Over the next few days (or weeks, depending on how the Spirit moves) I will be doling out adoption related “FREE ADVICE” on the blog. Please keep in mind that, to date, we have adopted exactly ZERO children (though we hope that will be changing within the next 6 weeks) and while I will be sharing my well researched opinion, it is just that, my opinion. Well, okay, let’s keep it real. There will probably be a sprinkling of snarkiness. I can’t help it. Topics will include our adoption related experiences, your burning questions, and the occasional soap box. If you have a question or a topic you would like me to address, please leave a comment or send me a message on Facebook.
Ready? Here we go!
How will I know if a particular child is “my child?”
This is a hard question.
It is hard because a lot of you are not going to like the answer.
I have to offer you a reality check here, my friends.
So let’s just jump right in and get right to it.
You may not know beforehand.
You PROBABLY won’t know beforehand.
You may not even know when you meet him or her.
You may not know until that child has been home for quite a while.
That is the reality of adoption.It’s messy and unpredictable and scary. And it is full of unknown.
Our situation was UNIQUE, and I LOVE our story, but the down side is that it is NOT the norm. Please do not look to us as the example in this. I love that God chose to use the deep eyes of our boy to sock me in the gut and tell me that THIS was my son, but I do not ever want anyone to expect that their story should unfold the way ours is. If you are waiting for the light bulb moment, it is likely that you will continue to wait. Could God reveal your child through a photo? Certainly. Am I here to tell you that He won’t? Absolutely not; but I am here to tell you that you can not go into this expecting to connect with a photo. If that is what you are waiting for, please stop.
I know that it is hard to hear. I KNOW.
Yes, you will read many of stories of mamas or daddies who see a photo of their child and immediately just know. These stories are dramatic and romantic and powerfully moving– but there are far more adoptions where families receive a blind referral from an agency via email or meet with a government agent once in country. And there is great beauty in this.
I know that many of you are thinking this is hypocritical of me to say; that’s it’s easy for me to talk the talk when I don’t have to walk the walk, but the reality is that we ARE walking the walk. And it’s not easy.
After the Lord revealed our M to us, and after I had recovered from my massive freak out when my husband informed me that he felt we needed to pursue two children (I don’t think I shared with you about all of the crying that went on in our house during that time) we both began to try to figure out who our second son might be. We asked our agency, talked to friends who had been to orphanages, and searched a website that we knew had photo listings in an effort to make a connection with a child. We would look and discuss and talk and sort of pray about it – but try as we might, our child was not to be found.
We couldn’t agree on anything child related and argued every time we talked about it. From age to special need we could NOT get on the same page
And then it hit me – square in the eyes.
This was futile.
This is not for us to know.
Not right now.
Our job is to trust. To wait. To obey.
We are to continue believing that God has all of the pieces to this puzzle ready to go when the time is right – and that He has been and will be preparing this child for us and us for this child. He has the right people in place and will provide the wisdom needed when the time is right. He doesn’t need our help.
My life is so much easier since I figured this out. I can’t even describe you the level of stress that has been lifted (though I have managed to fill it with stress about other things…I tend to do that).
Matthew 11: 25-30
At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do. “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
As I mentioned earlier, there is a great beauty in NOT knowing anything about the child you will adopt.
There is freedom in trusting that God has it handled.
1. You heart will be open to surprises that God may have in store.
2. You will have fewer expectations
*even one photo can bring with it expectations of personality and back story – and if you know people who have met your child, even more so. Those expectations need to be tossed NOW. One must parent the child that they bring home, not the romanticized version created in our imaginations
3. You will be totally reliant on God to provide. Difficult? Yes. Beautiful? Yes.
And here’s a little more hard truth for you.
There are thousands, THOUSANDS, of children who will never be photo listed. Ever.
What about the amazing child who you are uniquely gifted to parent – but whose photo you will never see? What about the little girl tucked away in a remote area whose picture will never be available outside of her country? What about the little guy who was having a really, really bad day and is weeping in his photo? Who will come for these little ones?
There is no formula to help you discover the identity of your child, other than to rely on the leading of your Father. Trust. Obey. Pray. Go. He will provide.