(Photo Credit: Ricki Smith)
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
(Matthew 13:44 ESV)
I was having a phone conversation with a dear friend a few days after we applied to adopt through our agency. He asked how we were doing and I had a really long answer to that question. Lots of words and lots of heart. I told him of the application process. I told him our daughter would be from Colombia and how much it would cost from start to finish. I told him our estimated timeline and the potential of multiple trips to Colombia (one of them quite long). I told him everything I was so happy and nervous about. And he listened. He’s good at that. I should take notes.
And he knows how many kids we already have and how old they are, and he knows what I do for a living, and he knows how expensive kids can be week-to-week (he has four beauties of his own), and he just knows who we are and where we’re at, etc. He gets it.
“I love it”, he said, “because it is so stupid.”…
When I finally finished emotionally vomiting in his ear, when I finished explaining where we were and where we were headed he finally got a chance to talk. He spoke to me bluntly like someone can only when you are assured of his love and care for you. And a good friend’s bluntness is almost always good for the soul even if you find yourself taken back by it at first.
I’m paraphrasing a tad (but only in the simple fact that this isn’t verbatim. But it’s close).
“I love it”, he said, “because it is so stupid.” He meant only blessing and encouragement in his words and I knew this as he continued, “It doesn’t make any sense financially. It doesn’t make any sense for where your family is right now. It doesn’t make any sense from a standpoint of comfort or safety or practicality. And I love it because in light of what many people value in this culture… It’s pretty stupid.”
You start tossing around terms like “transracial-adoption”, “adoption out of birth order”, “Reactive Attachment Disorder”, “open to special needs”, ETC, and ETC… and it rapidly becomes apparent, that we are biting off way more than we can chew.
He’s right. Beautifully right. We don’t have the time to do this or the money to do this or the parental expertise to do this. Are we ready? Probably not. Are our current children ready? They say they are (the ones who can actually talk). They’re not ready. But quite frankly… I wasn’t ready to be a husband on October 17th 2008, but I became on the very next day. I wasn’t ready to be a father to one. Or a father of two. I certainly wasn’t ready for three. We’re not qualified. We’re not at the right season in our life. We’re not rolling in benjamins. We’re not clicking on all cylinders. We’re certainly not on the verge of writing any books titled, “How To Successfully Parent Three Boys”. But yet, we’re about to add a fourth child to our family, drain our “savings”, and invest time in amounts we don’t have budgeted… yea… that’s only scratching the surface of how stupid this is. You start tossing around terms like “transracial-adoption”, “adoption out of birth order”, “Reactive Attachment Disorder”, “open to special needs” ETC, and ETC… and it rapidly becomes apparent, that we are biting off way more than we can chew.
It’s going to be expensive and uncomfortable and time consuming and difficult. It will hurt at times. There will be times it will wound my wife and my children. It’s going upset our apple cart and stretch our budget and break our rhythms and require more than we have the capacity to give. It’s going to push us past the very limits of who we are as individuals and as a family. It’s going to be brutal… And it’s going to be beautiful.
It already is.
Imagine the deep sacrifices or risks people have taken in your life for your welfare. Stop and think about how illogical many of their actions were. And then you try to tell me, with a straight face, that love always takes root primarily in logic… I don’t think so. My parents scraped the bottom financially on countless occasions so I could have things I would never be able to pay them back for. My big sister used to stand up for me at risk to her own reputation (and once or twice her own health) against people bigger than the both of us put together. My mentors have given away time to me by the bucket loads even when it looked like I would never amount to anything. My wife has given me forgiveness even when it looked like I would never stop hurting her. My friends have given me friendship even when I was not offering it in return. Professors and teachers and pastors and strangers have given to me even if it meant loosing a little bit and sometimes a lot in the process. And Jesus at unimaginable cost purchased my adoption as a child of God.
Love can be a little illogical sometimes. A little risky sometimes. A little countercultural. A little expensive. A little painful. Uncomfortable. Time Consuming. Brutal. And yes, sometimes love might even be a little bit stupid.
Love can be a little illogical sometimes. A little risky sometimes. A little countercultural. A little expensive. A little painful. Uncomfortable. Time Consuming. Brutal. And yes, sometimes love might even be a little bit stupid. At least to those who cannot see the unfathomable worth of the reward and unimaginable depth of the joy.
And that’s what makes it beautiful.
We love somebody we have never met and have never seen. And that love making us act a little bit stupid.
And we want you to do some stupid things with us… Because wouldn’t that be beautiful!
Can I be real with whoever decides to take the time to read this?
Do I believe we are called to adopt? Absolutely. Am I excited about this? To the point I could burst. Do I daydream about our life with her in it? Cars and trains…and doll babies?? Constantly. Do I believe this is really going to happen? I do.
While this journey is anything but predictable, I am choosing to sell out to the here and now.
I believe He equips those whom He has called according to His purpose.
