Because, to stay as honest as we've always promised you, that's what we wanted. Normalcy. No penny pinching, no sleepless nights, no doubts. A one way ticket to easy street. We earned it, right?
Yet tonight here we are, one month after our application approval to adopt our third child from China, because, truth be told, deep down that easy street ticket wasn't sitting well. Uncomfortable. A nudge that wouldn't go away. Wrong even.
As soon as we hit submit, we felt the familiar feelings of excitement and anticipation. Planning out bedrooms and sleeping arrangements (bunk beds!), who will travel (can we all???), and even what vacations will look like, ways we can cut costs and budget and look for support for this adoption.
Within a few hours though, a funny thing happened that I can't say I remember feeling before. All of the doubts and fears and selfishness that had made us say "Let's wait awhile" months earlier came rushing back with a vengeance, and so we decided not to say anything to anyone.
Do we still replace the 33 year old HVAC in our new home?
What about the flooring I wanted?
Can we still paint the walls?
What about our boys and their current medical needs?
What about our previous and various commitments?
How will we pay for this?
What will people say?
What will they think?
Will they even care?
If you're just tuning in, you'll quickly learn this is our third time starting the adoption process in three years. Everything was so new and exciting throughout the entire process of the adoption of our oldest son that it felt surreal, like a real adventure, from the beginning of our home study to landing at the airport.
The process of adopting our younger son was a bit harder. There were many roadblocks, delays, and changes to the program; yet, because of God's timing we ended up being grandfathered in, so that other than waiting for all the appropriate approvals, we were able to continue on and eight months after receiving our approval we welcomed home our next son.
Over the last two and a half years, because of adoption, because of our boys and their needs, because of our own heart change, we have felt aspects of our lives change and priorities rearrange and friendships evolve. It would be wrong to admit that we don't mourn what used to be, but if we hadn't said yes, if we had missed this, we would have not found a community of adoptive families that can relate, families that have been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt (and I mean that both literally and figuratively). Families that, by the time Judah came home just shy of two years after bringing home Jordan, had become the kind of friends we could text at 2am and they'd be up for a conversation.
Our tribe. Our village. Our people.
And so it was to these friends, both near and far, that we first tentatively spoke to about adopting again, to gauge their reactions, still with the intention of keeping this quiet to our extended friends and family because of our fears.
Who told us, when we asked what they thought others would think, "If people don't think you're a little crazy, you're probably doing it wrong."
They're so right. All of them.
Priorities: checked and balanced. We don't need new floors; we have a roof over our head and warm beds to sleep in. We don't need new furniture. We have empty spaces, but I'd rather those spaces be filled with little people and their things than with more furniture.
We have two boys with medical special needs, which means there will never be a "right time" to do this again. I'm a full time stay at home mom, and one of my main jobs is to keep our schedules up to date with all of our various appointments, procedures, therapies, and extracurriculars. Since I do plan to keep that position for quite awhile, it's a good thing that over time, I've even grown to love my new career. Although sometimes the everyday can be overwhelming, we take things as they come: day by day...and sometimes hour by hour.
We've learned and grown a lot over the last three years, but our biggest, greatest lesson that we keep being reminded of is that God is faithful. Let me be clear: I am not saying bad things don't happen, that loss and pain and fear are absent, but even then, at the core, we know He is still good. It's just as scary for us now as it was three years ago, to say "Okay Lord, You're in control here" and leave everything to Him: whether it be how we will be able to support the addition of this child financially or trusting Him with his or her medical need, or even knowing that He knows our son or daughter who we don't even know yet.
So we've decided we won't keep this quiet. We can't.
We do not want to lead with fear.
We will trust with hope.
Because even after all of our doubts and fears and anxieties, the God of 100 billion galaxies has walked with us every step of the way thus far.
For every time we said we can't, He said I can.
For every time we've said we don't know, He said I have a plan.
For every time we've said we're terrified, He said I am with you.
Make no mistake, we are not special people. We are quite ordinary, following the leading of our extraordinary God. And so, we will trust with the same hope and faith that's carried us thus far. We face many unknowns and uncertainties. We don't have a timeline. We don't know when we will be matched with our child or when we will see his or her face. We don't know his or her special need. We don't know when we will travel. The program has changed drastically from one adoption to the next, but we still believe a part of our family is still in China.
What we do know is that we have a village, a tribe of people surrounding us. We're asking that you join our tribe. We're launching a shirt fundraiser to help pay for our second agency program fee, with an explanation of how we came to arrive at this design later this week. Derek is hard at work making things in his woodshop to supplement our income, if you feel so inclined to buy. We hope to have a joint garage sale in the spring with two other local adoptive families, because we know we need community.
Most of all, as we have always asked you, please pray for our littlest person on the actual other side of the world and for that invisible red thread to bring us together soon.
Our little #weetaniithree.