Staying on the Path

I came across The Brave Girls Club today, and this graphic just jumped out at me because of where I find myself in this adoption process.

I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy thing to do. Of course I knew that. I’ve said all along that the only thing easy about adoption is loving our daughter. But even knowing it was going to be tough, there are at least a dozen difficult things I didn’t know I’d face on this journey before I took the first step.

One of the things I didn’t expect was how lonely it would feel when people treated me like I was genuinely crazy for adopting this girl.

I’ve gotten negative comments on every topic imaginable, from her age, to the size of our home, to racial issues. (And I’m saying “I” here, instead of “we” or “us” because the reactions my husband has gotten from his family, friends and coworkers has all been overwhelmingly positive.)

Honestly, most of the comments and reactions I’ve received have been positive, too. But sometimes I think that, because children are so tightly woven into their mother’s heart, the enemy attacks moms in a way that dads don’t usually experience.

I’ve had moms of older girls laugh and laugh at me for taking on a daughter at the pre-teen stage of life. They say I have no idea what I’m in for, and they’re probably right. Indeed, I’ve never parented a girl before. It could be terrible. (It could also be amazing. And if parenting a girl is anything like parenting boys, my experience tells me that it will be a combination of terrible and amazing. And everything in between.)

I had one person ask me how I was going to keep her from becoming immersed in “thug culture.” I guess since she’s black, and we live in the south, to some people — that must be the inevitable outcome of her new life with us.

I’ve fielded intensely personal questions about financial issues, her family story and health history (including the assumption that she has AIDS — she doesn’t), crazy questions related to our motives for adopting her….

I know that most people are just curious and say what’s on their minds. They don’t know anyone who’s done this before.  And I think I’ve been gracious (or at least, I hope so) with my replies.

But I’m a thinker. And when people plant their thoughts into my mind, they immediately take root. And I wonder and question and research and pray, when what I really need to is perform the mental equivalent of spraying Round-Up on these weeds instead of allowing them to grow freely along my path.

I knew this process wasn’t going to be easy. And despite the agony of waiting forever, I can imagine that several months from now, I’m going to look back at this as being the “easy” time — like how pregnancy seems so hard until you’re several weeks into sleepless life with a colicky newborn and realize that you never before truly understood the definition of “exhausted”.

But in that sleepless haze, you also realize that you never before really understood the definition of “love”. And then the beautiful part is that with each child you add to the family, that love just multiplies.

So with every child, you get to live life at a level of love that was previously unknown to you.

It’s crazy how it works that way. That’s why I honestly believe that every child God places in my home — however he or she may come — is an blessed, welcome gift.

No matter how difficult the journey that connects us.

I’m tired, but I don’t think I’m anywhere near the end of this path. Still, I know with complete certainty that it’s the right one to take.


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