But. So. Here’s the catch. I’m a doubter, among other things. I have this natural inclination to believe The Worst Case Scenario is looming around the bend. This is a struggle that needs recognition as it colors the way I do life. What does that have to do with the adoption process? Well, turns out, a lot.
Declarations like “we’re adopting” and “from Colombia” and “a daughter”…are very scary for me. Because in all reality, while I do believe these things to be true, I don’t really know what this is going to look like. What if we say these things and prepare in this way, and then it doesn’t happen? What if we don’t pass the next step? What if we don’t qualify? What if the funds don’t come in? What if…
These thoughts and doubts are nothing new, of course. I have experienced them with my other children. I have not celebrated things fully in the past because I was timid, and the notions seemed fragile. Maybe too good to be true. Or maybe I didn’t want to be embarrassed and look like a fool when my dreams didn’t quite pan out. Like I ever had any control over them.
These past few months have broken my heart. Held a mirror to my nose causing me look deep into my own sin. Brought me to tears…
So. In this process, just like anything else in life, I have no real prediction of what lies ahead. All I know is what’s in front of me today and the direction I feel lead to go. And I’m not missing anything this time. While this journey is anything but predictable, I am choosing to sell out to the here and now. If the plans change, so be it. I will love our newest one regardless of geography or need or…or…
And if God closes this door all together, He is still good and worthy to be praised. If He called us here solely to stir in our hearts an openness, an exposure, a vulnerability…and we come out of this with no baby to show for it, so be it. These past few months have broken my heart. Held a mirror to my nose causing me look deep into my own sin. Brought me to tears (hopeful, happy, and heavy). Stretched me out of my comfort zone (and over again). Connected me with friends, new and old. And given me new breathe to read and write and create. I am thankful.
But. I DO BELIEVE WE HAVE A CHILD OUT THERE, and that He is working it out to bring us together as a family.
Now, excuse me, I’m off to Pinterest to finish decorating her room.
I never knew you could love someone this deeply before you even know them. But I do. I love her.
I love her more than risk can quench. More than security. More than comfort. More than rest.
I can feel her chest heaving against my right breast bone as her sleepy hair tickles the nook of my neck and I can hear her rhythmic breathing. It sings to me a song as old as love. I love her more than life. I can see the tears in her eyes when she’s hurt by someone. I love her till it hurts. I can hear her sweet voice singing to herself as the sun makes music through the windows and sets her dancing. I love her more than words. I can taste her cheeks as I kiss her goodnight and whisper sugar in her ears and I love her more than food and drink. I can smell her fears wafting from an anxious heart that I will defend to the death. And I love her more than risk can quench. More than security. More than comfort. More than rest.
I never knew you could love someone this immensely having never met them face to face. But I love her now in ways that cannot be expressed. After all, a fathers love is more than the capacity of vocabulary and daughters are a gift so sweet that love can do nothing but to grow.
So. YOU, specifically YOU, can be a part of this. A tangible part of uniting us with our child, whoever and wherever she is. From orphan to beloved daughter.
UPDATE: Rumor is that we will be traveling very soon and we only have 35 pieces left to fill our 500 piece puzzle. You can be a part of bringing our daughter home in a very cool way (read about it below). You can reserve a puzzle piece in our ETSY shop by clicking here. Please do! Let’s bring her home.
Friends! I am so excited to share with you our first real fundraising opportunity! OK. Maybe you’ve heard of this before, but we are doing a puzzle fundraiser!!!
…this is such a beautiful thing, such a worthy investment. It has very little to do with us; it’s so much bigger. Join us? Pretty please?
This post was originally written on March 11th, 2015
By every single visible sign, it was subtle, except the tears streaming down my face. I have a feeling tears will be the war-paint of choice in this battle. Right now, I have saline smeared on my face like William Wallace, but maybe with a little less courage than him (maybe). This will forever be remembered as the day we printed out (and filled in) the adoption application and contract from our desired agency. My bride was walking out of my study as I pulled it off the printer, and snapped a photo of the header where it said, “adoption application”. “Are you smiling?” she asked before she exited the room. I shook my head back-and-forth to signal an answer of “no” but the smile on my face could have been seen from space. She added, “does this feel like a battle-cry to you?” Again I shook my head “no”, but she could read the “yes” on my face because it was as clear as day. I held it together as she walked down the stairs. When I heard the baby gate latch at the foot of the stairs, I quickly pulled up the phone numbers of two dear friends and texted them the adoption application photo I had just snapped (both of them know what it’s like to adopt and both of them know what it’s like to be adopted). As I typed the words “make war” to my brothers-in-arms, I lost it. Painting my face with the war-paint of salty tasting moisture. When I weep, it’s with every part of my body.
It’s a war within, if nothing else. I know this adoption journey will be no different. It will be a long line of battles until this life is done. After all, adoption doesn’t end with a plane ride home.
It’s time for battle. Make war.