Tuesday, July 10, 2012

From Joy to Jealousy--The Emotions of Adoption

I can't lie...this week I have been feeling a range of emotions about our adoption journey...peace, contentment, desperation, sadness, joy, and jealousy.  Top those off with an unneeded guilt and you have one mess of a person completely relying on her God to pull her through weeks like these.

It would be much easier to tell you I have it all together all the time, that I'm "fine", that I trust God with a smile on my face and peace in my heart at all times, but if I did that, I wouldn't be showing the true journey of adoption.  There are many, many moments I actually do feel these things genuinely, but that is only one side of the journey.  Those of us on the journey would be wise, I think, to tell the other side--to give everyone the true glimpse into the hard parts of the journey as well as the wonderful parts.  For anyone contemplating adoption, I would do you a disservice to allow you to think you will not go through the gauntlet of emotions along this road.  I hope and pray that if there is anyone out there contemplating this incredible call on your life, that this post will help you be prepared for not only the blessings of adoption, but also some of the heartache potentially waiting for you.  I'd rather you know about it now than have it slap you upside the head as if you saw nothing coming your way later on.  I'm not trying to be a "Debbie Downer" here, but I am trying to give you a glimpse at the reality of some days along this road--it's just not always easy.

You see, this week I have felt peace and contentment leaving Nora in the arms of a God who loves her and will care for her the best He can, which is far better than even I can do!  With the issues we had the following week with her birth father, I found myself in a furry of prayers for her safety.  I have had much more peace about this situation (probably fueled by the fact he has not been back since).  I know she continues to be safe at the orphanage and for that I am thankful, content, and peaceful.  I was so blessed to have gotten a few photos of her this week from a family who were there visiting their son.  It was always a beautiful thing to wake up to an email with this precious face staring at me...reassurance that Nora was safe and being cared for.  Ahh...peace.

On the other hand, I have also had the swing of emotion head towards the opposite direction.  I've felt almost desperate this week for word that we have moved along in our process.  The best way to describe it is feeling like I simply can't breathe.  Like I just won't be able to catch a good and proper amount of air in my lungs until I hear the words..."You have dispensation."  I know the reality, friends.  This dispensation step in the journey could take a very long time to receive.  I know my heartache to be done with this step is shared by others who have been waiting far, far, far longer than I.  I do not claim to be any more special or any more deserving of this step being done quicker than anyone else, and in fact, feel guilty praying for our papers to be signed immediately knowing there are so many others who have been waiting for the same thing for over a year.  (Guilt is not fun).  But, I still bring my prayers of desperation for our part of this journey to be over to my God because that is the desire of my heart and I know I am asked to bring those things to Him.  I know God can go beyond the realm of "process" and I'm praying whole-heartedly for that to happen...desperately praying for that at this point.

On top of this feeling of desperation, I've felt an incredible amount of sadness this week.  Sadness that adoption has to take this long.  Sadness that Nora will most likely live without our daily care and family life for another year even though we have the money ready to bring her home today.  Sadness that I just don't know how long it will be before I get to jump on a plane to Haiti and hold her again.  Sadness that I can't do anything tangible right now to speed this process up.  Yes, the process itself has made me quite sad this week.  The question I am probably most asked is, "WHY?!?!?  Why does it have to take so long???"  If I feel like it, I can go into the factual details of why it really does take this long, but this answer takes much longer than the person asking probably cares to listen too.  If I leave out the factual details and go to my heart of hearts instead, however, I can answer their question as fast as anything..."I don't know, but it makes me really sad."  I simply don't know why the process HAS to take this long.  It is by far the one thing that brings incredible sadness to my heart.  I break down in tears a lot when it's just me and God discussing all of this together.  Yesterday I was mowing and was surprised to find myself crying my way through a few passes of the yard as I simply told God my longings to keep moving forward in this process so I could go see Nora.  I wasn't necessarily planing on praying in that moment while mowing my back yard, wasn't planning on being brought to tears, wasn't planing on feeling so sad...it just happened.  There is sadness in the journey--no getting around it.

And then there is joy!  Yes, friends, you can actually feel both incredible sadness hand-in-hand with joy along this road.  I've felt joy this week reflecting on all God has blessed us with since we said yes to His plan of adoption.  Joy for the money people have given to help us make this decision a reality.  Joy for a gorgeous, big-eyed beauty of a baby girl on the other end of the crazy ride.  Joy for an increased faith and belief that God is working for my good.  Joy for the families I have been connected to who I never would have met if it weren't for this adoption.   Joy for watching other families have their numbers increased through their own adoption journeys.  Joy for the way Ive seen God highly at work thus far in the process.  Joy for my bio children as they embrace Nora as a sister through a computer screen.  There is much joy in the journey of adoption, friends.  Much joy.

