Hope Is Slow: The Story of Adoption: Part III

Hope Is Slow: The Story of Adoption: Part III

If I’m honest, (and I’m going to be), I have been waiting since day one for the bottom to drop out of this adoption thing. Every time an email showed up in my inbox from the adoption agency, I braced myself for the news that for whatever reason we would not be able to move forward.

There is trauma involved in a terminated adoption.

But every step of the process was smooth. It was like floating out on the ocean on a calm morning, the water smooth as glass all around us, sun warming our faces. Each stroke of the oar pushed us further along without the glimmer of a wave to hold us back.

It was a bit unnerving.

I knew it couldn’t possibly remain so smooth. It’s not just the unpredictability of adoption that threatened to shake us. It goes much deeper than that.

Adoption is spiritual.

The battle for the life of a child begins at conception. Satan hates children. Their vulnerability makes them an easy target. Christ Himself esteemed children in a day and age when kids were not considered a commodity, but rather a property, good only for extra help around the home and the farm.

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14

Children are the least of these. They are blessings and gifts, and they will always be in the crosshairs of the spiritual war we battle in this fallen world.

And the fatherless? Well, what better way for the devil to wreak havoc on a desperate and deprived world than to make sure children never find the security of a family?

Walking in faith toward adoption is a step onto one of the greatest heavenly battlefields, and there are bound to be repercussions.

The chaos in my dream was more than mere coincidence. It was more than the result of sleep deprivation and a movie. The chaos in my dream was a true representation of the battlefield we are traversing.

In the last few months, it has become more apparent to me than ever that we are under spiritual attack. From a hole in our roof that we can’t seem to get a roofer to replace, (we can’t even get anyone to call us back!) to a car accident, to tensions inside and outside our home, to a very bizarre glitch with the immigration code given to our adopted son that threatened to set us back months in going to pick him up.

I can easily wave all these off, pushing them aside as merely coincidental. We should have called a roofer months ago before the rainy season hit. I should have kept my eyes on the road instead of glancing at my daughter’s new ring. We just need to slow down and take a breath. That immigration coding issue could happen to anyone.

There is truth in all the above statements, and I’m certainly not one to look for the devil beneath every rock, but I also believe that satan wants to throw everything into chaos so that when we pick up our son, we are already worn down, beaten, stressed, and at odds.

We are on the bus, looking out both windows. Panic ensues. The world around us is in chaos, burning, tilting, crumbling.

And then someone hands us a child.

I think there are spiritual implications to my dream, and I’m not taking it lightly. I believe that the child represents our adopted son. Every time I held that baby in my arms, the panic and fear I felt abated. A calm washed over me, despite the fact that the world continued to rage.

Despite all the craziness that has been tossed at us these last six months, I don’t for a second doubt that Sawyer is meant to be our son. And so, despite the fact that water keeps dripping into my walls, my car is still in the shop, and the general feeling in life right now is we’re a half a step behind everything, I feel peace when I remember that this little boy is worth every battle.

Beyond that, it is apparent that the child in my dream is a representation of Christ Himself. The two are connected, our Chinese son and our God. Clinging to Christ is the only thing that makes the chaos less…chaotic.

We are in a battle, a war for the ages. Satan wants nothing more than to destroy this adoption, and why?

Because it is a picture of the gospel. It’s a picture of what Christ has done for us. It’s a picture of Christ Himself.

There’s nothing special about our family. We aren’t better than anyone else because we chose to walk this path. We aren’t stronger. In fact, we feel anything but strong right now.

But though the world rages, though the battle grows fierce, though the waves rise, interrupting our smooth as glass ride, though the roof above our head lets in the rain, though the path feels unsteady, still we take tentative steps forward, obediently walking toward not just a call but a command.

“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God is this: To visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” James 1:27

We believe Sawyer is worth the fight. We believe our four biological children are worth the fight. We believe that Christ is the sustainer, the protector. We believe that the world will keep raging, but our hearts don’t have to falter.

In roughly two months, we will pick up our son. This isn’t the end of our adoption story.

It’s only the beginning…

 

 

On Nighttime Fears, Peace, and Birthing a Squid

Lee and Kelli-11

Picture by Lulu Photography

As we close in on the due date, sleep is naturally elusive. Thanks to the heat, I am swollen and uncomfortable, and I am apparently carrying a tiny little radiator because I cannot cool off to save my life.

Incidentally, I also told my midwife yesterday that I think I might be carrying an octopus because I swear there are eight legs kicking me from every single angle in there. She was a new midwife. She doesn’t get my humor. She told me I probably wasn’t carrying an octopus.

If I birth a squid she will be sorry she didn’t believe me…

With sleepless nights come some unreasonable emotions. Being that this isn’t my first rodeo, I know what to expect, and I am offering myself a little bit of grace these days as I prepare to bring our baby girl (octopus?) home.

The other night, I woke up at 3:30. This is par for the course, but as I tossed and turned, a nagging worry began rolling through my heart. It bubbled soft at first, then quickly grew until I was in full blown panic.

Usually I wake up because the baby is playing Tetris in my ribs. This time, however, I noticed that I couldn’t feel her moving. She was very still, and that is unusual. Suddenly the silence of the night and the darkness that surrounded got the best of me, and I feared the very worst.

I never worried about losing a child in utero with my other three. Of course I knew it was a possibility, but I didn’t exercise a lot of mind power on thinking about it, because I didn’t really think it could happen to me. I also had never read a blog, nor been on Facebook the first three times I was pregnant.

I birthed my first three children in the dark ages. We were still using film (FILM!) when Sloan was born.

In the six and a half years since I last had a child, I’ve read countless heartbreaking stories of families losing children late in their pregnancies. It’s much more of a reality to me now and, naturally, more of a concern. I know I don’t need to worry, but again, darkness and fatigue are a wily combination.

I finally got up and drank a little orange juice, then pushed on my belly a little until I felt her shift. She’s not moving as much as she used to due to the fact that there is no more room in there. The Inn is full! It’s time to move on, little one. Thankfully, the shifting set my heart at ease long enough to let me go back to sleep. But the fear was waiting for me when I woke back up.

Having already walked with my older kids through a terminated adoption, I feel more emotion than I know how to communicate at the idea of them experiencing another loss. It nags in the back of my mind, and as I wake each morning I have to lay all those fears to rest. Already, before she’s even born, I’m relinquishing the control over her tiny little life. She is not mine, but merely a gift from God. I will trust Him, and I know I will continually have to lay down this fear throughout her entire life.

I know, because I have to do it with the other three.

I know, because I still pray for the little girl sitting in an orphanage in Russia who had a family ready to meet and love her.

Part of being a mother is dealing with the natural worry that comes with the territory, and with the onslaught of stories passed down through social media, we’re faced with the reality of those worries on a daily basis. So each day begins with a prayer for their safety, and with the relinquishing of control, because I am not in control.

I spent a little time in her nursery this morning. It’s peaceful in there. The colors are soothing, and the room is clean (for now), which makes it the only clean place in the house (for now).  As I sat on her bed, I felt her shift and move again, and I was grateful for the reminder that all is well, and I am not in control.

God has been Gracious and Merciful to our family over the last three years. They have been hard years, but He has been faithful. I am trusting in His Grace and Mercy to bring this little girl (squid?) into our family safely (and soon! Oh please, soon!). So when the darkness closes in, and the world becomes still (too still), I will embrace the knowledge that He is Gracious, He is Merciful, and He is in Control.

And I will quit complaining when she jabs me in the ribs, because that feeling is evidence of the blessing.

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