A couple of months ago, I asked my Facebook friends what they wanted to know about our adoption. Their questions were genuine and curious and I was happy to answer most all of them, because I truly believe that sharing our story will not only help educate people on international adoption but communicate the value and worth of these children who, by none of their own doing, have found themselves without a family.
Most were easy answers about processes and travel procedures...but there was one question I did not want to face.
"What are you most afraid of?"
At the time, we had just received our referral (had been matched with a child). I was so confident (and just plain excited that we finally had a darling face to look at)- I could have responded, "I'm not afraid of anything. I know God will work it out."
But in the 8ish weeks since- and in the interest of full disclosure- I've slowly sunken into a deep sea of fear, anxiety, and worry. And if I'm being honest, I'm scared shitless.
I don't say that term to be funny- I'm saying it because it is the complete and literal truth. I have actually had intestinal issues due to my stress level in the past several weeks, which I'm sure you wanted to know. I've also developed this reoccurring eye twitch, which is the most annoying physical ailment I've ever had. It's like a tiny stress meter that sits just under my right eye, pulsating at the presence of every anxious thought. Which, if you're me right now, is about every 3 to 4 minutes.
I've had moments where I just burst into tears. Moments where I become filled with anger and even vengeful (ugh, so embarrassing). I've melted into depressive states and ignored my husband and children for the perceived safety and darkness of my bed. Some of this is stuff that's normal-ish for me to experience on a monthly basis (if you know what I mean)- but what I want you to hear is that lately, it's been much worse.
I don't say these things to gain sympathy- if I'm being real, my pride doesn't want you to feel sorry for me. I'm sharing this, though, because it's therapeutic for me to write- and if by chance there is anyone reading this who wants to know what the "not fun" parts of this adoption journey look like, now you know.
So I'm finally tackling the question. What am I most afraid of? Here we go...
I'm afraid I'll have an emotional breakdown (or two or ten) during our trip to China.
I'm afraid that our new daughter will hate or resent me for taking her away from everything she knows.
I'm afraid that my child's special need will be more than I can handle.
I'm afraid that I won't be able to do three kids.
I'm afraid that my bio kids will have a difficult time adjusting or feel ignored.
I'm afraid that we will find out our child has additional special needs once she is home.
I'm afraid that I won't know how to respond to people's comments.
I'm afraid that I won't get any sleep.
I'm afraid that it will put stress on our marriage we won't be able to bear.
I'm afraid my child will not bond with me.
I'm afraid that we won't have enough in our bank account to travel.
I'm afraid that I will be completely debilitated and overwhelmed with anxiety.
I'm afraid that I'll lose friendships, business, or sanity because any amount of free time I have is about to be obliterated.
I'm afraid that people will see our long, messy story and choose not to adopt.
Some of these things will actually happen, and we will figure it out when they do. Some of these will not. Much of this is completely out of my control, which only makes my anxiety amp up that much more.
Most of the attacks I've experienced lately (which I do believe are spiritual warfare) have been specifically targeted at my abilities as a mother and my mental and emotional health. It's been tough to weed through the tall grasses of my mind to understand what is worth paying attention to, and what is just an attempt by the enemy on an already vulnerable space. Somehow, even though I've mothered two biological children, there is always that exception...I've never done this adoption thing before.
Targeting the lies and replacing them with truth has been a very slow and ominous process- one that sometimes I simply don't have the energy to pursue. But it's the only way out, and it's worth my effort.
We aren't finished with this journey yet, but here's what I do know:
God knows. Especially when I don't.
He has prepared a way. Every minute, tear, and dollar has been worth it.
He sees our girl. He's planned our future.
My daughter- though I have not met her yet- has helped me understand the gospel of Christ better.
Scripture says that He has overcome! Who can stop the Lord Almighty?
Not money. Not time. Not anxiety. Not physical, emotional, or mental sickness.
From the weakest and strangest place, I can tell you that this is a story of victory. Amidst all of the unknowns, I have a peace in my gut that says, "this is right".
So yeah, I'm totally scared. But I'm also incredibly excited. I can't wait to meet her. To love on her. To tell her she belongs.
There's nothing about me that's "handling" it right now and I'm expecting breakdowns (on my part for sure, plus at least a few from my counterparts). Dear reader, I need you to see that there is nothing extra brave or special about what we are doing- except the God that has orchestrated it all.
However, I can tell you that we'll be stepping onto a plane in a few short weeks, and doing the thing we've wanted to do for 5 years now. I don't know what it's going to look like necessarily, and that's killing me. I'm hoping I'll find some relief when we are actually GOING. But until then, it will be a day-to-day battle- replacing lies with the truth of scripture. Saying out loud the things that threaten to take away my peace and repenting from my unbelief. Hoping in Christ and practicing thankfulness.
Some scriptures I am holding on to:
John 9:3 (one of my favorite stories in the Bible)- "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
John 16:33- I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.
Deut. 31:8- The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
Psalm 68:6- God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.
Psalm 119:133- Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
Psalm 118:14- The LORD is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.