Tonight was the last visit of our homestudy-preplacement. It was a bit of a sobering visit. Our case worker seems to be a wonderful Christian woman who is very encouraging and understanding. She is also very real. We spent two hours tonight talking about all the "what-if's" and worst case scenarios of adoption. Attachment problems. Learning delays. Issues that come with being institutionalized. Healthy children are usually adopted within the country, so there are rarely any international adoptions with a child who is completely healthy and developmentally on track. Our little one will be scared and overwhelmend and will have to learn how to trust us. This won't be anything that comes easily or naturally. Imagine a young toddler having to learn who Mommy and Daddy are and how to depend on them to give them what they need. Children who are born biologically into relatively healthy families are allowed to take this for granted. Not our little one. Brock and I will probably be recipients of so many "overprotective parent" jokes and jabs. But that's okay. I'm sure we will hear the whispers of how we are smothering and spoiling our child. And that's okay, too. We will do the best job we know how to do and keep ever in the forefront of our minds that we don't have to answer to those who have never been where we are. We are accountable to our child to do everything in our power to make sure that he or she feels safe and loved and absolutely secure that every need he or she has is going to be met to the best of our ability. Not just food and clothing and a warm place to sleep. But also that deep and powerful need to be held and accepted and safe.
Throughout the entire meeting this evening , I kept feeling the words "Fear Not" as if God were wraping a blanket around me. Fear Not, Ashley. I know the plans I have for you and Brock-plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope a future. Fear Not, Ashley. I do work all things together for good for those who love the LORD and who are called according to His purpose. And I believe in the core of my being, more deeply than I've ever believed anything else-save that Christ died for my sins-that this is the plan for our life. Fear Not, Ashley. God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. Fear Not, Ashley. This will not be too hard or too difficult, for you are more than conquerors. Fear Not, Ashley. I already know the number of hair on your child's head. I know the personality and the predispositions that I have knit together in child. Your child is fearfully and wonderfully made. Any delays, disfigurments or diseases are still still part of My perfect plan. Fear Not, Ashley. I even know your limits and I will not give you any more than you can handle. Peace, Be Still and Fear Not.
My God is good.
And I pray our friends and family remember grace for us. Remember grace when we are in the early days of trying to figure things out and needing to seclude ourselves to understand how we are supposed to be a family. Remember grace when the ways we parent our child looks different than the way you would parent yours. Remember that our child is not like yours. Remember to pray for strength for us because we've never done anything like this before. We live in such a critical and judgmental world. Please remember that we are doing the best job we know how to do with the information that we have. We have been told by many a well-meaning friend that maybe we can still just get pregnant and we won't have to worry with all of this adoption stuff. They don't understand. I know I don't feel the tumbling of our little one in my womb, but you must know that I feel very real tumblings in my heart. I know my body isn't changing in expectation, but my mind and spirit are very much aching in preparations. Our son or daughter much real to me and alive for me.
I think I have a bigger glimpse of what the picture someone painted for us of being chosen. Adoption was, by no means, a flippant decision, but I didn't fully understand the honor of it. God chose us to be adoptive parents. He prepared us for 41 months so that we would be ready at the right time. He wasn't saying "no" to us all those months, He was saying "yes" to a little one who hadn't even been born. And the more I understand the differences, the more humbled I am that we were "chosen". We don't get to be "normal" (if there is such a thing) parents. But all children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him. Thank you, LORD for choosing us. Now, by your grace, strengthen us and empower us so that we may be worthy of this calling.
I will close with a quick story. At lunch the other day, I was sitting by a little girl and we were talking about the adoption with her mother. She looked up at me with big blue eyes and said, "why are you adopting a baby? Wouldn't it be easier to just borne one?" (what a novel idea!) I began to explain that God hadn't put a baby in my belly, so we prayed about it and we believed that God had made our baby somewhere else and we had to go get him. Her mother quickly chimed in and said, "Honey, sometimes God brings a family together by letting them be borne into the family like you were. Sometimes God brings a family together by letting a mommy and daddy go get their baby from somewhere else. Both ways are God's way of putting a family together. Brock and Ashley's baby was still made by God to be their baby. They just get to get him in a different way." Thank you, sweet friend, for putting it so simply. God, Your ways are not our ways-they are higher. And your thoughts are not our thoughts-they, too are higher. I don't know why You called us to this holy path and I don't know why you think we are worthy of it. But, Yes, LORD. I don't have to understand it. I just say, "Yes, LORD".