Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Fear, Faith, and a Family of Five

There has been a long drought in this blogosphere...

It's because if I had shared what had been going on since the last post almost four months ago, it would have just looked something like this for several weeks:


Followed by...WHITE NOISE.

That is the best way to describe my thoughts, emotions, sleeplessness, etc. while deep into pursuing an adoptive placement Matt and I had been efforting since November - and then this news in February:

Hello, life!

So, here we were a few months ago, set to meet our potential son at his foster home for the first time and digesting the reality that by November, we could have three children under two. 

The logistics of it all felt overwhelming and we still had time to stop the adoptive move from happening.

I didn't know how I was going to get three little ones in and out of the house - into the car (that I will grow out of when three car seats are installed) - into daycare - and back to work in a one hour window of time.

I didn't know how Matt would handle the early morning hours alone with two, then three, when I had to leave the house at 3:15 A.M. for work.

I didn't know how I would possibly be able to nurse an infant while having two one-year-olds running around.  Heck, I just exited pumping/nursing land and am not ready to re-enter!

I didn't know if we would sleep again for the next few years.

I didn't know if Matt and I would have an uninterrupted conversation at home or go on a date again before the posse enters school.

I didn't know if we had the time, patience, and unconditional love that the little boy we wanted to adopt so desperately needs.

I didn't know if we had enough love to spread around for Lila, little brother, and the next addition.

We didn't know A LOT.

And guess what?!  We still don't.

Yet, all of that not knowing brought us to a place of knowing that this big, crazy life is exactly what God wants for us. 

"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:9 

I assure you that the "plan" Matt and I had for our family didn't involve growing quite so quickly.

We figured we would continue in the adoptive process this year - and maybe, just maybe, add another biological or adopted child to the family in a few years after we were nicely settled in as a family of four.

When we learned that life was moving in a very different direction, fear creeped into both of us.

Should we continue in this adoptive placement?  Should we hit pause and revisit it after the birth of the baking baby?  Is now the right time?

It did not take long before we found ourselves begging God for discernment and clarity.

I found myself asking God, "Please, will you just show me exactly what we're supposed to do? Can you just tell me?"

And then, it's as if he calmly whispered to me, "The answer is right in front of you."

So, I opened up the Bible and turned almost instinctively to the book of James.

It's only five chapters, so I was able to quickly read through it and every chapter had verses stand out which seemed to perfectly describe our situation.  Here are the highlights:

*Consider it joy when you face trials, because the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  When you ask for wisdom, believe God is giving it to you and stop doubting.  (James 1: 2-6)

*Do not just listen to the Word.  DO what it says.  (James 1:22)

*Care for the fatherless. (James 1:27)

*Faith without action is dead.  (James 2:26)

*Our lives are so temporary. (James 4:14)

All of that was in one short book.  Over the next several weeks, I found myself more eager to dive into the Word, listen to more sermons on faith, trust, caring for "the least of these," and refocusing on God's will for my (our) life.

The more I looked, the more clarity and peace I found.

"You will seek me and you will find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13

When we boiled down the source of any of our "no" answers in delaying the adoption process, it was all rooted in the same concern: fear.

I'm not talking about ignoring a protective warning or refusing to seek godly counsel.  

I'm talking about allowing crippling fear to stop us from taking a big step of faith into what God is commanding us to do - and getting out of our cozy, comfy lives that oftentimes keep us from recognizing just how much we need to lean on the Lord.

Saying "yes" to this placement meant saying yes to a tough calling, yes to a bigger faith in God, yes to a new normal, yes to more sleepless nights and even busier days, yes to LOTS of unknowns, and yes to giving a little boy who has spent his entire young life in foster care a permanent, loving home.

I can't wait for the day I can share the incredible story of how we learned about this child and how much he has already overcome.  While he is freed for adoption (parental rights have been terminated in his case), the state requires that he is our foster child for six months until we can adopt him.

Until then, we cannot share pictures of his adorable face or tell you his story.  It's one that we want to be transparent about, because we want to be part of an open dialogue about adoption, foster care, and fostering to adopt.  There are 400,000 children in U.S. foster care today and nearly 100,000 of them are eligible for adoption.  We have got to be willing to open our homes to them, even when it disrupts our comfortable lives.

We are still in the early weeks of transitioning into a family of four.  There have been some rough moments, and less than warm, fuzzy feelings at times.  We are all learning to love each other in a new way and that takes work.  Yet in the morning wake-ups or afternoon story times, there are unexpectedly joyful moments that allow us to catch a glimpse of what a day might look like when we are settled into this big, beautiful life.

And then, we will add another GIRL into our family!

Matt and I couldn't have imagined how much our lives could change since this snapshot six months ago:

There will be five stockings hanging on our mantel this Christmas.

Life can surprise us sometimes.

Don't let fear keep you from stepping into that great unknown.  It's there that God can stretch us, bend us, and reshape us into the masterpieces he designed.

"We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand." Isaiah 64:8

And that, my friends, is something we want to exemplify.