Adoption is a long, taxing, emotionally draining process. It's scary, daunting and outright overwhelming. The highs are perilously high. The lows are like the bottom of a dark ravine, where the walls blot out any light at all. That's when the fear and anxiety pounce. Sometimes, my fear of the future is nearly suffocating.
I worry. A lot. I worry about our little girl's health and wellbeing while she's so far away. I can't protect her. I can't take her to a doctor. I can't provide for her at all. I can't teach her and play with her.
I worry about our kids. How will all of this affect them? Will they feel neglected or ignored when their new sister demands our attention? Will they bond with her? Ever? Will they have to stick up for her at school or play areas?
What about our marriage- how will it fare? I know this will push our love to it's limits. Will we manage it well? Will we pull together or fall apart? Divorce is not an option, but I don't want us to end up loveless and isolated either.
I worry about her adjustment. About specific behaviors. What will bedtime look like? How on Earth am I going to get three kids ready in the morning in time to take our son to school. (I know, wake up earlier. Easy for you to say!) Am I going to be strong enough for all this? Will I let all three of my kids down in trying to help the one?
With all the fear and anxiety I know one thing - that if this truly is God's will for our family then it will be ok. It might be tough at times, downright painful even, but I know that if this is God's will for our family then He will bring us through it eventually. He will make our children, our marriage, and us parents strong for the task. He will equip us. He will guide us. He will be right there with us, and when the going gets tough He will comfort us.
So I worry, more than anything else, about whether this is truly God's will. If it is, then we're fine. If not, then I don't even know what. I look for signs, for indications of God's intent. I look for His encouragement.
That's what the Lifesong grant means to me. It's not just about the money, although that's a huge help. It's another little message from God. It's Him saying "Yes, this is what I want from you. This is my will for your family, and I am right here with you. You won't face any of it alone."
It's affirmation, too. Affirmation from the folks at Lifesong who reviewed our application. Affirmation from friends and family and my poor Facebook acquaintances who didn't accept my friend request expecting to be hit with a round of mass begging. It tells me that the people around us, who know us and love us, really do believe that we are the best family for this little girl. That we're not crazy in thinking we can handle this. That we're not alone.
The whole thing brings me to tears, because this is the hope and encouragement I can cling to when it feels so dark. When the waiting gets so long. When the worries get so deep. When I manage to miss our daughter with every fiber of my being, even though we've never met her or held her and she doesn't even know we exist. This is where I find hope for the future, in the encouragement we receive right now.