Thursday, August 19, 2010
Drowning in Paperwork
One of the purposes of our blog is to talk about real every day issues surrounding adopting. One of those issues is paperwork. For two and one-half years it felt as if the nitty-gritty details of trying to bring home our child was a full-time job. I spent many hours, sometimes daily, trying to find the right information to put in the right blank to avoid the hassle of extra work or delays. I repeatedly wondered why anyone would put themselves through this grueling task just to abuse the child he/she worked so hard to bring home. (This thought was partly prompted by the news headlines highlighting so many horrible adoption stories.)
As soon as Don came home from Russia with the news God said, “Adopt,” I got busy. I figured the sooner we started, the sooner we could move on with it. I still wasn’t fond of the idea, but was resigned to the fact that it was going to happen. I don’t mean to sound callous, but my fear was more tangible than my faith. And the more I read, the more fearful I became.
Without going into lots of boring details on “how to” adopt, I’ll tell you that because the original adoption agency we chose was out-of-state, we also needed an in-state agency to complete our home study. Between the two, we were required to complete numerous applications and read several books, as well as attend seminars and interviews. One six-page document asked which physical and/or mental disease or problems we would accept in a child. It presented a checklist. Club feet, yes or no. Cleft palate, yes or no. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, yes or no. Six pages! I scheduled an appointment with our physician just to find out what many of the terms listed on those pages meant. He may have wondered why this crazy lady with the deer-in-the-headlights look on her face ever considered this venture. It was apparent I was in over my head.
And, that’s exactly how I perceived myself - drowning without a life preserver. With each seminar I attended and each book I read, I felt less and less adequate. Add to that the guilt associated with picking and choosing what type of child we would accept. The weight of that decision was heavy. This was a privilege most aren’t offered and I didn’t want to “throw out” a child God intended us to parent. So, we prayed and we said “yes” to each illness or negative situation we felt God would equip us for. And, for each “no” checked, I prayed someone else would check “yes.”
Thankfully, the rest of our home life was running smoothly. When I lifted my head out of the water to look around, it was reassuring to see my two sixth graders keeping up with their school work and my preschooler doing well. But, I still couldn’t quite see how a little girl would fit into the equation. I tried to wrap my mind around having another child in our home. I tried to visualize a daughter. A girl! I began to walk around the house wondering where she would sleep and where we would put her toys, etc.
Then one day, it happened. I was walking down the street holding Kenneth’s hand and I stuck out my other hand for . . . My heart sunk. Someone was missing. I realized it was my daughter. I was trying to grab her hand, but she wasn’t there . . . yet. However, hope emerged. The fear still existed, but there was a glimmer of hope.
For His Glory!