I wrote this letter at the end of 2018, as I reflected on how far we'd come in a year. I'm sharing it again, as we are knee-deep in the adoption journey once more and battling the very same fears of the unknowns and knowns.Dear Year-Ago Self,It is the end of 2017 and you are staring at a new year full of unknowns. You are elbows-deep into dossier paperwork and up to your eyeballs in emails. You don’t know which paper to start working on, which appointment to start making, and which email to start responding to. And you are afraid. Afraid of the unknowns, like your son’s possible medical needs, and the knowns, like the dollar amounts next to each step in the adoption process. But, oh self, I wish I could fast forward time to let you see a glimpse of December 2018! I wish I could tell you that you will literally laugh at your fears in twelve months from now and that your only regret is that you wasted so much precious time and energy fearing the ominous “Goliath” you’ve concocted in your mind. And I wish you could know you that this “Goliath” will turn into the most adorable little boy you’ve ever seen. As you kiss his cheeks every day and hear his sweet little voice say “mama,” you’ll just smile and ask yourself, “Why in the world was I afraid of this?” But right now, right now you are consumed with an almost paralyzing fear. Fear that this unknown“Goliath” will somehow destroy your finances, your family, and yourself. But, just hang on, you don’t want to miss this.
"Mom, can we adopt the loneliest boy or girl in China?"
I turned from making dinner a few months ago and ran over to our precious daughter coloring at the table. There will be so many moments I'll forget about this adoption journey, but that question. Never.
"Yes, of course sweet girl. God will show us who the loneliest little boy or girl is and He'll bring him or her into our family."
"Mom, come play with me!" I heard a little voice plead from the backyard.
"Sorry, honey, I can't. I'm busy," I responded. Again.
Some days, that's all I feel like I say. Busy with adoption paperwork. Busy with grant applications. Busy with business work. Busy with working to make extra money. Oh, and then there's cooking, cleaning, doing the laundry, and the list of endless chores a mother juggles every day.
The adoption process is hard and it takes tolls on your body, just like pregnancy. But the difference is the tolls are invisible. You can't look at a woman and say, "Wow, you really look like you're adopting!" Or "Adoption looks good on you!" (But I'm actually glad no one comments on my appearance these days, because if they were honest, they would probably say, "Wow, you really look tired!" Or "Adoption makes you look exhausted!")
What's the scariest word in the English language?
Sky-diving. Bungee-jumping. Crocodile-wrestling (or "wrastling" for our Texan friends).
Yes, these might be some scary feats, but we believe that the scariest word in the English language is also one of the shortest and simplest: yes.
Y.E.S. Yes. Really?
What did you do for your 14th birthday?.Did you have a party, cake, gifts? A singing family surrounding you with love on your special day?.Honestly, I don’t remember my 14th birthday (I must be getting old!), however I do know without a doubt that I was enveloped with love, support, and most assuredly a chocolate cake and ice cream on my special day..I know this isn’t the case for everyone and I am very blessed to have a loving family who has always been there for me. There are so many precious souls who go year after year without their special day being celebrated. And some, like those sweet ones in China, view birthdays with fear. Each year brings them closer to that dreaded birthday: fourteen. If they do not have a forever family by age fourteen, then they can no longer be adopted.