Today is the Mid-Autumn Festival in Ch!n@. As I looked up at the moon tonight, I realized that you probably looked up at the same moon.
Part of the reason I blog is so that I have a place to process. Part of the reason why I blog is so that I can turn this blog into a personal book for our child — you were pursued, prayed for, wanted. You are prayed for so much. Part of the reason I blog is so that I don’t forget the ways the Lord, in all his compassion and goodness, is a part of this. There is a lot of our journey that I choose not to share publicly–many posts on this blog are private. There will be information shared only with our child out of respect for his or her story – it will be his or her story to share someday and not mine.
For the past year, I have prayed a very specific prayer. “Father, when we receive a referral, please give us clear discernment if the little one is our child.” I have also prayed very specific prayers for adequate care, nutrition, stimulation, and adoration from our child’s caregivers.
Adoption isn’t romantic. Adoption is not a fairytale. Adoption is full of loss. Adoption is full of grief. For us, adoption has been an opportunity more than any other to say, “Lord, please guide us.” We are only at the beginning of that prayer. Adoption is full of hard decisions. Adoption involves real children–children who’ve endured trauma. The reality and weight of this are not lost on me. And really, adoption doesn’t make Bryson and I superheroes (meaning, please don’t tell us we are amazing people). instead of respecting Bryson and me, you should direct that respect towards our child.
Throughout our experience with infertility and now adoption, I have learned that my plans are a joke. I have learned to pray for supernatural wisdom and discernment. I have learned to listen to that discernment. I have learned to let go the moment I feel like I want control. I have learned what the peace of the Lord feels like, and recognize when it is absent. I have learned that none of this is in my control. I have learned that the Lord is faithful.
And even though I say this, I was caught off guard by the unexpected. This week, I was stunned when something did not go according to “plan.” And in adoption terms, nothing is predictable. However, my social worker told us we could be waiting for a referral from November until May (or longer). So, I had resolved in my mind to wait – to be patient – to live in the now. And I was. I have students to assist, work projects, life to live, stuff to do. I never want to LIVE so much for the FUTURE that I miss out on the wonderful things right in front of me.
And so you may have seen my post on Facebook on Sunday night,
Tomorrow night, Ch!n@ will release the list of orphans who are eligible to be matched with adoptive parents. Please pray with us that lots of families will be matched.
I think many of you thought I was asking you to pray for US that we would be matched. I, on the other hand, thought “there is absolutely zero chance.” One friend wrote, “Eeeeek” on my wall. And, me, well, I said, “No, we won’t be matched until November – May.”
On Monday, I worked 16 hours. My boss is wonderfully supportive, and mentioned the list being released that night. Again, I said there wasn’t a chance, but to pray for all of the wonderful families who are waiting.
After the long day, I was delirious. I was anxious about all I had to do Tuesday and Wednesday at work – my schedule was booked back to back to back with absolutely no margin. I asked Bry to pray that I would make it. Before bed, I posted in one of the Ch!n@ Adoption Facebook groups, “It’s been a quiet night. Anyone hear about the shared list? Any matches?” Little did I know what would be waiting for me in the morning. (Cliff hanger)
I woke up early Tuesday morning, with every intention of being at work no later than 7 am. But when I started to wake up, I heard, “MANDY!!!!”
“What? What’s wrong?!” I replied out of concern. “Mandy, our social worker (name omitted intentionally) said to call her ASAP. You know what that means.” There was so much urgency in his voice – he used that tone I’ve only heard a few times in our 13 year relationship. I looked at him, and wondered, “Are we this child’s mamma and baba?” My next thought was, “I am just so grateful Bry and I are on the same team.”
It was VERY early. Before 7. I called our social worker.
She said, “Well, I have a little girl’s file for you to review.” (out of respect to this precious one, I won’t share any more details about her). “You have 48 hours to accept her referral or not, and if you accept it, you’ll need to develop a care plan that you will submit to Ch!n@.” (Which really meant we had 24 hours to accept and 24 hours to develop a care plan if we accepted it).
I was in complete shock.
I kept saying to our social worker, “BUT IT IS SEPTEMBER! IT IS NOT NOVEMBER! IT IS SEPTEMBER!!!!!!” She laughed and laughed at me. “Well, sometimes this happens.”
I was a wreck. I used to tease Bryson about being the one who panicked, but after this week, I realized I panic too. I had a work meeting at 8 am, and I could not form full sentences. When I parked my car at school that morning, I left my car running. Yes, running. I ran into my boss’ office. “I got THE CALL.” He knew what I meant. “Clear your schedule–all of it,” he said. He was right, we had to have quiet moments, moments to seek discernment. A moment to read this little girl’s file. Moments to be still. There was a ton in my schedule that could not be re-arranged. However, I was able to talk to a couple of close friends.
