Friday, July 11, 2014

What changed your mind?

A friend of mine wrote a post asking this question and I've been thinking about my answer to it every since. First some context. That would be changing your mind about pursuing adoption. What pushes a person into action? What moves someone from thinking that something is a good idea in the abstract and pushes them into action? So I've been wondering what was it that did it for me.

I usually tell people that I'd always been interested in adopting, but that is sort of a vague statement and doesn't really describe why it had even occurred to me to think about. After a little pondering, I remembered by obsession with the DeBolts. Many of you probably remember the made-for-TV documentary called, Who are the DeBolts and Where did they get 19 Kids? I loved it. It fascinated me and fed my desire as a child to live in a large family. The fact that it was a multi-racial family and many of the children had disabilities added to its appeal. As I grew up, the TV show faded in my memory, but I think its impact continued to work inside my head. So when I say I've always been interested in adoption, I'm pretty sure that it was some latent desire to be like the DeBolts. And it was really latent. It wasn't until both TM and K. had been home for a couple of years that I even recalled the show and remembered its impact on me.

For our first, adoption, it was really just a now-or-never moment. When you already have five children and you are not getting younger, you realize that some things can't be put off. For that first decision the main spur that goaded us into action was the desire to avoid regret. Would we regret just never getting around to adopting? Evidently, the answer was yes, we would have regretted it too much.

The second adoption was perhaps the easiest decision. We always knew that if we adopted once, we would adopt again. We were very conscious of not wanting our one adopted child to always be odd man out in the sea of blond, blue-eyed children. We started the paperwork for our second adoption immediately at the six month mark of TM being home. The soonest we could have possibly done it.

Then came a lull in the adoptions... and G. and L. arrived. I can say without any hesitation that even thinking about adopting was the furthest thing from my mind during G. and L.'s babyhood. That would have required some sort of conscious thought and I was too sleep deprived to manage that. (I was too sleep deprived to manage much of anything but nursing.) At this point, I was quite sure our family was complete. We were maxed out on all fronts and that was OK.

So, when I came across (by accident) a picture of H. on an advocacy blog, I wasn't looking for a new child. We were done. Quite done. And yet, there she was... the girl who wanted a mommy and daddy to love her and sing to her and cook her good food. The girl whose face was different and who had a very scary diagnosis attached to her. I went round and round with God. It was crazy... we had our hands quite full with lots of children, one of whom had significant emotional needs, not to mention two year old twins. Crazy. Our hands were full of children yet quite empty of money. This child would need surgery, not to mention that incredibly large amount of money which would be needed to bring her home.

Still there she was, always lurking around the edges of my brain.

So what changed my mind? It was a combination of two things. The relentless pursuit by God and something I read by someone. I can't even tell you who or where I read it. I'm not even sure that I can recall the exact words, but I do remember the idea. I kept telling God that I needed some sign, or even better an engraved invitation, and then I would know that we were supposed to do this crazy thing. And then I read this line: "You say you are waiting for God to give you a direct message before you adopt, yet God already has. We are already directed to care for the orphans. Why does He need to tell it to you again?"

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