"Why does this have to be so hard?"
As I shared in my last blog, our adoption journey has been brutal. While every adoption has it's challenges - ours has had 100 times our fair share. Our 4th agency (yes... we're now on agency #4) calls it a "traumatic adoption". The joys we've experienced have been minimized, and the pain and stress have been multiplied. There has not been one segment/season/step in our adoption that was completely enjoyable. Every good day has been quickly shrouded by a dark veil of bad news in some way, shape, or form. We have had more people praying for our adoption - all over the world - than I can count. They number in the thousands. And yet, we have seen very, very few specific prayers answered in any recognizable way.
I'd be lying if I said I haven't been mad at God. And I don't just mean a little miffed. I mean FURIOUS - shaking my fist at heaven, crying until I can't breathe, "I don't want to talk to you any more" mad. I actually spent a few weeks this Fall not going to church, because I just couldn't bear to hear others sing worship songs when I felt so forgotten by God. How could He answer other people's prayers and not mine? I get that He is not a "Santa Clause God" - but I wasn't praying for a shiny new car! I was praying - in accordance with scripture, after being obedient to His call to adopt, as the Holy Spirit prompted - for my daughter to come home. I didn't ask for an unrealistic miracle. I didn't request that somehow we adopt a beautiful Thai infant in a 6 month process. I just asked for a typical timeline - a 2-3 year process to adopt a child somewhere between 1 and 2 years old. Instead, we got an almost 5 year timeline and we have an almost 4 year old. And I am still deeply grieving the years we lost with our daughter.
It was in the midst of this grief and anger (and a season of "I don't want to talk to you God") that He decided to talk to me. It was mid-September, after all my faith for an "August" word was spent. I was brushing my teeth before bed one night when He began our little chat.
God started by reminding me of everything our daughter is about to lose. You see... the day we take custody of Kate is the day she loses the only home she's ever known, caregivers that she loves like family, children at the orphanage who are like siblings to her, her sense of stability, her language, her culture, and her community. Yes, it's true that she is gaining a family - and that is going to change her life forever! But to get a "forever family" - first she has to lose everything.
Our little girl is in a good orphanage. She is well loved and well cared for - and she has no idea that those caregivers (hired nannies and willing volunteers) are not her family. She doesn't understand what a mommy and a daddy are. She doesn't understand that right now - she has no family, no safety, no security, and no inheritance. And she won't understand when we take her - why she has to lose everything.
She won't understand that in the long run - it's worth it. She can't see that at 4 years old. All she's going to see is pain and loss. And she might hate us for it. Because from her perspective - we are causing her immense pain! And she can't possibly understand right now that it will be worth it someday.
It breaks my heart to think about what Kate is going to have to endure just so that she can have a family. If there was ANY other way for her to get a family - any easier way - believe me, I would take it (even if it meant us losing her). But her birth family is unable to care for her... and domestic adoptions (which would at least allow her to keep her language and culture) are not part of Thai culture. (As a matter of fact - even step children are often abandoned in Thai families because their parent's new spouse does not want to raise them!) International adoption is the only way for Kate to have a family. She will have to lose everything, to gain an unforeseen inheritance.
And when I realized that, it dawned on me. What if what I'm going through is for the same purpose?
This adoption process feels like it has cost us everything... and I don't understand why. From my perspective - it shouldn't cost this much. From where I'm sitting - there has to be a better way. In my finite understanding - I think God could have made this process so much easier.
But what if - like our daughter - we have to lose everything we have now, in order to gain something even better? What if losing what is comfortable and beautiful here and now - means that somehow we will gain an unforeseen inheritance?
What if walking through this FIRE is what it takes to get us to destiny? And what if there's something extraordinary waiting for us on the other side of these flames... but the only way to reach it is to walk right though (and maybe get burned in the process?)
Out of love for my daughter - I am going to put her through one of the hardest, most brutal transitions of her life. Out of love for her, and because it is the only way to get her what she really needs (a family) - she will lose everything that is dear to her right now. It is going to hurt her. But ultimately I will allow her to experience that pain - because I know it is what's best for her in the end.
So - what if God is doing the same thing to me? What if He is allowing me to experience this pain, because He knows it is what is best for me in the end? To Kate - us taking her out of the orphanage (and away from everything familiar) will not seem loving. It will actually seem cruel. And yet we will tell her it's because we love her, and we will ask her to trust us in spite of the pain. So what if all my pain - which appears to be cruelty at the hand of God - is actually done in love? What if there is incredible purpose in this pain?
God spoke all of this to my heart in the 5 minutes it took me to brush my teeth that night. I crawled into bed, and humbly revealed it all to Rusty though tears. I felt guilty for not trusting God. "How can we ask Kate to trust our love for her through her pain, when I can't even trust God's love for me?"
And then I realized something else...
Kate may actually hate us for a while when we first take her from the orphanage. She may scream and cry and kick and throw things. She may say awful, hurtful things in her anger. I actually know an adoptive mom who was bitten by her son just a few days after meeting him. I know another whose little girl screamed "I DON'T WANT YOU" to her face all day, every day, for weeks.
And you know what? If Kate does any of those things, I will understand. I will have compassion on her - because I know she cannot see how this pain could possibly be good for her. I will endure every hateful word, wipe away every tear, and comfort her through every outburst if I need to. I will sit nearby as she cries and whisper words of love all day, every day, until she believes them. Nothing she can say or do will ever make me love her less.
I believe it's the same with God. In the days when I have felt so abandoned... so betrayed - I think He understood. The days I've yelled and screamed at heaven - I don't think He turned away for one second. And the days I cried until I couldn't breathe, were the days that I believe He sat nearby and whispered words of comfort. I couldn't hear them at first, and once I heard them I couldn't believe them for a while... but still He persisted - undeterred by my fits of anger and sadness. Why? Because He knows this hurts, and I believe it breaks His heart to put me through it. But maybe, just maybe, He is willing to cause me pain for my ultimate good - and an unforeseen inheritance is waiting for me on the other side.