Me, Bret, and the kids took a 45 minute drive to Salinas this morning. The purpose of our little excursion was that Bret and I had to have our fingerprints taken as part of this adoption application process.
So, there we were, sitting in the sheriff's office waiting room, when she came in the door. She was, I'm guessing, in her late 50's although, she looked much older than she probably is. She approached the window and stated that last night, her son had been arrested. He had called her this morning and asked that she bring money to be deposited into some sort of account so that he could buy shoes. I'm assuming the jail doesn't supply shoes. She then asked the clerk if she was in the right place. The clerk assured her that she was. And then, the lady replied, "Ok, great. I was wondering if I would be able to find this place. After all, I haven't been in here in 15 years. The last time I was here, I was getting fingerprinted as I was in the process of adopting him. He was three-years-old at the time."
CAN YOU IMAGINE THE LOOK ON MY FACE RIGHT ABOUT NOW???!!!
Hahaha! Bret and I just looked at one another and then were forced to hold in every bit of laughter that was forcing its way out our mouths! We were thinking, "Would WE be here in 15 years putting money in a jail bank account for our future adopted child?!" After we left the sheriff's office, we had a good laugh on the drive home. We were thinking out loud, "Ok now. Lord, are you trying to tell us something?! If so, let's be clear about this!!" Haha! It seems we've had our very first official "scare" as perspective adoptive parents. We've already had many, sometimes harsh and rude, comments such as, "Why would you invite problems into your family?" or "Aren't you afraid you will get a problem child?" People ask these types of questions as if we haven't already thought about this! So I thought, this might be the perfect time to address your concern(s) about this (you know who you are).
We believe that all parenting styles are different and some are more successful than others. We intend to do everything in our power to rear Godly children. Children who are law-abiding, kind, considerate, thoughtful, hard-working, family-oriented, patriotic, responsible people. However, we also know that some parents do all of the above and still some children grow up to be quite the opposite. But when it gets down to it, I don't think it really matters whether a child is a biological child or an adopted child when it comes to *how* they are being brought up and trained. Each parent must do the very best they can, seeking God along the way for His guidance, and in return, the child who eventually grows up, must make responsible, smart choices for their life! At first, most likely for the entire first year and even beyond, we will go through an adjustment period. We anticipate it will be much like having a new baby. If you don't have children, you can't quite get what I'm about to say. However, if you do, you can understand how we feel. What I mean by this is that, much like waiting for a newborn baby, we aren't quite sure what we're going to get! Just as an expecting couple questions, "What will he/she look like?", "What will their temperment be?", etc. While the child we hope to adopt may very well come with some "problems" as the world has labeled them, we also believe that every single child can be healed almost (maybe not completely but, close!) with love. Not love in the sense of kissing, hugging, and providing for as far as material and biological needs. I'm talking tough, long-lasting love. Love that, despite those times when you want to run the other direction, comes looking for an opportunity to help heal. Love that, when you really want to give up, you pray, dig DEEP, BEG God for strength, and come back to face that obstacle that threatens to tear apart that which you are spending so much time and energy into building up and dedicating your life to. Love that, even when the rest of the world is telling you you are "crazy", keeps you focused on that which you are hoping to accomplish. We've been asked, "You already have 3 kids, why do you want more?!" Well, that's an easy one. Because we want a big family! We want noise. We want chaos. We want laughter. We want relationships. We want MORE than flashy cars that only seat 2-4 that are in no way carseat or kid-friendly, big houses filled with quiet and loneliness and useless and for the most part, unused furniture, lots of money in the bank to spend selfishly, and "successful" careers which do nothing but pay for all of the above which are not fulfilling in the least--only Christ can do that anyways! These *things* above can be enjoyable but, what good are they if you have no one to share them with?! What we do feel is this. We feel like we've been blessed tremendously and therefore, want to pass some of it on to someone else--and who better than a defenseless, helpless child?
It's especially hard when there are times when all I want to do is talk about this process with some particular people I consider "close" to me and yet, I can sense them doubting our decision about adopting. I can hear the negativity in their voice. I've even gotten comments such as, "Well, don't expect it to be easy" from them. As if we didn't already know this!? On the other hand, we have gotten some really incredible support! We are so encouraged by the kind words of well-meaning friends and family, mostly friends, which I find very interesting to say the least, and thank YOU (you know who you are!) for those sweet words which really mean a lot! We know this process and the years of adjustment to come aren't going to be a pleasant walk in the park all the time. We expect some sprinkles, maybe even a thunderstorm here and there. But at the same time, we expect there to be some incredible rainbows, some incredible growth in all of us. Just as storms bring a bit of wrath, they also contribute to life and growth!
As I watched that mom leave the lobby, I got to thinking about the future, our hopes for our kids' futures, present children and those to come. I could have left that place thinking, "That lady failed her job as a parent." But no, I thought, "At least she tried. At least she's STILL trying." Which is more than most people can say these days. What are you investing your time in doing? Is it meaningful? Does it benefit others even though it might cause a little inconvenience on your part?
Are you really truly "trying"? Are you getting out of your comfort zone? Are you trying hard enough??? Are you choosing a path in life and going down that path even when you feel like the world is against you or that the people closest to you (or so you thought) are doubting you and your much-thought-through decisions(s)? Do you continue to reach your goals or work towards it (them!) even when people are telling you you're "crazy"??? Do you have a passion for something or a desire for something and you're throwing yourself @ it and all you're hearing is, "Why?"
Then, welcome to my world. Is anybody out there???
(I want to add that, as each week goes on, I'm meeting more and more people who are feeling the same way I do. I've met lots of adoptive parents who said they got the same reactions that we have. How sad! :( How 'bout a little encouragement for these people who are trying to make a difference in the world??? But, it does make me feel a lot better knowing that I'm not alone! I'd love to hear from any of you adoptive parents out there.)