I’ve now walked through two international adoption experiences (one resulting in family reunification and the other resulting in my two little munchkins asleep upstairs now) spanning four and a half years; walked alongside several close friends’ experiences through multiple countries; and now have the unique experience to be on “the other side” of the process as I am an international staff member with Mwana Villages in Congo and its Mwana Refuge where we have several babies in process to be adopted internationally. And through all of this, I’ve become undeniably convinced of something: the experience of the international adoption process is incomparable to anything else and can be one of the most excruciating experiences imaginable. So if you’re someone who is currently walking through that, this post is for you, friend.
Let’s just put it all out there: we may readily acknowledge that our children are always out of our control, and so rest in the fact that the Lord is ultimately the provider and protector for them. But when you have a child on the other side of the world, it brings that level of “I’m out of control” to a whole new level. Whether you know that child already and have seen his or her face or not, a mama’s heart seems to become increasingly divided as she walks the journey of bringing a little one into her family through international adoption. And this heart division rears its ugly head in all kinds of ways: constantly calculating the time difference to the timezone where little one is living; struggling to have normal social interactions when the adoption process has become all-consuming (yet simultaneously not wanting to talk about it at all because the “no-update” is sometimes just too hard to talk about); bearing the mom guilt for other kids in your home and knowing you’re mentally distracted or emotionally divided; counting the ever-increasing gray hairs and odd physical symptoms (my wrists and hands went numb for about two weeks…yikes stress). The list goes on for how this process wreaks havoc on you. And perhaps toughest of all, I haven’t met yet a mama who doesn’t feel isolated in this state. (Could you believe that you are NOT alone? And a sweet fellowship of mamas who know this unique heart ache actually does exist).
And yet, even in the midst of all of this excruciating process when we KNOW we are just about at our absolute worst, there are moments that we sense the Lord’s kind ministry to us and the Holy Spirit’s indwelling in more pronounced ways than ever. He gives us those verses that literally seem to be written for us; He provides those songs that we can weep and wail to because they know exactly how it feels (Hello, Lauren Daigle!); He gives us small kindnesses like a bird’s nest right outside our door to remind us that He SEES and He KNOWS…and the craziest part of it all…He cares about that child on the other side of the world even more than we do. We may not understand the “Then why…” but sometimes we have to choose to believe the truth over seeking understanding.
International adoption is often a battlefield–sometimes in practical ways as we can battle with our agencies, our in-country representatives, battle for better care for our kiddos, battle with ourselves for how we’re “handling” it all–but sometimes the battle is a spiritual one where it seems forces of evil are working to stall and curb the adoption. And while being “in battle” may leave us feeling weary and tattered, I encourage you dear friends to let the Lord minister to you. For “when I am weak, then I am strong.”