. The big girls do know, though. They say they won't be sad until they know for sure that he's going to be adopted by the other family. Patience says she's sure the other family is going to say no to the referral and then we're going to get to be Sam's family. I'd love for her to be right.
Do you think you might be able to adopt Sam after all?
I really don't know. I want to say yes. I want this to work out in the way we imagined. I want God's plan for this to match with ours. I want to be hopeful.
But hoping hurts right now.
So I'm not hoping. I am trusting:
that God is still God.
that God has a plan for us and for Sam and for their birth mother and for the family considering the referral and for you.
that God's plan is far superior than anything I could ever imagine.
that he loves me more than I will ever understand.
that beauty can still come out of brokenness.