Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How Much Should You Carry?


I always try to live a life of balance, though I don't usually succeed. I have a strong type A personality---persistent, demanding, controlling. I have high standards. I give my best and expect the best from others. I organize, I plan, and I execute. I follow through on my promises. And when I get hooked on a project, I'll plow through it without apology until it's completed. I seek solutions.

Some of these attributes benefit me tremendously in life, particularly with my diabetes. I'm an educated, demanding, and good patient. I don't mess around when it comes to my health. Being Miss Type A also helped me in school and in our adoption process. I had assignments (whether it they were essays or adoption self-studies) done weeks before the due date.

I'm on my game.

However, when I get hung up on something, I'm on it. Call it addiction, call it obsession, but I just call it me. Every perk has it's downside, and this is mine.

Let me explain. I have been part of an online adoption community for a few years. I have made many friends there, and I have had numerous opportunities to learn about various adoption issues, including and most importantly to me, the challenges faced by all members of the adoption triad: adoptive parents, adoptees, and birth parents. Furthermore, I facilitate and adoptive mama group and am always reading adoption books to add to my adoption resource page which I distribute to new adoptive families.

In August, after a LONG and sweltering summer (one we spent a lot of time indoors because 115+ temperatures), I was getting quite tired of my beloved online adoption community. It wasn't them; it was me. (I know, that sounds like a typical bad breakup line). Honestly, I had become emotionally attached to some of the women (many of whom, mind you, I've never even met in person) and their feelings surrounding adoption, that I was getting more and more wrapped up and jaded about this question: Can adoption ever be ok?

This question comes from me, one who doesn't believe adoption is a perfect system that creates a win-win-win situation for the adoptive family, the adoptee, and the birth parents. Someone always loses in some way. Loss is required of adoption. Adoptive families typically do not choose adoption without some sort of loss, be it fertility or the loss of something else (like my beta cells---uggggg). Birth parents lose a child, though the PC language is that they "place" their children for adoption. Adoptees lose the experience of being raised by their birth families---and they have no choice in the matter. I think it's only fair to everyone involved to recognize these losses. Adoption isn't a happy-go-lucky experience, though no doubt there are joys.

I was so overwhelmed by the emotions of others and my own conflicting feelings about adoption, that I jumped onto a new project: a book. It was to be an anthology of essays written by adoption triad members. This book was to be RAW---no adoption fluff allowed. I am a person of action---and so, I was going to do something!

I prayed that God would give me clear answer----write the book or not. After all, it would be a major commitment. I was about to start work again (43 students=lots of grading) in addition to my regular role as a mom, wife, and homemaker. Oh yes, and then I had my freelance writing, my blogs, and my volunteering. And Mommy and Me Dance class.

Being the planner I am, I generated a Call for Submissions and continued to wait on God---write the book or not? I then wrote a book introduction. And kept praying.

God never gave me a clear answer, though I felt, finally, after some careful self-analysis, that writing a book out of conflict and overwhelming emotions probably wasn't the best motivator. The book, really, was for me. I wanted something to help me sort and clarify my current adoption feelings.

I have been setting my book project aside----maybe forever, maybe not. As I write this blog post, I've also been taking a much-needed break from my online adoption community. As always, I do have a stack of books on my nightstand, half of which are adoption-related. I can't bring myself to stop learning about adoption. I'm also planning our next adoptive mama meeting. My daughter deserves an adoption-educated mommy. And I need to know what the heck I'm doing as an adoptive parent.

It's funny because my everyday life has little-to-nothing to do with adoption. I eat, I workout, I play with my daughter, I go to work, I make dinner, I hang out with my husband, I go to bed. But there is always a lingering thought tucked away in the back of my mind. A new concern or question.

I get frustrated with myself at times. I do enjoy my family, every single day, but I also never forget that adoption is pretty messed up sometimes.

I question:

How much "adoption" should I carry with me every day?

Does God ever will that an adoption happen?

Is is mostly always best that birth parents and their children stay together?

Can a birth mother ever be confident in her decision to place her baby? Can she ever be truly happy with that choice?

Should adoptive families adopt and move forward, never lingering in "what ifs" and conflicting thoughts?

What is the best balance for the adoptee? How should adoption be presented to the child?


I don't want to put on an ignorant Christian coat and go along my merry little way, believing, as many Christians claim, that Jesus LOVES adoption PERIOD. People matter to God. All people. Not just the wants of adoptive parents to become parents.


However, I'm realizing more and more that even though there are seasons to any person's life (Ecclesiastes 3:1), adoptive parents like myself need to keep perspective, which is best stated in Philippians 4:


6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.


7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.


I am working on focusing on what is "true," "noble," "right," "pure," "lovely," and "admirable." That doesn't mean I'm dismissing the hardships and imperfections in the adoption system. This doesn't mean I won't have moments of heartache for my child's birth mother (and for any birth mother) or be ever mindful of their pain. What this does mean is that first and foremost, I do have peace about our adoption situation and I know God's hand was in it. I know that I need to guard my heart and mind (v.7). I need to be thankful and give my anxious thoughts and feelings to the One. All the fretting in the world, all the anxiousness, all the negativity---what does it breed other than more problems?


I thought writing a book would book would be the best option for my adoption questions and conflicts, but I'm learning that reading THE Book is a much better choice.


Readers, I hope you are continuously learning about adoption. I hope to never cease to be a student. But I also hope you are living Philippians 4:6-8. The message is rather simple: be thankful, meditate on the good, and by all means, give whatever your struggles are to God. When you do these things, God promises you peace that surpasses all understanding (7).


1 comments:

christy.niles said...

Rach...Beautifully written, my friend. You are Type A and I love you for that. You seek until you find answers, continually educating yourself, and educating and inspiring others along the way. Don't ever change!
Christy

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