I did not have peace. To be honest, before I even opened the file, I did not have peace.
Bryson did not have peace either.
There was no peace. We’ve taken big and scary steps on this journey, but we’ve always let peace be our guide.
We spent the entire evening on the phone with others. No peace.
And so, we followed peace. We said no. I told our social worker, and she affirmed us for listening to that discernment.
But just like I know my niece is my sister’s daughter, I knew this adorable little girl was not ours. I knew it. It was still tough. It was emotional. It was absolutely exhausting. But it was the right decision.
On Tuesday, I read Psalm 46 NASV –
God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; Though its waters roar and foam,Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,The holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold.
On Wednesday, the heaviness of that decision sunk in. There were moments I just wanted to ugly cry.
Because there is a little girl, on the other side of the world. She needs a mamma and a baba. “Lord, are we her mamma and baba?” And even though we said no, I know she is precious to our Lord, I know she is someone’s daughter, and I know that He knows who her parents are. I know she is a precious daughter of my gracious Lord.
Adoption is full of hard decisions. But I am convinced that the Lord is in this and that the Lord is with us, with this little girl, and with our child. May he be our stronghold.
Thank you Lord for giving us discernment.
This week marked the first week of classes at the university where I teach. On the first day of classes, I have my students write questions anonymously that they’d like me to answer about myself. Instead of telling them what I think they’d like to know, I just simply answer their questions. One student in my morning class asked, “Dr. Moore, do you have family at JBU?”
“Yes–not biological family, but in a very real sense I have family here.”
When I have been asked to apply for jobs at other universities, it is the community here that keeps us in Siloam.
This week, we were TREMENDOUSLY blessed by our community.
A couple of weeks ago, we were notified that we received The Titus Task Matching Grant (see http://www.thetitustask.com/moore-family.html) They will match up to $2500 in donations from family and friends, making the total donation over $5,000. This is an enormous blessing.
Some of our friends own a coffee shop that Bry and I are enthusiastic about supporting. On Thursday, they collected donations and tips to donate to our Titus Task Grant. They asked our community to come out and support us. Even more amazing is the fact that they would match the first $400 donated. Our church also sent out an email asking the congregation to please go to Pour Jon’s (the coffee shop) to support our adoption.
I always feel so awkward asking people for help. But, every time I do, I am so humbled by all I learn about people. I’ve learned that Bry and I know some of the kindest people. I mean, we are so touched by the outpouring of love, prayer, and financial support. Our friend Chris teased us, “I knew people loved you two, but I did not know how much they love you!”
On Thursday, our community and Pour Jon’s donated $1,250 towards our Titus Task matching grant. Completely blown away. Bry and I have $20,000 in adoption payments left to make, and this is a HUGE blessing to us.
I went to Pour Jon’s Thursday morning for my favorite quad shot iced latte with soy milk (yes, four shots!) It was such an encouragement to see Pour Jon’s packed out with people from our church and from the university where I teach. I also went to Pour Jon’s for lunch, and was so stunned when Chris gave me a tin of money and note someone left. A girl or woman had been saving her spare change and coins for a year and she donated it to our adoption. She said she couldn’t rationalize spending it on anything else. So moved by her act of generosity. I saved the woman’s note for our baby book.
In the photos, you can see a packed Pour Jon’s, me hiding awkwardly behind my laptop, and the large glass jar for donations.
Bry and I ended the week with our dear friends who are like family. They called and texted at 1 AM that they were in labor, however, my phone was on silent and died during the night. Early that morning, Bry discovered the missed call and text, and we rushed to the birthing center. Our friends were still in labor. We watched their toddler at the birthing center (and we took him to Barnes & Noble) while they brought their new little Cohen into the world. I kept asking big brother if he was excited, and with total enthusiasm he would scream, “EXCITED!” and throw his arms into the air and shake out of pure excitement. We were all that excited to see them grow from a family of three to four. It was very special for Bry and me to be there. We talked a lot to big brother about how exciting it was to be at the hospital the day he was born. So precious.
A good week to be reminded of the gift of family. Thanks for loving us and being so kind.
Today, I was reminded at church how much the Lord provides for us. Staring at all of the adoption fees and bills from the infertility testing, this time last year, I wondered how on earth were we ever going to be able to afford this. Today during Eucharist, the prayer required us to respond, “God is our Helper; therefore we will not fear.”
What a sweet reminder this week.