I am a control freak.
Like, I’m one of those agenda-making, list-creating, color-coding, life-planning freakazoids. If I didn’t work, I’d be one of those crazy coupon ladies with floral printed organizers labeled by store and date.
I have always lived my life by my plans. Graduate with a full ride? Check. Fall in love with a manly man of God? Check. Move off to college? Check. Make awesome friends? Check. Have a fairytale wedding? Check. Live a few years in wedded bliss, purchase a home, travel, and get settled in teaching careers? Check, check, and more checks. Start a family? Hm. Here’s were my plans and God’s did not align so perfectly.
I always knew we’d adopt. It’s been a burden on my heart for as long as I could remember. But in my mind, it would have been something like this: married a few years, have a baby or two, then once potty training and other toddler obstacles/milestones were cleared, make way to adopt an infant, probably from another county. Nice and clean and organized plan, right? Ha.
Then came infertility and miscarriage and learning to trust like I’ve never done before. Somewhere in that, I realized I had to let control of my plans in becoming a parent. Never once, not one little iota, did I question that it was God’s will for us to become parents. But trusting Him in the how and when was hard, because the type of surrender it took/takes is tumultuous and precarious. It means completely taking yourself out of the equation. How, you ask? A mental conversation with God moment-by-moment, second-by-second. It’s growing so near to Him that you don’t know when your conversation with Him ends. It’s just like your life IS Him. Prayer isn’t mumbled daily in your head, it’s chanted in your very being. And the second you start seeking this closeness, Satan is going to want to jump right on your back. Set backs, trials, all have to be viewed as little blemishes in the big, beautiful picture. And you have to keep remembering that He will take care of it.
In the last few weeks, life has changed so much. Back in the early fall, my heart’s desire was peace. Closeness. A feeling of “I got this.” So sought to trust Him. It was then that Jake and I decided God might be leading us into adoption from the foster care system rather than internationally. It was then when Jake shared that information with a friend, and it was then that we learned about sweet, seven year old Mak, who’s loving grandfather, her guardian since infancy, would loose her to the system if he did not find someone else to raise her. DSS was all set to take her. With incarcerated parents with a host of other struggles, he was her only “parent” and now his failing health made caring for her impossible, and her only future lay waiting in the U.S. Foster Care program. Heart-breaking. And I’ll never forget her story being shared with us. “Are you interested?” we were asked. My heart thumped. Pounded, really. I know it was like it was jumping into my throat. A seven year old? US? Okay, God, really? Yet the more we prayed, discussed, made pros and cons lists, and rationalized, the stronger the YES! came from our hearts. And within a week of that conversation, we had met this sweetheart, her grandfather, and the family from church she was currently staying with. We spent Halloween together. She came to Wednesday night supper with us. She began seeing us regularly, and latched on almost instantly. Then her questions came. The Christian family she stayed with was so loving and understanding and when she flat-out asked, they answered her with loving honesty. Her grandfather, after meeting us and talking several times, felt connected to us. He said he knew it was us who needed to be her parents. And with that, they told her that we were going to be a her new family. Yes, we would adopt her. The whole time, I am almost screaming in my head, asking God if He was plum crazy. How could I become a mom overnight? And then I did. The next night, she knew she’d be coming to live with us, with her moving over the coming weekend. We took her to church with us and as we sat on the pew together, she tugged on my sleeve. “Can I call you Mommy from now on?” And, of course, I said she could call me Mommy or Briana, either one. I wanted her to know that I wasn’t rushing it- I knew she still had a person in her life she had called Mommy. But since then, I’ve been Mommy, Jake has been Daddy, and her biological mother has been called her first name. Thanksgiving will be two weeks since she moved in, and two weeks and one day since I became a mother. I realize that mothering is a self-less compulsory choice (compulsory choice sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s not… mothers will know what I mean. You can’t not love your child. It’s what you were created to do. Yet, it is a choice because we see moms regularly leaving their child in the hands of strangers, or in no hands at all) to love a child, teacher her right from wrong, encourage, provide, and support. A mother is a safe place for her child, a source of renewal and peace, and a light or beacon that points her children towards Christ. And somewhere in the last two weeks, God’s been morphing me into that person. I know I seem like I’m not myself to many. I have had so many people, especially those who are “in tune” to my inward moods, ask if I was okay. I am so mentally and emotionally and physically exhausted, it doesn’t seem like it even to me. But if I were to cut myself and bleed, I think my blood would glow like some mutation in a comic strip… His love and energy is cursing through my veins. I feel like the Energizer bunny and HE is my battery. Without Him, I’m nothing. No forward steps, no beats on the drum.
The emotional side is taxing enough, but physically, it’s been “like whoa.” Bed time routines, meal time procedures, school work, parent-teacher info, car seats, time outs, and getting her bathed and dressed each day. Getting her room ready. I keep telling everyone I really have no clue what I’m doing, ‘cause I honestly don’t. And then some lovely soul reminds me that even infants don’t come with instruction manuals and I laugh and feel better about our blunders like forgetting she had gum in her mouth when she went to bed, or the fact that she has already skinned her knee. Oh, and let’s not forget the legalities are still in the process. We are working with our lawyers for full custody, and then for full adoption. And what a daunting process that is.