Wednesday, October 1, 2008
So, I have a confession to make. I am a worrier. I like to mentally analyze an issue to death, and then fret about it some more after that. I am not the out-loud, whiny worrier-type though--no, I prefer to lay awake half the night, mulling over all the "what ifs" and then spend all my quiet moments of the day doing the same thing. And boy, as a mom, do I have a lot of worry-fodder! In fact, if I start to run out of worry-fuel, I can just worry about how much I worry! Sometimes it IS good to think things through and analyze them so you are not walking blindly into a situation, but it is easy to let the thinking and wondering turn into genuine worry. When we were considering adopting from Ethiopia, I had a million things I worried, er, wondered, about. How will I take care of an Ethiopian child's hair? Will other people in our family have negative reactions? Should we add another child to our already nutso family? Do Ethiopian children sunburn like I do? How long will it take? Is this just a "whim" that I will act on and then back out on? Will I love this child just the same as the other Things since it will look and feel so different than what I know as a mom-and yes, I do mean literally look so different-I have no issue whatsoever with race, obviously, but it is just so different than what I've ever done before, you know? I have to say, that last one is the one I worried about the most (and worried about even sharing it with everyone). And honestly, it is still the one that likes to plague me when I am feeling tired and worn out, and lacking in sleep, and most of all lacking in time with the Lord. (ok, and when I have PMS-yeah, I said it) There are days when I just feel like "what were we thinking?" about this adoption, because I just don't feel cut out for the job. And oddly, as we inch closer on the waiting list, the worries get a little louder. Some days bringing home our baby is just so crazy of a concept that I cannot fathom it actually happening and then I just feel like maybe I misunderstood what God was telling us. And I worry about my other girls-what if all the kids don't gel? What if things are too weird of an adjustment? And the worst, most horrible-feeling worry of all, what if we regret it? Now, please do not be angry with me, I am trying to be super real and honest about my innermost thoughts. I feel like this is hard to say because so much of what is seen in the adoption community is incredible excitement and joy about the journey and I do feel that way, most of the time. But like I said, there are times when these little whispers come through my thoughts and I feel alone with them, like if I dared to share them with other adoptive parents, they would think I was crazy and maybe shouldn't in fact be adopting at all. However, I don't think this is the case because I distinctly remember feeling this exact same way when I was pregnant with all three Things (well, except the Ethiopian hair issue, I mean I pretty much counted that issue out). That fear of "oh no, can I get out of this? what the heck will I do with another baby? who thought this was a good idea?" that seemed to creep in at the most inopportune times was there with all my pregnancies and I think it is the same fear that is here with this adoption. It is the fear of the unknown, the not knowing what to expect, and the irrevocability of it. I know without a doubt God has asked us to walk this path, and that is what I cling to when I feel consumed with my questions and worries (well, that and some PMS meds and chocolate, but I digress...) and I know that I should not be anxious or worry about anything, according to Philippians 4:6-7, and I do lay these thoughts at the feet of Jesus regularly. And I know that at first sight of my babies, I was incredibly, irrevocably, intensely, unconditionally in love with them. But honestly, I do worry, like any expecting parent I suppose. I have been encouraged by other folks, like Melissa Faye Greene (in articles like this) and Mary from Owlhaven when they have written about concerns, worries, and even post adoptive depression. This adoption brings with it new sets of concerns-things I never really thought would float across the expanse of my mind-and I want to ask other adopting parents, do you worry about this stuff too sometimes? If you do, would you be willing to share those feelings from time to time so we can all encourage one another, not just in the exciting times, but in the scary, uncertain times, too? Or if you have "been there, done that" and are on the other side of things with your sweet one home, can you share that, too? It is nice to know that these feelings are normal and that we have folks running this marathon with us, as well as those cheering us on from the finish line.