Well, it was bound to happen. A few days ago, I started to feel a lot of fear about moving forward with an adoption of a child with CL/CP. So many questions went through my head that day...
Will the baby be able to form an attachment to us?
What kind of conditions will this child be living in prior to our adoption?
Will this child know what love is before meeting us?
Who will take care of the baby before we pick him/her up?
How will the language barrier impact us?
How will growing up in a predominantly white community impact this child's identity?
What will other people say/do to hurt my family when they see we don't "match?"
How will people treat my sweet ones born with CL/CP b/c of the scars on their faces?
Will this child's speech be very difficult to develop due to effects of having a CP?
Attachment is such a huge thing when it comes to adoption, and depending on the amount of nurturing and love the child received will impact how he/she will form future attachments. Many children live in orphanages, and when you see those cribs lined up a dozen at a time, it is truly heartbreaking. The alternative is foster care, and obviously that situation largely depends on the caretakers. There are just so many unknowns facing us at this point that when I start to think about them I can feel completely overwhelmed. Then I remember that this baby has had a consistent caregiver from birth - our Heavenly Father - and we could not ask for a better parent until we meet our son/daughter.
My fears about other people can be especially overwhelming because we cannot control other people. I know all we can do is take advantage of teachable moments and attempt to educate people on appropriate language (e.g., real child vs. biological child). Whether we're concerned about the attachment issues, social issues, or medical issues, one thing rings true. God will help us overcome them all. When we rely solely on ourselves, we are bound to fail. But...when we lean on God for understanding, hope, love, acceptance, and peace, He will always come through.
Reading Kisses from Katie could not come at a better time in our journey. Her words have helped melt away so many fears I was beginning to feel because she wrote about the same issues I described above. Even in Uganda under different circumstances, Katie has experienced her kids begin bullied for having a white mom. She has adopted children who have never felt love from another human being before she walked into their lives. Katie relies on the strength of the Lord to meet their every need - social, physical, medical, etc. And you know what, He comes through each and every time.
I'm already wondering how many times I will read that book throughout the course of my life. For those of you who do not know the story, Katie Davis (from TN and at age 18) traveled to Uganda to volunteer for 3 weeks. Several months later, she returned to Uganda to begin teaching kindergarten at an orphanage. She ended up starting an organization call Amazima where she helps (through sponsorship) 400 children receive education, clothing, food, and medicine in addition to being a modern-day Mother Teresa to hundreds and thousands of people around her. As if that wasn't enough, by age 22 Katie had adopted 14 children by herself. The story is incredible!! I won't spoil anymore by sharing with you, but truly, this book is phenomenal. The one thing she writes over and over again is that she is nobody special. Katie shares that she experiences the same struggles as anyone else, but in the end, she chooses to say "Yes" to God's plan for her life.
She writes, "My family, adopting these children, it is not optional. It is not my good deed for the day; it is not what I am doing to 'help out these poor kids.' I adopt because God commands me to care for the orphans and the widows in their distress. I adopt because Jesus says that to whom much has been given, much will be demanded (see Luke 12:48) and because whoever finds his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for His sake will find it (see Matthew 10:39).
At one point, Katies shares that there are...
143 million orphans
11 million children who starve to death or die from preventable diseases
8.5 million who work as slaves/prostitutes/other horrific conditions
2.3 million with HIV
= 164.8 million needy children
Although that seems overwhelming, Katie writes that 2.4 billion people claim to be Christians, and if ONLY 8% of the Christians cared for one child, there would not be any statistics left.
And that profound statement makes my jaw drop to the floor.
I want to be part of the 8%...and I think a lot of you want to be part of the 8%. I have so many friends who are beautiful, nurturing, loving, amazing mothers. Fear should never stop us from answering God's calling to care for orphans and widows because God does not give us a heart of fear. That emotion prevents us from doing exactly what we are created to do - love. And loving is what most of us do best. :)
Today, I don't feel fear. I'm sure it will return at some point, but for now I continue to research agencies and countries and look at pictures of beautiful children just waiting for homes. I appreciate all of your prayers that God makes it clear which country and agency we should choose. We are getting closer and closer everyday!