If there are two scarier words to a woman entering the adoption process, I don’t know them. I also didn’t know that stepping into an open adoption would mean stepping into so many areas where God wanted to change me.
One of the first things you decide at the beginning of the adoption journey is if you are willing to enter an open adoption, a semi-open adoption or a closed adoption.
Let me just tell you what my first thought was when I heard the term open adoption. It was a big NO…absolutely not. Followed by a trail of thoughts of what I thought open adoption would look like. How THAT LADY would have no say so in raising MY child. How I didn’t want to turn into some Hallmark show where a family shows up on my doorstep wanting THEIR child back. And everywhere I turned, there was someone else feeding into my fears of the unknown. And if it’s unknown, then it must be the worst possible scenario ever!
Have you noticed that in life when you are in a situation where fear is living inside you, that there is ALWAYS someone who wants to share the scary story of their friend’s aunt’s kid’s neighbor? And that story, however crazy and half true it might be, just solidifies your own fears. Seriously people, I am way worst-case scenario all on my own. I can’t even watch Criminal Minds anymore because my mind just shouldn’t go there. My poor sheltered kids.
So, I just wanted to share MY story over the next few blog posts. Straight from the horse’s mouth to show that maybe it is hard, but maybe it’s also worth it. And maybe, just maybe, God wanted our family to extend love beyond just a precious baby.
Open to God’s plan.
If you’ve read our story, you know we were matched locally. When we first decided open adoption was something we were willing to consider, we were thinking of an open adoption with a family likely living in a different state. We were thinking of a visit once a year or so and some shared pictures in between. We were thinking of control, safety and privacy. So, when we said yes to an open adoption to someone living in the same area, we really had to re-evaluate what we had just said “yes” to. And frankly, Judah joined our family so quickly and open adoption became real so fast, that I just wasn’t prepared for what was next.
The Bible talks about a battle between our flesh and our spirit. And I can’t think of a better way to describe the battle that took place inside of me over the next year. Most of it I didn’t share with anyone but a few close friends at the time. Because I still didn’t know on where I landed with the whole idea of open adoption. Because I wasn’t confident enough in my decision to hear the opinion of what others thought. And, because it brought out all the ugly inside of me that I didn’t want others to see.
I tried to cover up my self-righteous thoughts and call it wisdom.
I tried to cover up my pride and call it protection.
I tried to cover up my lack of love for someone different than me and call it best for my child.
But, again and again God, through scripture, would remind me that my ugly was in fact my sinful human nature. And that I could either continue to find excuses to cover it up. Or I could let God use this new relationship to mold me.
For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. Galatians 5:17
So, I said yes to changing. And just like changing my over tired child at the end of a long day, I went through it kicking and screaming. But just like many things in life, I can look back and see God’s beauty in spite of my ugly.
This is the benefit of stepping into hard things. God may highlight the mess in your life that you didn’t even know was there. He may call you out from your comfortable, deeply ingrained thoughts and turn your world upside down. He may expose your pride, your worry, your jealousy and your apathy. He may point out your ugly. And gently whisper, “I can make this beautiful.”
I will be sharing three lessons I’ve learned through our open adoption over the next few blog posts. My hope is that it may help another adoptive family considering open adoption, or any family who is hesitant to say yes to something hard.
This post is Part 1 of 4 in a series. You can read part 2 here.