Monday, February 24, 2014

And you want another one?!

When I came out into the open about the calling Justin and I felt to adopt, I had no idea how people would react. Knowing it is really a decision that only affects our own family and people we see on a regular basis, I didn't expect much. Thankfully, most everyone has been very supportive, which is SO appreciated. I've had people praying, sharing links & great information, and just encouraging us.

But of course, there are those who don't understand. The ones who look at me like I have lost my mind.

I think they expect that someone planning to add another child to their family should have everything under control. They should never get impatient or frustrated with their children, have everything perfectly balanced. They shouldn't every look like a circus in the middle of Target, with the mom attempting to be the ringleader. (Not that I know from experience or anything.) "And you want another one?!" I hear as they watch me go through the crazy motions of trying to meet the needs of three terribly needy and sometimes demanding little people all at the same time.

The answer?

Yes. I want more kids. I love watching them grow up, I love cuddling and reading stories, I love the kisses and hugs and the insanity and bittersweetness of it all.

Most importantly, I want what God wants for me. I want Him to take my crazy little life and make it something that brings Him glory. Are there times I doubt God's calling for me? Absolutely. When I am cleaning up the milk and cheerios all over the floor while my kids fight in the next room and I lose it and yell at them because we had been trying to leave the house for the last 45 minutes...I can start to doubt. I'm not perfect. I mess up a lot, but that doesn't mean that God can't use me.

I know the comments and stories are meant to be helpful. It seems that once people know you plan to adopt, they feel compelled to share their horror stories with you. (I like to compare it to expecting a baby...everyone tells you the most terrifying and painful birth stories, as if you aren't scared enough!) I understand the intention behind it, I really do. People want us to know what we're getting into, that it's not all butterflies and rainbows. But trust me, all the horrible scenarios you have described are nothing compared to the number of ones I have run through my own mind. Yes, I am scared of the unknown. Aren't we all? But I have full faith that God will lead us down the right path. Fear is not a good reason to abandon God's will.

So yes...I know it looks crazy. But you know what? Not following God's calling on my heart is even crazier.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

"Your calling isn't meant to be easy"

Nothing seems to drain me like these foster/adopt classes. They are so full of great information, but a lot of it is very heavy and difficult to hear. Today, one of the speakers talked about brain development and the effects of alcohol and other drug use during pregnancy. It was SO informative! She even gave us a chart that explains each behavior, how it is commonly seen, and what the actual issue may be. For example: Not following directions - commonly seen as willful disobedience - actually can be a child's inability to connect the directions with actions, or they are unable to understand.

The second speaker talked to us about sexual abuse. It was disturbing, to say the least. Some of the examples she used from actual cases were so insidious and horrifying, I actually became flushed because I felt so angry. But it was necessary, and we learned a lot about how to handle children who have been sexually abused. The homework we have every week has been great in helping us really think about our own upbringings and helps us to relate to the children in foster care.

As far as adoption...Justin and I are still unsure of what God wants us to do. We are trying to focus on the step we are on, which is attending these classes. The information we are gaining has been SO helpful and will relate whether we choose domestic or international adoption. I do feel like the enemy has really been attacking us lately and it seems to be focused on the weekends and days following these classes. I feel like everything in the future is foggy and the only thing we are sure on is what is right in front of us. Maybe God doesn't want us to know which direction He plans to lead us, and that's ok. I love to know all the plans before they happen, but God certainly doesn't work that way. But that keeps us open to whatever is in store. It's been a great way to demonstrate our trust in Him.

A few days ago, an article from Relevant magazine showed up in my newsfeed. It was entitled "Your Calling Isn't Meant To Be Easy." The title says it all. I think inside I still believed the lie that if your are called to something, it will be easier for you. That if you are met with difficulty, maybe you "heard God wrong." But that is NOT the case! Yes, you may be called to something, and it may be hard, but God will always equip you. Most of the great men and women in the Bible encountered difficulties, some were even fearful or doubtful. But with the obedience of following their calling, they were able to carry out God's plans. THAT is who I want to be. I want to be faithful to His calling. No matter how crazy people think I am, or how much they try to talk me out of it.

"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" Isaiah 6:8

Right now, I am waiting for definite directions. But I am trusting that I am waiting for a reason. I trust in His timing.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Doubts & Trust

We had our first foster/adopt class on Saturday. It was mostly an introduction, they went over what would be covered in the next 4 weeks, watched a few (very) outdated movies, and talked a bit about how the foster care system works. A few things really stuck out to me, one being that they are very up-front about the fact that we as foster/pre-adoptive parents will be expected to communicate with and have at least some of a relationship with the birth parents. I guess I had believed that we would have limited contact. They also stressed that whether we are pre-adoptive or foster, we are all considered foster parents. It seems to me the only difference is that those who are pre-adoptive hope to adopt the child, while foster parents expect (in most cases) a child to be with them temporarily. I already knew this going into it, but DCF's main goal is reunification with the birth parents...the next being placed with a relative...third choice is being placed with a family in the system, such as us. At any time during the process to adopt the child, a birth parent or other relative could easily disrupt it. 

Does all this scare me? Totally. I still don't feel 100% that this is where God is leading us, but I am willing to find out. This is all way out of my comfort zone. I honestly can't even try to imagine what it would be like to love a child and have him or her taken away. I cannot comprehend it, but I feel it's fair to assume it will be incredibly difficult. 

Those things are ones that I honestly don't want to deal with. It makes me want to run in the other direction. It makes me want to re-think the entire adoption thing. If it weren't for how strongly God laid it on our hearts, I probably would have run away by now. But I know without a doubt that God has called us to care for orphans, and how can I not answer that call?

I know that God doesn't call us to walk the easy path in life. No matter what route we choose, adoption isn't going to be easy. And it's hard to say "yes" to something you KNOW is going to be challenging. This is where I lay myself down. I'm one of those living sacrifices that is always second-guessing and trying to crawl off the darn altar. That's just me! I know God is asking me to step out of the boat and trust Him. I don't know exactly where we're going but we're not supposed to know...or else why would we need to trust? 

This whole trusting thing has become a common thing for me, huh? :)

I am just trying to take as much from the class as I can. I know all this information will be invaluable for us at some point, so I absorb it all. Prayers are appreciated, that not only God will give us direction, but also that we will be able to find babysitters for the next 4 Saturdays of the class. It's not easy to find people willing to babysit 3 kids for 6 hours or more on a Saturday! 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Dying To Self

"Dying to self."That term sounds horrible but it doesn't even scratch the surface of how difficult the actual process is. There are some days my humanness wants to come out and take over. I certainly don't always feel like behaving the way I know God calls me to. Sometimes I don't want to stand up and fight the battles ahead, because I am worn, weary, exhausted. Sometimes the mountains seem too high. Sometimes I don't see a way around them and would rather curl up in a ball than climb them.

When I feel like that, and yet choose to get up and fight anyway...that, my friend, is dying to self.

Because this life isn't about me and what the world can do for me, or what God can do for me. It's about being instrumental in changing the world and reaching out to those around us. It's about saving souls, loving those in front of us. Doing something to have an eternal impact.

The dark moments when I yearn to just give up, those moments are when God's strength can really shine. Because I reach out and He grabs hold and somehow...I find the strength to keep going.