And lastly, jealousy.  Yep, even jealousy works it's way into this journey.  Lately, I have to admit I've been jealous about so many of our friends' journeys of adoption.  So many of them within the last few weeks have had major steps forward while we have just been sitting motionless in our own.  I feel so much excitement for all of them and yet I can not lie--it is finely lined with a layer of jealousy I was ashamed or guilty for feeling.  I expressed these feelings of jealousy as well as the feelings of guilt for feeling that way to Micah.  I told him of my desire to separate my heartache from the genuine joy I have for the others' journeys because it just wasn't fair to my friends (who have pretty much all sat in my shoes along their own journeys).  I wanted to be able to be fully present in their moments of celebration, but felt like I couldn't do that very well right now because of how sad and desperate I was feeling about our own.  Lovingly, he helped me realize my jealousy is not a malicious jealousy birthed out of a desire to see myself superior to everyone else, but that it is simply a jealousy birthed out of a genuine longing for Nora to be in my arms just as their children are in their arms.  It is simply a Mama heart seeing in others what I, too, desire to experience with Nora.

So, yes, I'm feeling jealous.  Probably everyone along the road of adoption will feel it too at some point.  I wonder if the fact I'm feeling jealous is not as important as what I do with it.  Will I allow it to consume me and wallow in my stagnant state while 13 other children get one step closer to their moms and dads or will I admit it and allow it to fuel my love of Nora and my prayers to a God who can get her to me miraculously fast?  Will I allow it to stop me from celebrating with my blessed friends or will I say...

God, Zoe is absolutely beautiful!  I'm jealous that Nick and Marsha are getting through this process so incredibly faster than we are, but thank You, thank You, thank You for letting them love on her at home while she is so young.  Bless their first chance to experience what it is like to have a girl in the family.

God, thank you for this family of 4 siblings who will be raised by two incredible families in our very own church.  I am jealous they will grace the halls of our church sooner than Nora will, but will you use them to prepare the way for Nora to have friends who can empathize with her when she does come home.  Bless the Miller's and the Mounsithirajs as they just met their little angels and prepare to bring them home next month already!

God, thank you for Giselle (Nora's birth half-sister).  You know the journey her family has been on to get her so close to coming home!  I'm jealous Denise will get to be in Haiti so very soon to not only put her arms around Giselle, but carry her right onto an airplane in them instead.  I can't wait to do the same with Nora.  May watching this sweet family's homecoming journey help prepare me for that moment that WILL come to me too one day.

God, oh my heart, I love these children.  Gabe, Grace, Alex, Patrick, Stevenson, and Garry...they are like extended relatives...extended little cousins to Nora.  They are Nora's friends and family in Haiti and I'm jealous that all of their parents are traveling in the next week (or were just there or will be heading so very soon) to go before the Dean and move onward towards the second major part of the process.  Their trips are exactly where I want to be.  Will You please bless each and every one of their appointments with favor, ease, and quickness.  Will You fill each and every one of the children's hearts with love from all of their parents heading to love on them.  Will You please help our paperwork get signed by the President so very, very soon so we, too, can go show Nora the same amount of love these parents will be showing these beautiful kiddos during this time.

And finally, God, there is Nicholas.  Lord, bless his parents as they travel to meet Nicholas for the first time face-to-face.  There is no moment so precious in this journey (except seeing that face on the homefront, I'm sure).  I'm simply jealous they get to head to Haiti to spend time at the orphanage since it has been 7 months since we were there last.  Allow their time at ROH to be everything they need it to be and everything Nicholas needs it to be.  Bless this new union of parent and child in an incredible way.

Peace.  Sadness.  Joy.  Jealousy.  Guilt.  And every other emotion in between.  All a part of this profound adoption journey that, thankfully, God walks beside me with each and every step of the way.  There are days that are wonderful, there are days that are incredibly hard, but in the end every day is worth it.  This little face is worth it...

Will you please pray for my emotions during this adoption?  Pray not that I would never feel the harder emotions that I have been feeling recently, but instead, that I would be able to embrace each one as they come at me and throw them onward to Christ who can help me along the way.  Thanks, friends.


  1. thank you.
    thank you.
    you have said it so well.
    Praying for you...

  2. You articulate what we have felt!
    Maybe you are actually having glimpses of the Father's jealousy for us! May your heart rest in the fact that God is loving Nora/Josephine (Mica corrects me at every picture viewing.) in Haiti and when you come home.

    And may He expedite her homecoming!