I am wrestling with the Devil.
Oh forgive me for what I am about to write.
I am scared.
What in the heck are we doing?
Last night, by phone, I spoke with another fellow mother of a large family. I had met her briefly at my daughter's soccer game and found out that she too had nine children which included 3 adopted from Africa. I was intrigued by her and wanted to learn more about her situation. One comment the mother said that stuck with me was "There are so many things we would have done differently."
I had tried on several occasions to get in touch with her during a four month period with no response. Yesterday, I felt I would give it one more try and she answered. I asked her if she would mind if I probed her regarding her adoptions and what it was like to integrate them into her large family.
There was a silence.
Then she answered "Sure, but I need to tell you up front that we have disrupted the adoption. So, I am not sure of what help I can be to you." It took me a couple of seconds to recover....this wasn't going to be the "Go get'em, it's a blessing, can't imagine life without them." type of talk. Where could I go from here except to ask "What happened?"
What happened. She spoke of the ages of the adopted children not really being true and that the oldest was much older disrupting the birth order of her oldest son. She stated that the youngest was exhibiting strong signs of RAD. Then, the clincher, she talked of having 'left behind' all her other children for the sake of the two adopted ones that were challenging the family the most. She said when they were relinquished (the adopted children), she realized how much she was unaware of what her bio-kids were going through and how she felt she had neglected them. There were so many more questions I wanted to ask but felt inappropriate. I don't care who it is, relinquishing children is a heartbreaking decision and one that leaves wounds for all involved. I did not want to give the impression that I was judging her.
I asked if she had any regrets. None. Would she ever consider adopting again? Nope. Never. I desperately asked her more questions to see some difference between our family and theirs that would explain why a disruption might have occured. Not much. Although, I will readily admit I do not know this woman and her family very well, it occurred to me that....this could be us.
This is the conversation I went to bed with.
And the Devil began to wrestle with me.
Lord, what are we doing? Are we really hearing your voice in this adoption? With the court date looming, things are getting very real. We've never done this before. This other family swore they heard your voice too.....and now they're not sure. I don't even know these boys. I have no idea what kind of baggage they will have with them. Are we able enough?
I remember being in labor with my second child. I remember with each contraction, crying and worrying about what I was doing to my first by having another. Tears laced with these same emotions fell last night. I love my children so much....it would kill me to know I was hurting or neglecting them in anyway by adopting these precious boys.
The enemy had me in a headlock now.
Oh Lord, what are we doing? Are you behind all of this? Lord, I am scared. Please hear me. Is this normal?
You may be wondering why I am now just having these fears at this late in the game.....maybe even why I hadn't thought of these things before. Oh, I have. I just never let it rise to the surface to air. Purchasing the flight tickets brought to the forefront the reality of what our family was about to embark upon. This is really big.
And then I fitfully drifted off to sleep only to dream about meeting our boys for the very first time. We knocked at a door and the eldest answered. He surely did not look like the pictures I had been given. He was much taller than me, looked like a sumo wrestler and was wearing tribal gear. The younger one was just a "mini-me" version of his older brother. They had deep burly voices and were practically men. Don't laugh! Even though it seems funny now to post, it was really very, very upsetting! These were not the little scrawny Ethiopian boys smiling sweetly and wearing clothing too worn out and small for them on my computer screen at home. My husband seemed unfazed by their appearance which horrified me even further. All I remember from the rest of the dream was the blubbery "boy-men" hugging me and me thinking "There is no way on God's green Earth that I am going to adopt these full grown men!"
Devil throws me to the mat and pins me.
My husband gently woke me up out this nightmare. He wanted to talk as he knew I was struggling. He pointed out that we had an awesome family and that there were two boys out there that didn't have this. He reassured me that we could do this and that the Lord has blessed us and we shouldn't keep it all to ourselves. I needed his reassurance like water to a parched throat. I got up and spoke to God asking Him to speak to me too. And sure enough, in my quest to read through the Bible in a year, today's pages contained this verse:
8 And the word of the LORD came again to Zechariah: 9 “This is what the LORD Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. 10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’
I then referred to one of my favorites books of all time: Radical by David Platt He sums it up so beautifully, enough so, that it brought great peace to me.
"We say things such as, 'The safest place to be is in the center of God's will.' We think, if it's dangerous, God must not be in it. If it's risky, if it's unsafe, if it's costly, it must not be God's will. But what if these factors are actually the criteria by which we determine something is God's will? What if we began to look at the design of God as the most dangerous option before us? What if the center of God's will is in reality the most unsafe place for us to be?"...........
.......Radical obedience to Christ is not easy; it is dangerous. It is not smooth sailing aboard a luxury liner; it is sacrificial duty aboard a troop carrier. It's not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world. Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all these things. But in the end such risk finds its reward in Christ. And He is more than enough for us.
Smack down. Match over. The Almighty Wins.
In the last 24 hours, my convictions about this adoption had been at their weakest point ever....and honestly, they have never been weak until now. You have seen my weakness; you have seen my fears. It is all out on the table now. I am totally walking by faith now. I know there are no guarantees; I get this. But I am ready and I refuse to let the enemy speak lies that tie me up in his ropes of fear. I just plain refuse.
I promise you Lord, I will give these boys and this adoption my all. I promise I will not hold anything back fearing I will lose what I think is "rightfully" mine when it is not. It's all yours. Give me the strength and insight I need when I find it hard to keep these promises.
Lord, I'll let you do the wrestling next time. You have shown that you always win.