The Adoption Process: One Week In

* This post was written last November, when we first signed on with our adoption agency and I was completely overwhelmed with all sorts of emotions I wasn't prepared for. 

As I type this, I'm one week into being a PAP - a pre-adoptive parent. I didn't realize there was a term for me until someone just whipped it out on me during a phone call.

We signed some papers last week, put down a significant sum of money and suddenly, the process has started and I have a new title.

It was exciting at first, but fairly soon reality started to set and now I'm finding myself up all night thinking and worrying (read: completely freaking out) about the decision we've made. I know we feel called to this, absolutely, hands down, no questions ask, I know this is what's next for our family. But here's the honest truth, the truth I'm wondering if other PAPs feel on the daily once they take that first significant step to say, "We're doing this, we're all in." - I'm terrified we're making a mistake. That we're going to mess up our family by moving forward on this. I know that's frank, and definitely not PC, but deep in my core, that's everything my stress, worry, anxiety and freak out sessions boil down to.

I mean, not to brag, but we have a pretty good thing going here as a family of four: mom, dad, one boy, one girl - isn't that supposed to be the American dream? As I talk to more and more people and read more and more books and articles, everyone and everything talks about how hard adoption is, how much work it is to go through the adoption process, how expensive and time intensive it is. They tell you that many adoptions are unethical and total scams, and many people are left with the question if their matched child was forced from their family or if they were truly an orphan. (Just the idea of us adopting children that were coerced from their family absolutely makes my stomach turn - and makes me hesitant to engage in an overseas adoption - but that's another post for another day.)

Plus, they say once you cross the finish line of bringing your new children home, that's really only the beginning. Adoptive children require so much special care and attention: extra time for bonding, grieving and connecting with you, and they bring in many unexpected mental, physical and emotional needs that no one can truly prepare you for. Supposedly the first year (and maybe the second or third) is complete-family-lock-down-and-survival-mode. And even when you get through all that, even then - they say you never know when something might erupt - an adoptee's scars of injustice might open and bleed again at any moment. And in a transracial, international adoption, I know we'll face life-long challenges dealing with identity, heritage, and cultural differences. Plus, we have two biological children, which according to the experts - presents a whole additional set of challenges to deal with.

Is that - all that stuff up there - something I'm prepared for? Can I really handle that? What affects will adoption have on my biological children? Is this something I as their mother should put them through? Can we survive all this as a family? Are we just setting ourselves up for hardship and failure?

WHAT ARE WE DOING AGAIN?

These fears, these questions, they all feel so overwhelming and terrifying. My momma-bear instinct feels pulled in two, half of me saying, "No, no no! I must protect my bios! Adoption is too hard, too risky, too many unknowns and we shouldn't put our bios through this."

But the other half of me says, "No! We have been called! I know we have two more babies out there somewhere, and we must protect them! How are they being treated right now? Who's singing them to sleep at night and making breakfast for them in the morning? Do they have anyone that loves them now right now? Let's hurry up and begin! I don't care how hard this will be! They have been my children since the beginning of time, I need them here, in my arms - I MUST FIND THEM!"

It's been a hard week feeling this tug and pull. I have a feeling I'll be living with it for quite a while. But every time I feel overwhelmed by all work there is to be done, I remind myself of why our family is choosing to move forward with adoption: Because this is our call, this is our marching order from God - to care for the orphans, to rescue the helpless. And for our family that means tangibly rescuing two orphans and raising them just as they were blood, just as though I carried them for nine months, giving them all the same rights, love and care our biological children receive.

We will carry through with the risks of adoption because we know that God makes families in all different ways - race, location, age - they don't matter when it comes to a family. And now as a pre-adoptive parent, I know that my family looks like two colors, two countries, two cultures, two histories - all of our joys, sorrows, pain, grief and happiness mashed together for all of time with love covering our differences. And when you know God's plan for your family is for you to find your two children in another land, all of your fears don't matter. It's not that they go away, it's just you do what any mother would do and you fight to bring them home and make your family whole.

The truth is, I won't be able to do all that stuff up there - not well at least. But God is sufficient. He will carry us. It will be hard, but it will be good. And all good things are worth fighting for.

And when I truly think about it I know: What's best for my bio kids is what's best for my family. And what's best for my adopted kids is what's best for my family. All of my kids (and my husband and I!) will be better because of adoption. 

Let's do this.

Here's to starting the process and making our family whole.

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