I’ve always heard asking “what if?” is extremely dangerous…because truthfully, it borrows trouble. Anytime I have talked to my dad about something I’m concerned about, he ALWAYS says “Don’t go borrowing trouble.” And it’s true. What if’s are borrowing trouble. But in this particular instance, my what if, brings me to my knees. It shakes me to the core and usually leaves me in a puddle of tears. It’s vital I ask myself this “what if” daily.
Six years ago, we began our adoption journey. We had experienced loss and disappointment. We had lost a child. We had stress on our marriage; it was a difficult time. We always knew we wanted to adopt but didn’t know when it would happen in our family plan. We started the process of adoption from Ethiopia, one being that’s where we felt led to adopt from, but to be honest, an international adoption seemed safer to us. We didn’t want to face the disappointment of a birth mom changing her mind. We didn’t want an open adoption. The very thought of that scared us to death. I had dreamed of being a mom my entire life and the thought of sharing that with someone, freaked me out. I didn’t want to share my children. I think every mother can understand that. But God had other plans. All that I had planned in my head, what I had envisioned for us a family, was completely different than what God had planned, and thank goodness for that.
When we adopted Pierce, we had agreed to an open adoption. It was scary. It was really scary. I’ll never forget the day she came to say goodbye to him. Ben and I were a wreck before she even got there. I was so scared she was going to change her mind. And there’s no judgment there…I get it. In fact, that’s what scared us the most. Here was this incredible child, and the thought of choosing another family for him to grow up in, baffles me…floors me…humbles me…brings me to my knees. I’ve said it before – I am so grateful for adoption, but I don’t know if I could do it. These women are my heroes. What took place in that room that day, ruined us. We saw a mother grieve over her child. We saw her hold him and weep as she held him close to her. I saw the struggle, the utter torment of saying goodbye. And just like that, all I wanted to do was share my children. I desperately wanted her in his life. And then this beautiful family was birthed. More beautiful than I could imagine.
June 27, 2016 our little Rose bud was born. Again, we watched this beautiful mother say goodbye and it wrecked me. Fear led up to that moment. I couldn’t quite celebrate until I knew our birth mom was secure in her decision. Again…this woman…I just can’t even describe the love we have for her. I will never understand why she chose us. Unless you have experienced adoption, you don’t quite understand these things that go through your head. I know those of you reading this that know us, think “well look at you guys…you provide a wonderful home and life for these kids. I know why she chose you.” And I see that, but until you experience this, you still don’t understand and it humbles you daily.
February 16, 2018, John Merrick was born. This birth opened my eyes to so many things and the whole point of this particular blog. You see when Pierce was born, because of all the complications, we were in a different hospital with him than birth mom. We were alone with him from day one. With Rosie, we were able to have our own room and I was able to do skin to skin from the moment she was born. Birth mom recovered in another room and got her time with Rosie and we did as well. With Merrick, we roomed with birth mom. I truthfully didn’t know how this was going to go. I was nervous. I didn’t want to invade on her time with him. I ddin’t want to step on toes. But this experience alone has to be the most beautiful and redeeming one of all of them. This doesn’t negate our other experiences, it just shifted things for me…for our family…for our future.
Our birth mom had a little girl between Pierce and Rosie that she had chosen to parent. It is our heart that our children know her and know her as their sibling. It will take work and effort but 100% worth it to us. At one point in our time with birth mom and dad, their daughter came to visit. Pierce came up to the hospital with Ben and him and his sister (not Rosie) played together for an hour or so and I felt the Holy Spirit say “you could have missed out on all of this because of your fear.” It wasn’t in a disciplinary way but more of a “aren’t you glad you didn’t give into your fear?” It will never leave me.
That moment is engrained in my head forever. You see, fear has taken a lot from me. I think if we are honest with ourselves, fear robs a lot of us of some beautiful things. Could this have gone the other way? Absolutely. There could have been pain. There could have been grief. I’m not saying it’s everyone story, but something I have learned through the ups and downs, is as long as I have Him, it’s going to be okay. It will still hurt. It will still be hard, but I’m not alone and because of that, I can face that fear and take the risk and trust that no matter what, He will meet me there. But here’s the other side of it…it can be beautiful…it can be redeeming…it can be better than you can imagine. That is where I find myself daily.
So as you can see, my what if, scares me. What if we had said, “nope, this is too risky…too scary…the possibility of it all hurts too much”. What if? Do you see what all we would have missed out on? Do you see that the risk is worth it? What is staring you in the face that you won’t approach because it’s too scary? WHAT IF, my friends…what if? You are not alone. You are not forgotten. You are not out to sea on your own in the middle of a storm. He is there. He’s always there. Let Him rise up in you and be your strength…”because He lives, I can face tomorrow…because He lives, all fear is gone”. Let Easter be this beautiful reminder that He keeps His promises. He rose from the dead (I mean, that’s a big one) means He’ll keep His promise of never leaving your side. You have the creator of the universe by your side. Don’t let fear be your ruler. Don’t let fear dictate your future. (I’m preaching to myself right now :)). Take that scary next step. Put your yes on the table. your world will be rocked but you are not alone…What if? What if?