Friday, October 29, 2010

Unexpected heartache

This is so much more difficult than I could have ever predicted. Yesterday I was on top of the world. Life was so good. And even in that moment I realized that a fall from so high would really hurt... and I was right. Today I anxiously checked my email for the news I had been dying to get; only what I read was not at all what I expected.

Since the early years of our marriage we have planned on adopting a sibling pair at one time. We never felt the strong need for an infant so we figured it made sense to keep a pair together. A couple of years ago I started thinking 4... yes 4 siblings all at one time! I don't know why 4. I remember specifically discussing it one day in the car and Josh saying that he would be open to it but it would be many many more years before we could afford it. I didn't want to wait that long so I said let's just plan on 2. But the nagging in my head, and most of all my heart, never went away. Lately it had felt stronger and stronger. Josh said that he was okay with it and we agreed that we could find a way to make it work financially. So we started to pursue the possibility.

Three weeks ago we were moved from the homestudy department of our agency over to the Ethiopia department. Two weeks ago our case worker called us to give us an intro to the program. During this she informed us that sibling groups of 2 are common, groups of 3 are rare, and they have never seen a group of 4. I know she was just trying to be realistic but we felt like she was pressuring us to give up any thoughts of 3 or 4 siblings. I felt torn. I didn't know what to do. As I have said before, I believe that God speaks through our hearts. He doesn't boom down from heaven. Rather he speaks softly in a voice that can be heard if you stop and listen quietly.

A month ago, or so, I stumbled across the blog of a woman who had adopted 4 at once. It is such a unique thing that I asked if we could email and she kindly obliged (which is big as I am a stranger and she has 7 kiddos to consume her time). So after our call with our case worker I emailed her. I told her how I felt torn and asked her to pray. I had felt strongly the need to ask her specifically for this help. She agreed and also suggested that I check out a website called I had never heard of it. So I looked, and there were 4 beautiful faces. They were labeled "SIBLING GROUP OF 4". Now I believe God speaks softly but I also believe that at times he is very obvious. This felt obvious. We requested more information 11 days ago. We were told that the agency did not have details but that they were requesting details for us and would update us asap. At that point we did not know anything about them including their ages. We were guessing 3-10. We talked about it, prayed, thought, repeat, repeat, repeat. Their faces were in my minds eye everyday. A few days ago we were at the point that we were almost ready to commit to them in spite of so little information. We were ready to go. We were so ready.

Today I checked my email and there it was! Finally the answers we had been waiting for. Only it was not at all what I had waited for. The email stated that the 2 oldest are 8 and 10 years old but that the 2 youngest were no longer available. I was stunned to say the least. I shot back a reply to ask why and how. She explained that she did not have the details but that likely a family member said they could care for 2 of them but not all of them. At first I just stared. I didn't feel anything. And then it hit me. I started crying. And then I cried harder and then harder. Now let me note: I was at work. My office has 700 people and NO one has an office no matter their rank. Its just a big cubicle farm. I think this might teach me not to check my personal email at work. That was at about 9:15am. It is now 8:30pm and my eyes still burn, that salty scratchy feeling.

Thankfully I work with many dear friends. They all comforted me in their own way. Many said words to the effect of "God has a plan for you, he will bring you your children." I knew it to be true. And if the situation was reversed I probably would have said the very same words. And yet they were of no comfort to me.

We had long ago agreed very firmly that we would never split up a sibling group. Now in this case these kids are split up no matter what. In fact that is very common and we knew that. But we had said that we would never be the ones to do the splitting and so initially my mind was spinning so hard that both our immediate reactions was "no way, we can't take the 2 without the other 2". Of course the 2 little ones getting to stay with their family is a good thing. But we had let ourselves fall for them. When I first showed Josh their picture he said he didn't want to see any pictures. He said that he didn't want to fall for them until he knew it was for sure. But how can you choose who you adopt without knowing anything about them? Now I feel the same way.

I believe that God blesses adoption. In fact, I believe that he is the master of adoption having adopted all of us and loving us regardless of all our unlovable moments. But I do not believe that God designed adoption. I don't think it was in his design for a child to ever be without loving parents, in need of adoption. "Choosing" your children is not natural. It doesn't even feel right. How can we choose?

I do know that God has a plan for us. I do believe that He already knows exactly who our children are. But I am still brokenhearted. I thought we had found them. It seemed so perfect. I was so excited. At some time in the future we will look back at this and see that this was all a part of bringing us to the point we need to be to find our kids. But I am still hurting. It will pass. It already hurts less. But I never expected this heartache.

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