Part One Part Two
"Pray for the courage to do something difficult with your life, for Jesus."
When we met Olivia's birthmother, I was SUPER nervous. This woman had the ability to give us a child (or not), and I seriously felt like our lives were in her hands.
As it turns out, I didn't need to worry. She met us, judged us to be good people, and it seemed that she was immediately hit with a wave of relief. Her problem was solved. Ours, as it turned out, was just beginning.
If you have read our adoption story (sidebar), you'll know that our meeting with Olivia's birthmom was our very first introduction into the whole world of adoption. In the next two months, we had to start and complete a homestudy, deal with interstate issues and doubled expenses when birthmom unexpectedly moved to another state, and ride the roller coaster of emotions whenever a week passed that birthmom missed a counseling appointment or didn't contact us. It was a whole new world of uncertainty.
But we were also dealing with another area of uncertainty. Because we were planning to adopt a biracial infant, the social worker doing our homestudy was obligated to do "family education" sessions with us that dealt specifically with the challenges involved in raising a child of another race. These sessions, it seemed, were designed to discourage us in every way possible.
Now, the social worker assured us that this was not the intent. She had asked us to watch a video and explained that it was simply supposed to help raise certain issues so we would talk about them and deal with them in order to empower us be able to raise a healthy, emotionally stable child.
I get that. I really do. But I think it might have been just a little bit helpful if they had found just ONE adult adoptee raised in an interracial family who had judged his/her childhood to be less than a completely crippling experience.
Terrified. That's what we were. We couldn't really even talk through a concrete plan about how to deal with this as our child grew because we were so fixed on how we were obviously going to royally screw up her life just by being who we were.
It helped that we had friends who had already adopted transracially. They gave us some perspective. "Look, she's going to deal with these issues whether she is raised by you, her birthmom or some other couple. She is who she is. No one can change that. All you can do is raise her to be the person God created her to be, to the best of your ability."
Remember Mary? That betrothed teenage girl was just going along her merry way, being a good Jewish young woman. Then, suddenly this angel appears and tells her she's going to become pregnant with God's son. She's gotta be thinking, oh, yeah, like anyone's going to believe THAT! And this was in the day when you could get exiled or stoned if you found yourself in such an unexplained condition.
But she said "yes". She knew the dangers, but she trusted that God knew what he was doing when he chose her to bear His Son.
We trust that God placed Olivia in this family, and we will do the best we can to help her become who she was born to be. We pray for the wisdom to be the best parents we can be. God will provide.
When you sign up to adopt domestically, you have all sorts of options to limit your field of "acceptable" children. You can choose to be open only to a specific race and health condition, or you can open yourself to other situations. We don't know what God has in store for us with our second child, but we've decided to be open and let Him take the lead. God knows what we can handle and what gifts and talents we have to offer our children. I'm confident that He's preparing us to be uniquely suited to handle whatever challenges our next child throws our way.