January 21st, 2013 - our family went from 3 to 5. It is crazy to think that it has been 3 months already. We worked hard to bring Dawit and Meron home knowing that the journey was just beginning. It has been fun to get to know them both. We are all learning so much, although I cannot even begin to imagine what Dawit and Meron are experiencing in their new home.
Last night we took them to their first movie in the United States. We saw the movie Oz. I highly recommend it if you have not seen it. I love the story line and imagery was spectacular. Surprisingly my husband brought up the fact that there was an adoption story woven through the movie. I didn't catch that until he brought it up. A sweet china doll has lost her family due to an attack from the wicked witch. She is not only alone, but she is broken. The wizard fixes her and she begs him to take her with. I find it interesting that his immediate response is "no". He immediately has a list of reasons why she cannot join him. I think we are similar to him. There are so many reasons why we cannot invite orphans to join us on "our" journey. She is persistent and he agrees to let her tag along. The story continues where she asks for her family back - the wizard is not able to bring her family back but he finally realizes that his "family" is good enough for her. (Sorry for those of you who have not seen it - I just gave away a piece of the ending.) He explains that they are not perfect, but that they will love her. Of course she accepts this gift.
God has brought two beautiful "china dolls" into our life. We have been stretched in ways we never dreamed possible. We have learned more about our strengths, weaknesses, fears and dreams. We have been touched by their beauty. We have been touched by our bio 14 year old's ability to welcome them in and share everything he has had to himself - graciously. We love that Tyler is now passionate about Africa and looks forward to his next trip. Meron and Dawit have given us small glimpses into their lives in Ethiopia - all filled with joy and fond memories. We have shared some very special memories as a new family. We have also shared some painful times.
The transition has not been easy.
- In a way, we are pioneering the way - working with doctors who have no idea what a child needs to be tested for from a third world country.
- Working with teachers who have very limited experience working with children who don't speak English (who are already overwhelmed with large workloads, helping two children learn a complex language in order to do complex homework assignments).
- Serving food to a child who is extremely picky (were talking no: peanut butter and jelly, mac and cheese, pizza, dairy, lunch meat, wheat bread, etc). I mean what on earth am I supposed to fix her for lunch? Why oh why does it frustrate me so much that this child, who has gone days with out food before, can wrinkle her nose at me when I have placed a plate of food in front of her?
- Tyler has been stressed when he thinks that he is responsible for Dawit's grades in school and doesn't understand why Dawit can't comprehend what he is teaching him.
- Brad has gone through a dark period due to this huge change in our family - change is just hard for him. He clings to stability and routine and this adjustment has rocked his core.
- I struggle with balance - meeting everyone's needs with 3 busy teens and a husband who works two jobs.
- Dawit and Meron are listening to a new language all day long, they are learning new cultural norms, eating strange new foods, learning expectations in the home and how to express their needs.
It is hard.
Why all the details? We met another "china doll" when we were in Ethiopia. She is broken and is asking to be loved. Brad and I have no experience with her pain - she would need help healing. She is 14 years old and gentle in spirit. Why would God want us to adopt again? We are still learning how to be a family, adjusting to new schedules, strange habits, congestion in the kitchen and bathrooms, trying to figure out how to do their hair, how to communicate, etc. We are still working thru all the change. We are still paying off a lot of debt that we acquired from our first adoption process. Why would we use tax returns and work reimbursements to invest in another child when we have debt hanging over our head? Why don't Brad and I see eye to eye on this? I believe that God wants us to adopt another girl. No burning bush, but a still small voice to love one more. Is this the one? Brad thinks we are not ready as a family. We need more time to bond before adopting again. I absolutely don't want to force this on him, but I want to obey God. Matthew 6:33 says, "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Why does this seem so "easy" in some ways and yet so difficult in other ways?
I just read a segment from my journal on January 18th, days before we would leave all that we knew as "normal" and return home completely changed. I wrote, "Are we ever ready to follow your will Lord? Will we ever be able to lose our insecurities, tower over fear and walk boldly for you?" I know that God uses these times to draw us close to him and remind us that he is the one who will provide, He is ALWAYS faithful, He will never leave us and He ultimately will bring us thru it.
I also expressed, "I appreciate what Brad is feeling. I have some of the same questions swimming around my head." I love that God brought us together. Brad is good at asking the difficult questions out loud, where I tend to shy away from them. I am grateful that he asks and expects a genuine answer:
- Are you just doing this because our friends are adopting?
- Are you suffering from post adoption depression?
- Are you seeking to fill a hole that only God can fill?
- Have you considered how this will impact our entire family?
What is the answer for this "china doll?" Honestly, I don't know. We have to come together as a team and be on the same page. I trust God will make it clear. I don't want to be right - I want to follow and obey God. Maybe God has another family for her. Maybe....