I used to ask God frequently how anyone was going to take the ministry of Custom Made Kid™ and my passion for it seriously.
To those who had adopted, what did I know? If you know my story, I didn't go looking for adoption...in a way, it came to me. Granted, years of writing a blog about faith and infertility was a channel God used to open the door to it. And granted, I'd already begun to attend classes at my local foster care agency. But once the opportunity did present itself, it was a whirlwind. 15 days from the time I heard about my (now) daughter, I became a legal guardian. The process took much longer and had moments that were so scary it took my breath away and my hair literally fell out. But it worked.
To some, one might argue "of course she loves adoption, it was easy for her." Not true. There's a lot that went on behind the scenes but, what is true is, at that time, I'd never had a failed adoption. I'd never loved and lost or spent my hard earned money and lost it all. I'll be the first to acknowledge, it's not always quite that way.
To those who have the biological ability to get pregnant or those struggling with infertility (and who long for biology over adoption), how could I possibly get them to even consider adoption as more than someone else's path or simply a Plan B? Prior to actually walking the path myself, I'd been so limited in the way I'd previously viewed adoption. 😞 Somehow, I had it in my mind that to concede to that path - or even the idea of it - meant God was clearly telling me "no" to a dream I had of carrying a baby and having that experience. It meant I would never know what a mixture of myself and the one I loved might look like or how they would act.
At the time, I saw it as falling short of a full experience so I did the proverbial close my eyes, plug my ears, and chant "la-la-la" when I'd feel the whisper of God in my spirit say, "I've got something great for you...". In my mind, it was EITHER / OR. Never AND. If I said yes to one call (adoption), I gave up a dream (biology).
Man, though, was I wrong. I don't know about you, but I serve an AND GOD. An "all-this-shall-be-added-unto-you" God. Saying yes to adoption and giving a child a chance at love and life and to be celebrated did not mean my ovaries would spontaneously explode!
Side note: Why did it never occur to me that saying yes to adoption did not mean my biology was DOA? Why did it not occur to me that instead of the longing and tears and pain I could be experiencing the joy of pouring out my love on another person? I could be living the beauty of motherhood instead of watching it happen to others from the outside. Adoption did not mean "No." It simply meant this was Destination 1 on my journey. Destination 2 was TBD.
When talking to biology-capable people, I confessed to my Father my fear that, while they were maybe polite enough to listen, they would constantly be writing my passion for adoption off. After all, it was all I knew. In their minds, I'd never experienced biology so how could I get it? I was only seeing the world from one side.
And then the foster world...again, what did I know? I hadn't ever opened my home and heart up to a child that I would likely lose. I didn't know the joy of giving a child "foundation" - both emotionally and spiritually. I didn't know the pain of sacrificing the ease of my circumstances or dealing with the brokenness of a child who has experienced neglect or abuse or limitations of some sort. I couldn't possibly understand that level of service to another. I didn't know the pain...the pain of losing a child.
Well, I do now. I've fostered, sacrificed, fallen in love, been asked to adopt, and then ultimately, when they changed their minds (on more than one occasion), had to hand this child back into someone else's arms. I still think of that little boy daily. Pray for him daily. Wonder how he is doing and how well he is loved. Long for him. Daily. Even while parenting a five and a half year old and being 28 weeks pregnant, I miss him.
Finally, I feel an immense respect and tenderness to parents who have lost a child in general. Not just to a failed adoption or a completed foster situation but just the reality of a life cut too short. To those who have experienced such pain, I don't know how you do it.
I'm not afraid to be written off anymore. When I worried and prayed and asked God how to address these "deficiencies" in my ministry, I had no idea what I was asking. In order that I might better reach people for His Kingdom and, in His own perfect timing, He answered. I know what adoption is - the beautiful and the broken parts. I know what biology is like - the beautiful and the wearing parts. And I know what orphan care is - the worthy and the soul-crushing parts.
My journey isn't over and I will never arrive. I won't know what I don't know until I know it. But my heart is open. My spirit is willing. I have offered Him my blank check and it's been an amazing journey to watch Him "cash" it. I serve a God who can use my words and this mission I feel called to whether I'm fully ready or fully capable or not. He is an enabler and I am the enabled. He created our hearts, He can open whoever's heart He chooses to for this calling on their own lives.
Through experiencing these lessons and enduring these particular moments of joy and moments of pain, there is now greater passion and deeper purpose. I, undoubtedly, have a lot more to experience and, thus, learn. Each day, I'm developing a greater understanding of God and am better able to perform the duties of why I was put on this earth. I'm one little voice.
And for now, that's enough.