Today I sat for hours and went through ALL of the documents we have collected since we got married in 1998. Tax returns; house buy/sell documents; car titles; letters; mother's day cards; school work; passports; birth certificates; adoption paperwork; adoption paperwork; and more adoption paperwork! Four adoptions worth of paperwork is a LOT!
One of the things I ran across is a letter I wrote to "baby" on August 3, 2000. On July 31 of that year we got the news that we were infertile. Without extraordinary efforts we would never conceive a child (short of a miracle). And I remember immediately thinking, "That's okay. We'll adopt. We always planned to adopt anyway." I told the fertility specialist this. She looked at me without a hint of sympathy and told me, "Nobody would ever allow you to adopt. You're overweight and Eric is a diabetic. The only way you will ever be a parent is through fertility measures, and I can't make any guarentees there."
At the time I was just a young wife without a clue about adoption. I walked out and got in my car before beginning to sob uncontrollably. I called Eric and told him between sobs that I was never going to be a mom. We would never have children.
No bio kids? Sad, but not life-shattering. No kids? I could not imagine. My biggest goal in life was to be a mom. I had been gathering children's books for my future children for years. It was not an option NOT to be a mom, but this woman had just told me my dreams would never become reality.
Thank goodness for the internet. I went home and started researching. Of course, it didn't take 10 minutes to realize that the fertility specialist was full of crap, and that we had a wide variety of options with adoption. Within a few days we were knee deep in adoption research, and we've never looked back.
That was 10 years ago. It took 10 years to build our family. Lots of heartache and tears. Lots of signatures. Lots of waiting and hoping. Lots of LEARNING! The Lord not only blessed us with four children, but He also awoke within me my life's greatest passion (after being a mother) and provided me with a way to play out that passion in my everyday life.
If you happen to be on the front end of your journey with the gift of adoption, pay attention! Don't take one moment for granted! When you go through difficult trials, remember that He may be preparing you for a future that you haven't yet even imagined. When you adopt a child with needs you had no clue about before homecoming, consider that HE chose you to parent that child and HE will equip you to meet that child's needs. And maybe--just maybe--that child is opening your eyes to thousands of children that you would have otherwise looked away from.
If we would have chosen a route other than Cambodia for Taevy's adoption, I never would have been asked to work for a start up agency my Cambodia coordinator was starting. If not for taking that job, I would have never seen Samren and certainly wouldn't have been adopting again 10 months after Taevy's homecoming! If I wouldn't have traveled to Haiti for my adoption work, I would have (at the very least) taken longer to truly KNOW that parenting a black child was a total non-issue. I wouldn't have been open to Africa. If it weren't for Samren's special needs (failure to thrive, malnutrition) I would have been scared to death at the first sight of Bright--on death's door from starvation. If it weren't for the terrible, awful agency experience we had with Bright's adoption, I never would have been involved in beginning AAI's Ghana program (and maybe AAI wouldn't even have a Ghana program???). If the Lord would have given me 3 completely healthy kids and a healthy husband, I never would have thought about parenting a child with HIV--and wouldn't have known her when I saw her, if it weren't for my work with AAI.
It all goes together like a beautiful puzzle. One thing leads to another. I don't have any idea what the next 10 years will hold for our family. If the last 10 years has taught me anything, it's not to even try to imagine!