Marc & I just returned from attending a mandatory adoption training all weekend with a small agency that will be conducting our Virginia homestudy. The training itself was good!, even having gone through an adoption in Texas already. Can I just say there is nothing, nothing like being around folks who just get it, too? All of the couples themselves had faced varying infertility problems and were eager to grow their family through adoption as well. It's literally like a little piece of heaven for me to sit among folks who themselves carry the same pain of infertility and yet share the heart for adoption! I loved being able to share our amazing adoption story, brag all about our birthmommy Megan, and to reflect on God's goodness to us in giving us Caroline. We also got the renewed excitement to bring in another baby (of whatever color!) into our hearts and home. Amazing.
What's not so amazing is now the search for another adoption. (on this end of it, at least.)
Soooo many thoughts pass through your head as you sit among eleven other couples, who are all wonderful in their own ways, that want the same thing you want:
To be picked by a birthmom.
In my sinfulness, I can't help but look around me as I'm enjoying my time with these great couples thinking, They'd make GREAT parents! or They're cuter than me-- surely they'll get picked first. (isn't that so awful of me?) And it's not like there's a ton of adoption placements at this place, either-- average is about 8 a year. Nevertheless, I know how some larger agencies tend to treat their birthmothers, and out of my love for Megan, I just can't sign up with a place that I don't feel has a heart for these girls.
So then I listen to a panel of birthmothers as they explain their particular reasons for selecting their adoptive family for their child:
"I do hair for a living, so hair is really important to me."
"As I was looking through the profiles, this lady's wedding dress was totally outdated."
"I don't know, I didn't have anything I was really looking for in particular, but I liked that the couple had a timeshare in the Caribbean."
Um, really?? And I'm supposed to think that I'LL get picked? I'm supposed to believe the God of all the universe is going to allow a young lady to fall in love with us & place a child with us simply by looking at a photo book of my life?? And if hair is important to you, well then, take one look at MY kid and you'll shut the book! Ugh, then every insecurity seems to crawl out of its hole...
Then I flip through the pages of sample profiles from previous adopting couples. Perfect smiles. Extended families that appear glossy and vacation in exotic places. Their homes all have huge kitchens with granite countertops and large, open floor plans with no clutter. Poses that appear so natural, yet so overly "perfect." All on a spreadsheet that is gorgeously put together with colors, design, fonts... So I've got to be a scrapbooking queen as well.
I listen to stories of adoptive couples who waited and waited to be picked. Some WERE picked, and then a birthmom changed her mind after the birth. Some waited over a year and a half, interviewing with birthmoms several times. Some couples got picked by a birthmom right away (and of course, confirming my fears, they were cute/attractive & had the killer profile album), and I know there must be still others who weren't there at all because they never got picked. Or they're still waiting.
I know many, many of our single students feel this same way as they hope towards marriage. Will someone ever pick me? I feel like I have to look perfect and feel the pressure to present an image of myself IN ORDER TO be picked. What if God's plan is that NO ONE picks me? they wonder.
Now, I know that Marc & I are blessed beyond measure, and I know that what we have to offer a child is worth FAR more value than granite countertops and exotic vacations (though heck, we're taking our kid to Australia! ha!). And I even know that we're not too repulsive looking and by golly, with all the pictures I've taken for this blog, I should be able to put together quite the spread.
But I don't know if what I can give to a child can be conveyed in a 15-page photo spread, you know? I don't want to be ABOUT material, visual, worldly STUFF. How do you show the depth of your heart through still pictures of your life? Will a birthmom be able to look at what's lacking (in our case, a head of hair, for example), and see the depth of our love?
Then just like there's no perfect church, there's no perfect adoption agency either. Little things I don't like and don't agree with. Alot of it stems from our state's adoption laws, which say that the birthmom cannot terminate her parental rights until 10 (!!!!) days after the birth of the baby. (in Texas, it was 48 hours, which worked out beautifully.) There's no taking the baby home from the hospital, and there's no chance of even being at the hospital, even at the birthmother's request.
Basically, I have to die to the fact that our second adoption experience probably won't be as amazing as the first one was. (unless we can find a private adoption situation through word-of-mouth somewhere... please continue to keep your eyes & ears open.) I have to grieve things that we LOVED with Megan won't necessarily be the case with adoption #2. That's hard. I know every adoption situation is different, but when your first one was unbelievable, there's probably no comparing...
So disappointments, insecurities, and wondering abounds in my heart. And so this morning, when my pastor started talking about how the Gospel is NOT about what a great record WE have and show to God for Him to "pick" us, but it's about God picking us even when we were unbelievable messes, I lost it big-time.
I'm entering what feels more like a scrapbooking competition that IS about showing off what a great record we have, hoping I'll get picked. (How backwards is this?!) And yet thankfully the Gospel is totally the opposite. Because when God looks through peoples' profile albums, the Gospel is that He chose to pick the WORST among us, NOT the glossy, attractive ones who have it all together!! As He looked at the apostle Paul's profile with a vocation of "killing Christians," He said, "THAT'S who I want to be Mine." Or what about King David, the adulterer?
You see, thankfully God doesn't care about hair or outdated wedding dresses. He wants the profiles of the WEAK, the WOUNDED, the FOOLISH, the BROKEN, the SICK, the UGLY, the POOR. That's who HE adopts as HIS children. (how backwards is that?!)
SO thankful I've already been picked.
"God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, 'Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.'"
-1 Corinthians 1:27-31