Sunday, August 28, 2011

My Other Kids, Part One

I've always known I wanted to adopt someday, but life got in the way and years went by and the dream began to fade. I've felt for many years that I wasn't done having children (although the biological kitchen was closed), so the fading of the dream hurt. It has been a grieving process, for sure, one that I haven't spoken (or written) of much at all.

Although Andy has mentioned it occasionally over the years since our original pre-marriage, late night conversations over coffee, it has never really looked like a reality. Adoption into a two-parent home is a two-parent gig and we would both need to be passionate about it to make something happen. Last year Andy started to talk about it more often, but not very seriously from what I could gather. For me, it was only enough to open up my wound and make it raw once again.

My dear friend, Nance, started an adoption support group at our church. She has adopted many times and, knowing of my interest, tried frequently to engage me in conversation about the services this group could provide to a family like ours. It was all I could do to listen to her without bursting into tears. I couldn't dialogue about it at all. It hurt too much. I was fairly convinced that I wouldn't ever get to adopt. I knew it wasn't a pain like those who have no children at all. I have two wonderful kids already, for whom I am grateful, so I decided I should just suck it up and learn to be content.

Earlier this summer, Andy talked a little more about it, but again, not in a way that I felt would actually move us any closer to seeing it happen. It kept coming up, though, all around us, everywhere we went. As much as I tried to stifle my feelings on the issue, the pain and longing only grew more intense.

A few weeks ago, I finally realized that the stifling wasn't working. I let my husband see my heart.

He took me seriously and his own passion, which I didn't realize was smoldering right under the surface, was fully reignited. We began to do some research and talk through just exactly it would take for us to be able to adopt. I felt an unfamiliar flutter of hope begin to stir within me, but it frightened me a little.

Today after church, Andy surprised me by calling a family meeting. We've talked about adoption before, but this time was different. We sat out at the picnic table on the deck and Andy asked each of the kids for their honest opinions about adoption. Both were whole-heartedly in favor of it. We found that all of us wanted to find and bring home "the rest of our family." All of us wanted a sibling pair, a girl a little younger than Ellie and a young boy, perhaps four to seven years old.

As the conversation went on, Tano began to refer to his brother-to-be as Little Man and said he intended to call him that for a nickname. Although we had offered to figure out a separate bedroom, Tano insisted that he would want to share his room with Little Man to help him feel more comfortable and secure, at least at the beginning, since it would probably be very scary for a little guy to get thrown into a new family and have to sleep in a big room all by himself.

Ellie declared that she hoped to share her room with her sister permanently and would sleep on the floor, if need be, to make sure her sister had a bed. We assured her that we could invest in bunks. How would it be decided who got the top bunk, she wondered. I shrugged and waved my hand dismissively. "You two girls will have to fight that one out." I thought Ellie might burst with satisfaction, her grin taking over her face and her green eyes twinkling at the thought of having a sister (a SISTER!) with whom to work something out.

We prayed together out there on the deck today. Everyone took a turn asking that God please complete our family. When it was my turn, I wept with joy as I prayed for my other kids, the kids I've never met. The years of longing, of grief, of hopelessness seemed to vanish. Then I prayed that God would protect my children while they are somewhere out in the world away from us. At this thought, I cried tears of concern and anguish. My kids were out there! They were possibly hurting and I couldn't scoop them into my arms! My kids! Oh, God! My kids! I'm crying again, even writing it.

God will do this thing, I'm certain. Why would He give us all a similar passion for adopting? Why would He give us all a peace about the exact same scenario, a sibling pair of a boy and girl, one quite young, and one close to Ellie's age? Why would he fill my heart with such amazing love for these children so immediately that I would weep at the very thought of them being out in the world without their forever family? God has children for us. We will meet them in His timing. The details of the financial picture and the home study and the termination of parental rights and everything else will be worked out.

My other kids will come home.

For now, I will pray for them. I will pray for guidance for us and for the agency we eventually decide on. International? Domestic? We don't know. I told my friend, Nance, about our conversation today. She is excited, of course, and full of resources to help us. She said that we have just picked up one end of a long thread and that our children are at the other end, but it is our job to begin following the path of the thread, not knowing where it leads, but trusting God to give wisdom as we follow, hand over hand along the thread. I cried again as she and I talked. It has been an on-and-off phenomenon all day, as if I were exceptionally hormonal prior to the start of my menstrual cycle or as if I were pregnant.

I guess I am pregnant, in a way. Today, sitting around the picnic table on the deck, something big happened. Children were conceived in my heart today, and I am flushed with love for them.

So here we go.


Jeannie said...

A beautiful picture of your heart, Sherry! May God's richness bless you in this wonderful way!

I am already praying for this and eager to meet my other grandchildren.


Sharla said...

I can so relate to so much of what you've described feeling. I knew that I had a child in Africa (it turns out I had two there!), but at first, my husband didn't have the same conviction and it was so hard to wait. I also know what you mean about feeling that intenseness once you realize that your children are already born and out there in the world and may be hurting or going through hard things without you there to protect them. You can protect them through prayer though.

I'm so excited for you! If you ever have questions about adopting older kids or different types of adoption or anything else I can help with, please let me know. Nothing makes me happier than knowing that kids who need a home will find a family!