I’m a member of the CFA – Control Freaks Anonymous. I’m a reformed Type A, goal-seeking, OCD stress ball. (Don’t you love all those labels?)
I should actually say reform-ing, because I am always a work in progress. But I HAVE made progress, and oddly enough, one of the scariest, most life-changing events led to my biggest success in this area: adoption.
I grew up with mostly positive perceptions about adoption and a heart for God. Rescuing a child in need and raising him/her as my own was a dream of mine from a young age. So as I came across articles, stories and people, I filed away information over the course of nearly two decades before I actually BEGAN the process of adopting. I knew what I wanted, what I didn’t want and how I thought it needed to play out.
Paperwork? Easy. I had a file for everything, totally organized. No one could move fast enough to keep up with my schedule. I was like a bull in full charge. I WANT THAT BABY! When the Army moved us in the middle of the process I nearly had a stroke. We had one failed adoption attempt, where we chose to walk away, and part of our reasoning was because everyone else was dragging their feet and we were in a hurry.
We moved and started again but because the process was so slow, they had to bump up our paperwork process to squeeze it in before my husband deployed to Afghanistan. I was often taken by complete surprise when told how long the next step would take. WHY DOES IT TAKE SO LONG?! I wanted to drag everyone through MY timeline to meet that next goal.
Stress and anxiety is such a blast, right? Who doesn’t love the sleepless nights, mini-panic attacks and binging on French fries to make you feel better?
Somewhere along the journey I began to think about what our child would be like. In adoption, you can choose so much. You can choose the family history, medical issues, color, gender! Choices are power! Control! YES!
NO. No, no, no. For the first time in my life I realized that I didn’t want that power. Choosing the perfect child for us was impossible. How could we possibly know their entire genetic make-up and predict their personality? How could we possibly know what our future held and therefore what kind of baby we needed now? We couldn’t. Ever. But God knew. He knew it all, every detail, even the ones we would never notice. My greatest desire was the perfect baby for us. So I let God have control. (Of course He always has control, but we like to pretend it’s the other way around, don’t we?)
Scary? Actually, I don’t remember ever being scared. It was much more like that peace people talk about. I had never felt anything like it but I chose to trust Him every time discontent or a worry popped up. I had to fight my natural instinct to attack the problem and solve it or freak out about it if I couldn’t. I had to let God have it. Every time.
With every bill that came, I knew He would provide (He did. Three separate times). When our wait seemed to drag on forever, I reminded myself that only He knew the right time, and since I wanted that perfection, I could wait. (The details that God worked out behind the scenes before our daughter was even born were amazing!)
When we told the adoption agency our “desires” for our child, it was probably the shortest list they had ever seen. They were shocked at how open we were to whatever child God had in mind for us. Gender, race, medical disabilities – we said yes to nearly every circumstance. We trusted God would know what we needed. They predicted we would get a placement quickly, but that didn’t actually happen. God needed us to wait.
In the end, when the entire process was over and my daughter was in my arms, it was the biggest pay off to my journey that you could imagine. I didn’t just give up to God what I couldn’t control, I gave Him even the things I could. Step by step, I chose to FULLY trust. And I was HUGELY rewarded. Every prayer answered. Debt-free adoption. It was life-changing.
Every time I look at my daughter I’m reminded of the blessing of faithfulness.
Based on this experience, I’ve applied the same techniques to lesser periods in my life and the blessings keep on coming. I’m becoming the cool, calm, totally at peace person I never thought was possible. My friends and family are like “Where is Kathie, and what did you do with her?”
Adoption is not just stressful for the adopting parents, but also the social workers, birthparents and those precious children. Couples, especially women, going through the adoption process have a bit of a reputation for throwing temper tantrums at their social workers. Don’t be that person. I know I was a blessing to so many going through this process with me because my mind was on God and not on ME. Continuing this focus while living out our open adoption has continued to bless myself and our birth mother.
I challenge those going through this process to focus on Him and TRUST. That is how you prepare yourself emotionally for adoption. That is where you get the peace you truly desire while you plan, wait and dream. That is how you get the perfect child for your family. God created each of us, He created adoption, and He is the best at making families. Let Him do it while you sit back, relax, and pick out nursery colors.