uncertainty is my new normal
we ended up having not just one but two family profile showings two fridays ago. a family profile showing is when a birth mother views our family profile photo book and home study as well as those of other families and decides whether or not to choose a family to parent her baby. we were notified of a third profile showing last thursday and a fourth sunday afternoon. none of the profile showings have resulted in us being chosen to parent. two of the four kind of don't count as one was looking for a family with no biological children (not us, obviously) and one decided to parent instead of place for adoption (so no one was chosen in that case). one of the showings we didn't know about until after it happened and we weren't picked. that showing and the fourth one were both gift baby situations, meaning baby has been born and if we were chosen to parent we would be picking up a baby from the hospital with maybe a day's notice. so we're 3 for 4 on heart attacks wondering if we will be the ones chosen to parent. maybe we will learn to chill out?? or hopefully we will just have more showings where we are blissfully ignorant of what is going on. i think it's best when i don't have time to think or process -- just do (as in the gift baby situations). who knows how or when this will happen, whether we will have months of notice or a call to come to the hospital in a few hours. it's the nature of the process. welcome to extreme uncertainty. my new normal.
i have been praying that the birth mothers viewing our profile and others would find what they're looking for, whether or not that is us. that god would draw them to the family that is right for their situation. when i found out last wednesday evening that we were not chosen after our first showing, i had just prayed while nursing bina before bed. i believe god used that time of prayer to center me back on why we're doing this. it's not a competition. not being picked to parent doesn't mean i lost. it doesn't mean something is wrong with us or our profile. it just means it is not god's time for us yet. and in the meantime i can celebrate with friends who welcome new babies, by birth or adoption, because it IS their time, acknowledging that in the case of adoption there is both joy and grief. grief over the separation of a child from the mother that grew him or her. something that baby feels on a chemical level, even if they are unable to communicate it in words. grief over the reality that this is not the way it is meant to be. and also joy welcoming this baby into a new family. hope in god's ability to redeem broken situations. such a complicated, intricate web of emotions.
our journeys are all so different. comparison is the thief of joy. ultimately this is about surrendering my heart and control to jesus and trusting in him and allowing him to use me and david to show the love of christ to a birth family and the child they entrust to us. we are not the heroes in this, swooping in to save some poor child. no. jesus is the one who has to get the glory. we don't save, he does. we don't redeem, he does. we are not the answer, he is. my desire as a mother is to model for my children healthy, whole-hearted living. to facilitate growth into the fullness of who god created each of them to be. different personalities, different motivations, different strengths and weaknesses. all in the image of god. motherhood is one big beautiful mess. at least for me. laughing and crying. joy and pain. heart bursting with love and desperate for it to be bedtime. i'm learning to fully embrace the moments, the season. slowly but surely. there is so much beauty in this mess.
on monday morning i allowed myself to be sad for a bit. i am eager to be chosen to parent, and yet terrified! i face each profile showing i am aware of with anticipation. i am excited. could today be the day we bring a baby home and our lives change forever, just as they did when we came home with sabina from the hospital? when monday morning came around and we hadn't gotten a call about the gift baby situation, i assumed it meant we had not been chosen (actually, the birth mother wanted more time and later decided to parent herself). for a moment i thought: what is wrong with us? is there something in our home study? did i word something poorly in our family profile photo book? it's ok to feel sad. but i couldn't let myself continue down this train of thought. it leads nowhere good and assumes that we should have been chosen instead of the family the birth mother picked. nope. shut down that thinking. i decided to head to the gym and grocery store as we do every monday morning.
monday was a dreary rainy cloudy day. the kind that used to make me loathe michigan and want to leave as soon as i could to go out of state for college. but that morning the colors were somewhat soothing. soft neutrals. they didn't represent sadness and gloom but rather calm and tranquility. i dropped bina off at the childcare center where she happily walked into the toddler area without a fuss. i walked upstairs and found my favorite treadmill that faces opposite the televisions, next to the wall of windows. and i set the machine to 30 minutes of cardio. i looked out the window and noticed the gray clouds, brown trees, beige bushes and tall grass. as time passed, a spot in the clouds lightened in my view. brighter and brighter it grew. i turned around and there was no brightening the other direction. just this way for me to see, in my view out the window. i felt as if god was saying to me that the gray is lifting. a brightening of hope is coming. i see you. i see your sadness. i have a plan. be patient, dear one. your time will come. my journey for you is good.
in bible study fellowship we are continuing through romans. the studies of the last few weeks have been timely, one about god working all things for the good of those who love him. "good" being to conform those who love god to the image of his son, jesus. it doesn't mean all will look "good" in the way we think of things being good. favor, health, wealth. but that in the midst of trials and suffering, god is conforming us to the image of jesus. as david and i are on this emotional roller coaster of a process, so far an 11 month journey from when we started (it will be a year on february 14!), god is refining us. we must stay surrendered to him, surrendered to his timing, not pushing against his will and finding ourselves (ok, me) trying to force our way and our plan. i can't speed up this process. all i can do is wait patiently and trust that in god's timing, a birth mother will find what she's looking for, what's right for her particular situation, in us. so i continue my prayer: jesus, let these brave and selfless birth mothers find what they are looking for. may you lead them to the family that is right for their situation. and may there be one who finds that in us.
in the meantime, we continue to make memories as a family of three. on saturday, temperatures rose into the 40s. heat wave! we decided to take advantage of the nice weather (see those blue skies below?!) and head to the zoo. bina has been talking about the zoo for weeks. she even requested the zoo over disney world! obviously, she has no idea what disney world is. at any rate, the zoo is a much cheaper option -- free, actually, since we got a zoo pass for christmas! and so we happily obliged.
the most exciting animal we saw was the polar bear. in all our trips to the zoo since we moved here, and there have been many, we have NEVER seen the polar bear. i was overjoyed. the bear was quite majestic pacing back and forth across the snowy tundra.
bina's favorite is always the peacocks. when we first arrived we walked to the cafeteria to eat our packed lunch. we sat by the window where there were a bunch of peacocks and she chattered away about them hiding in the bush. they're such beautiful birds with their cobalt and turquoise heads, necks and chest. not to mention those tail feathers. bina didn't want to get too close when we were among them outside. "peacup!" she calls them.
my brother just had his first baby, a boy, over the weekend. seeing his sweet little newborn in photos made me want to dig up that picture of bina in her carseat when we first brought her home from the hospital. when i'm with her every day i don't see her growth as much. it's long and slow. but goodness when i stuck these two photos side by side. how is my newborn now that giant two and half year old?? safe to say i have baby fever bad. jesus is preparing me for the plunge back into the delirium of the newborn months. precious few hours of sleep. lots of crying. but oh that newborn smell, those newborn noises, that milk drunk stupor.
uncertainty is my new normal. but it's all going to be worth it. growing our family through adoption has been a messy and emotional process so far, and it will continue to be once we're placed i'm sure. as we navigate life with a newborn and a two and a half year old and openness with the baby's birth parents, we're bound to make mistakes and shed tears and also burst with love and laughter. whatever may come, god's grace will cover it all. and he will work in us to conform us to the image of his son. so, bring on the uncertainty!