Does It Get Any Easier?

I've gotten the question/statement several times since receiving the referral of our darling 2nd boy, "It must be a lot easier this time around, with kids and the busyness of life to distract you from the wait and the months of paperwork?" Well, that would seem logical...we have three kids, we homeschool, our baby of the clan is a bit high maintenance (haha), and most days it feels like we have everything under the sun going on. I too, thought maybe this time around would be different. Easier in a way. But, I was wrong. Boy, was I wrong. You know that saying, ignorance is bliss? Well, it is.

When we went through the adoption process the first time with Mekonen, there was SO much we didn't know or understand about adoption AND parenting. So much. Jon and I are well traveled...we've been to lots and lots of places outside the United States, most of them being in developing countries. We weren't blind to the struggles and difficulties of every day living that much of the world lives in. There are very few things that "shock" us. But your life changes...everything changes when you step foot into the doors of an orphanage and take hold of your son. Everything changes...

You see, this time around, I know what my son is likely experiencing. Now don't get me wrong, I believe he is being taken care of, and I believe that our agency is doing their best to see that his needs are being met. But no child should live without the love and stability of a family. With every passing day that our son lives outside of a family, I know the things that become more and more likely- attachment, coping mechanisms, anxiety, fear, self-survival skills, uncertainty, health and development. No Mama wants to miss out on her son growing up, and that realization first happens in the realm of his birth mom. Despite stereotypes, or life choices, or devastating circumstances, no birth mom wants to miss out on her child growing up. So it's first there. And then, it's here...in my heart. In our hearts. You see, back then, before Mekonen, we thought we "knew" what we were missing. We thought we knew what HE was missing. But we had no idea. Now...now, over 6 years later, we know exactly what those things are.

This time around, I know what he's missing. When you walk into an orphanage, not just to volunteer, or to spend some time with kids, but to pick up your child, you KNOW, in a different way, what your child is missing by being there. 6 years later, we know what he missed. And on top of that, I know what we are missing. I now have the experience of being a Mom, of having children, of being a family, and I know just how much of his life we are now missing- the ordinary parenting days, the difficult parenting days, and the parenting days filled with so much joy you could bust. I know the fun of experiencing "firsts" and the fun of birthday parties and family traditions.

My mind still cannot wrap itself around the fact that by the time our little guy comes home, we will have missed the first 3 years of his life. I believe part of my inability to wrap my head around this is God's protection of my heart. I've been praying for it for months. Not that I won't necessarily feel the pain, because when we stop feeling, we lose part of our humanity, but I've been praying for God to protect my heart and my mind. To protect the heart and mind of my son, to protect our hearts from the pains of children and parents not being together. I believe God is doing this...but it's still hard.

So I wish I could say the second time around is easier. I wish it were true. But, it's not. There's a certain depth of heart that comes from walking difficult paths of life. We are far from "seasoned" but we feel steadier, more mature in our faith and in our love, and viewing adoption from that place is humbling and sobering.

So while we wait, we continue to pray for our son, for his birth family, for his heart, for his present days and his future. And we continue to pray for God to uphold all of us as we wait. Because, it doesn't get any easier...

Celebrating a missed milestone...our little boy turned 2 years old on July 9th. 

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