We are entering the last few weeks of our homestudy process. It has been over one year since we first saw the biographies of the two boys who captured our hearts, and almost a full year since the day we submitted our first bit of paperwork and started our foster/adoption training through DHS. We are also two days away from the due date for baby we lost 2013. While Kyla was not the reason we started the adoption process, we cannot deny that her life played a role in prodding us forward. This was always something we felt we were called to do, but it took miscarriage to open our hearts to pursue it now.
I think the momentum of time passing on our road to “Gotcha Day” is making me a little more introspective lately. I can admit that a small part of me at times has wished we would not pass our homestudy. I have never been one to embrace change eagerly; and it would most certainly be easier if we could just shrug our shoulders and say, “well, we tried.” Fortunately, most of me is yearning for the two little boys who are waiting (we hope) at the end of this — little boys who need the love and the nurturing that we can give; and when I think of how bad things are becoming in our nation economically, morally, racially, and spiritually, the only thing I want to do is whisk “our boys” (as we have come to think of them) under our roof where we can offer a modicum of safety.
I want you to hear me with an open heart, to listen without defensive walls. Part of what makes me the most nervous about this process is you. Well, maybe not even you, but it is surely someone you know. It is the person who raises an eyebrow at a third pregnancy, and outright sneers at a fourth or fifth; the person who thinks it is perfectly acceptable to expect parents to find a babysitter instead creating child-friendly events. It is the person who sweetly insinuates that if parents cannot afford to give their children a specific standard of living (which almost always coincides with that individual’s particular life circumstances, incidentally) they really have no business welcoming more. Unfortunately, social media has given even greater rise to parent shaming. Hurtful remarks once spoken privately are now slung at random behind internet anonymity. Although I don’t yet have a large family, I know that opening our home to more children also opens our lives to more judgment.
Perhaps what gives me greatest trepidation about adopting is the feeling that I won’t be able to ask for help. Somewhere in our society’s journey away from God’s perspective about children, we’ve embraced the concept that a woman with one or two children deserves support but a woman with four or five doesn’t have the right to be tired because she knew what she was getting into. In fact, if we were honest we would admit to feeling that she should be punished with incessant exhaustion to teach her to stop having/adopting kids when she struggles to handle the ones she already has.
I like to think I am a pretty good mom, but there are days (weeks, even) when I feel like if I hear another hyper “Mommy, I” or “Mommy, why,” I will mail myself to Alaska; days when I wish I could have the luxury of using the bathroom without an audience knocking on the door. There are days when I do not want to kiss another pretend boo-boo or run to the rescue of a screaming child whose brother took away the car she had. There are days when the hours drag by and I stare at the clock willing the minutes away until my husband comes home to take over. There are days when I am sick of being climbed on, and I have to grit my teeth and smile through the fifth sticky kiss in as many minutes (only given, I know, for the excuse of clambering on me and not doing what I instructed them to do). There are days when I am weary of being followed from one room to the next, and if I have to pick up that same book or fold up that same blanket one more time so help me….
And I feel like right now it is okay to feel this way, even to express this feeling, because I have two kids and that is a socially acceptable number of children to have. But what happens when two becomes four? Or even more? What happens on the days when I am “touched out and talked out” and still have four hours on the clock before my husband comes home for dinner? Can you still pray for a mom of four? Can you still tell her it gets better? Can you remind her that her children are a mission field and that she is raising disciples? Can you assume that there are probably times where there is still a lot of month left at the end of her money and remind her that Jehovah Jireh is her hiding place? Can you listen to her frustration on the days she wakes up early for some quiet time only to have a child decide to wake up early too? Can you support that God may have led her on a journey He didn’t give you the grace to take, and bless her? Can you see past the fact that she “did this to herself” and embrace the masterpieces God has trusted her to shape, even on the days she does not feel she can herself? Can you see children the way Jesus did and feel compassion?
Because I can guarantee you that the Jesus who spoke through James and told us to profess our spirituality by tending to the orphan has a different opinion about children than most of us (myself included). And I can say with reasonable certainty that the mom of many is not looking to you to fix things for her, but to tell her things will be okay.