Wednesday, 2 March 2011
After a Failed Adoption: Why We’re Taking a Step Back
It’s been a few weeks since we said goodbye to Rwanda. But even a week later, 10 days later, when the grief had ebbed slightly and I could feel myself coming out of the fog, guess what my first impulse was?
To jump in to the next step.
If you know me, this is what I do. I tend to prefer action over contemplation. If it’s worth considering, it’s worth doing. Right now.
Listening for God’s Voice
God speaks to me in a few ways, but one of them isn’t hearing his voice audibly or getting a sense of what he’s saying so clearly I can write it down. He speaks to me in feelings, in nudges. I feel him more than hear him. Sometimes I feel like he’s pushing me around a little. Then there are times when he shoves so hard I get a bruise.
When I’m dragging my feet because I’m scared, but I can’t stop thinking about something and I feel unsettled making my beige, safe plans, I know that’s the Holy Nudge.When I jump in and say “God, I’m going for it!” and then I feel kind of frantic, scattered and anxious, that’s a Holy Roadblock.
How amazing that God steps into our lives in such a personal way, right? Even when I’m frustrated and just want to move on with it already, I have to marvel that the Creator of the universe cares enough about my life to intervene.
In taking the first steps for another adoption, last week I scheduled all our medical appointments to start updating our paperwork. I was moving forward, as soon as possible please, and God said, Whoa, sweet girl. Hold up.
From experience, I know better than to ignore a Holy Roadblock. The harder I try to push through it, the more miserable I feel. It just doesn’t feel right to be outside His will.
The impulse to race ahead in adoption
So why the desire to jump in right away again?
Part of it is that I want to secure our place in line for a match. Another is that I want to get closure on Rwanda, to be done with that chapter. If I can start getting excited about another path, it might dull the pain a bit. An exhausted part just wants to be done with the paperwork, the stamps, the photos, the checklists. You’ve been great, adoption, but I’m kind of tired of you.
I love adoption. I love how it will always be part of our family’s story. I love writing about it, helping others with it, debating it, wrestling with it. What I don’t love is the process before the actual adoption.
It’s all part of it, I know. You have to go through it. God has something to teach me at every stage, in every moment, with every piece of paperwork. But I’d rather just skip ahead to when we”re all home, together and complete at last, moving on with the business of being a family.
But isn’t that what we do? So often we want to forfeit the blessing in favor of a quick resolution. We want to resist the trial, even if it means settling for something smaller than God intended.
Sometimes, we need to learn a lesson in the trenches. We need to walk through that fire, one agonizing step at a time, in just the way God lays out. Because that’s where he refines us and prepares us for the next step in his Big Plan.
Being quiet in waiting
And so, for the first time in nearly three years, we’re pressing pause on our adoption plans. We’re not waiting for a social worker, a report, a stamp, FedEx or a foreign government. We’re taking a purposeful step back to pray and think and open our hearts. We’re waiting at least a few months, or as long as it takes to feel the next push from the Holy Spirit, the Holy Shove that compels us onward, whatever that means and wherever that takes us.
I still hope that means another adoption. I hope the signs and hints we’ve been getting over the last year end up meaning something.
But I also know that God’s purpose for our life is bigger than adoption.
Maybe God just wants to give us a glimpse of our life AA (after adoption), when the only paperwork will be post-placement reports. Maybe He’s trying to give me a break. And maybe He’s trying to show me where we’re going to go with my writing, or how I can bless others with more purpose when my plate’s not so full.
The only thing I know for sure is there’s definitely something I need to learn about being quiet and seeking His face first. Not adoption, not another child, not closure or my plans. Just Him.