Thursday, February 12, 2015

Weekend Getaway

This past weekend, I went to an adoption conference in Atlanta called Created for Care.  To say that I was looking forward to it beforehand would be a lie.  The night I reserved my spot, I lay in bed fighting off feelings of panic.  The conference was for women only, would be in a lodge on Lake Lanier, all food was included, dinner tables were assigned seating so you could "make connections"...sounds awesome, right?

When you're an introvert with a self diagnosis of Social Anxiety Disorder, it sounds like a march to the guillotine.  Did I want to learn more about adoptive parenting, how to bond with my child, etc?  Of course!  Did I want to spend a weekend away from my home, surrounded by strangers who I'm forced to attempt to make conversation with? Heck no!

But adoption isn't for the comfortable.

Adoption is messy.  That child that you're bringing in comes from a broken family. They come from violence, from sadness, from fear.  They come with more problems and diagnoses than they ever should have experienced in their short little lives.

"Keep pushing, it's supposed to hurt."

My first lesson in this process was courage.  The courage to accept the call to adopt.  Being brave is something I struggle with Most of the time I feel as if I'm drowning in fear- fear of making a mistake, fear of failure, fear of life.  My inner voice and I are working on being on the same team, and not fighting against one another.

"Keep pushing, it's supposed to hurt."

The next lesson is patience.  The process is lengthy, the ending date unsure.  We are at the mercy of others, social workers, government officials, lawyers.  We must wait with a patient heart, because we know that the child we adopt isn't chosen at random.  It's not the luck of the draw or (in a hard adoption) a poor hand we're dealt.  The child that we adopt is meant for us.  Those of you that have given birth know this; the moment that baby is placed on your chest, the moment you look into their eyes for the first time, you know. You know that they were fearfully and wonderfully made just for you.  So just like with a pregnancy, we must wait on that child to be ready for us.

"Keep pushing, it's supposed to hurt."

The lesson I was introduced to this weekend was confidence.  Am I suddenly fearless and ready to face the world?

(Can you hear me laughing?)

Absolutely not.

This one, like the others, is a never ending process. I'm still going to feel anxious when something new and unexpected comes my way.  I'm still going to fight to avoid situations that I'm not in complete control of.  That's completely okay.  Life is about growing and changing.

"Keep pushing, it's supposed to hurt."

This quote was one that I heard during a story over the weekend.  The speaker was comparing her experiences with both childbirth and adoption.  Giving birth is rough.  It's incredibly painful.  It demands everything you've got, every ounce of strength you have.  It brings to the surface every emotion you have, and during it, you may want to give up.  Maybe the pain is too great.  Maybe you've run out of strength.  Maybe fear has gotten the best of you and you're too scared to keep going. But then the nurse reminds you;  keep pushing, it's supposed to hurt.

After the struggle, there is joy.  Your child is here, and you know why you exist.

Adoption is hard.  There will be days of sadness, of fear, of pain, and days when the strength has all run out.

But we should keep pushing.

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