After hitting "publish" on my last post, I felt quite ashamed. You see, those of you who read my blog are the ones who humble and inspire me . . . not the other way around. Who am I to talk about special needs adoption when thus far all I've done is fill out a checklist? Many of you are living the day-to-day joys and challenges of parenting these precious children.
I guess that last post was explaining why I feel peace about the path that God is leading us on. Forgive me if it seemed like a solicitation for pats on the back.
Although I'm giddy with excitement about our next child, I'm also scared. The reason? I no longer wear rose-colored glasses.
When we started Daniel's adoption, you should have seen the shades I walked around wearing. Not only did they veil the view with a rosy glow, they had butterflies and rainbows painted on the lenses. I merely had to put them on and I would hear harps playing in the background and see a release of doves overhead.
Well, about a year into the adoption process, I put these figurative glasses on my road of despair and drove a figurative 18 wheeler over them. I continued to wear them with the broken glass that was left dangling in the frames. But I finished them off with a figurative hammer once Daniel came home.
The whole truth is this. Adoption is beautiful. And adoption is hard.
This Dorothy realized she wasn't in Kansas anymore during our adoption process. Apparently the enemy thought Daniel was safely his and wasn't too happy about this little boy having a family who would love him and tell him about Christ. From the moment we made the commitment to bring him into our family till Daniel walked off the plane, there was a spiritual tug-of-war for his life. You wouldn't believe what happened in the two and a half years it took to get him home. (Another day, another post.)
When he finally made it home, we quickly learned that the adoption process was the easy part. Parenting a child who has had 8 years of abuse and neglect is the hard part. It was like having a difficult pregnancy and delivery just to be handed a newborn with colic.
Even though I had done my required adoption training and read every book I could find on attachment, I wasn't really prepared. It wasn't at all as I had envisioned because I had been wearing those silly glasses way too long and probably watched too many Hallmark movies. Our happily ever after wasn't what I had mentally scripted.
You see, I thought I knew the remedy for brokenness. Like I shared Monday, all I needed for my own healing was to be carried on the Mighty Shepherd's shoulders. So, the plan was to put our precious son on our Savior's back and watch the healing begin.
We would have days that were perfect--like the script of "The Blindside" except instead of raising a super-sized football star we were raising a pint-sized soccer amateur. And then we would have moments that Daniel would show us that he wasn't just living with scars from his past, he was hemorrhaging on the inside.
So we hoisted him up as high as we could with the hopes of putting him on the Shepherd's shoulders, only for him to fight us and kick us in the teeth. He'd been living in the thorns so long, our little lamb thought this was the only place of safety. Many who had shepherded him before had betrayed him. The only person he could trust was himself.
It wasn't until we placed Daniel at the foot of the cross that he began to heal. He needed to recognize the need for a Savior before he could trust the Shepherd. The transformation we've seen in Daniel in just nine months is amazing. Only by God's grace. Only by His mercy.
As difficult as those newborn days with Daniel were, things have been so much easier for us than so many others who have adopted. There's nothing like hearing about families who have to lock up the steak knives for fear that their child might harm them in their sleep to put the adoption of an emotionally broken child into perspective. There's nothing like reading about an adoptive parent dealing with a seizure in the grocery store, or having to hold their screaming child down for a medical procedure, or praying all night in the hospital that their child lives to the next morning to make you see the adoption of a special needs child with 20/20 vision.
But for every story of adoption hardship, there are a million of adoption beauty. And I don't need my magic lenses with a prescription of optimism and ignorance to appreciate what God is doing in our life and in the lives of other adoptive families.
So as we embark on this adoption, I'm not shopping around for a new set of rose-colored glasses. I've finally learned that God's handiwork never needs embellishment.