Saturday, December 5, 2015

Worry Less, Love More (and why I'm not very good at it)

Confession time.

This has been a rough week for me in regards to the waiting that is such a huge part of the adoption process.  And when I say rough, I mean I nearly came unglued yesterday on the director of my home study agency, who just doesn't seem to be in any hurry to get our finished report to us.

It's funny that God laid the phrase Worry Less, Love More so heavily on my heart the night we decided to forge ahead and pursue this adoption.  I honestly believe it's because He knew this was going to be the mantra that I would need to keep me sane through all of this.

For those of you who don't know me personally, let me introduce myself to you:  I'm a bit of a control freak.  I do NOT like unpredictable situations.  I love timelines and clear expectations.  I like step-by-step processes and systems that function as efficiently as possible. (hence my chosen career track in mortgage operations)  I'm probably not among the most impatient people in the world... but  I'm probably a Tier 2 on the imaginary scale of impatience.  I'm definitely one of those I'll-just-do-it myself-because-I-have-a-hard-time-trusting-anyone-else-to-do-it-right sort of people.

Going into this adoption process, I kept reading blogs and Facebook posts of adoptive parents who were just agonizing over the wait.  Over and over again, people kept telling me "Oh the wait is the hardest part, but it's SO worth it".  To be honest, I really didn't understand what all of the fuss was about.  At this point in my journey, I had nervously and anxiously agreed to God that I would set my worries aside and trust in His plan for my life, but I was still absolutely terrified.  In my mind, I was in no rush to get this adoption finished because I did not feel prepared to become a parent. I assumed that everyone who struggled through the waiting had been wanting to become parents for years already, and were at the end of their rope in their ability to wait. I had only recently decided I wanted to give up the orderliness of my life and surrender that to child-rearing.  I assumed I would never become one of the anxious types, checking their email every 30 minutes, consuming their thoughts with getting to the next step (and the next, and the next).

I'm not sure exactly when all of that changed, but boy, has it ever!  The problem with the internet, and the ability to become connected to so many people who are in the same situations you are, is that you also have the ability to be constantly comparing yourselves to others.  This can hold true in all areas of life- Am I doing as well financially as my peers? Is my baby developing as fast as my friend's baby? How nice is my house compared to others I graduated with? How many trips do I take compared to my friends? etc etc. The adoption community online is a very connected community.  That has been SUCH A HELP to me as I navigate this unfamiliar territory. I have learned so many great fundraising ideas, have received so many great tips for paperwork completion, have a list of what to pack for China, have lists of what to buy for our child's room, and so on.  Unfortunately, though, one other thing this community has allowed me to do is to constantly chart my progress against others who began their process around the same time we did.  And when I started to fall behind others who started "the race" at the same time we did, I started becoming anxious, impatient, frustrated, and, in yesterday's case, just plain angry.

What began to happen is that I lost my ability to see those involved with my adoption process as fellow humans, with busy lives and long days, who work hard and share a common goal of helping orphans.  I lost my ability to grant Grace to those people, and to trust God that He has this under control, and that everything will come together in His perfect timing.  I forgot my mantra... Worry Less, Love More.

I'll spare you all the details, but essentially what has been frustrating me this week,  is that in a perfectly timed and fine-tuned world, James and I could have realistically had our home study report in hand by the first week of November.  It is now the first week of December, and we still do not have it.  We've completed everything we can at this point, and cannot move forward in our process without this report.  That means that an extra month has passed by, without really getting anywhere in this process (or so it seems).  That is a tough pill to swallow.  That means that we will wait one more month before seeing their precious face, learning their age or their gender, and ultimately, that a child will wait without a family for one more month.
(sidenote:  I have been promised that the report will be ready for pickup on Tuesday- hallelujah!)

However, when I start looking at the glass half full, November was not a month wasted.  We started a puzzle fundraiser and through that have raised the cost of our immigration approval (due the day our homestudy is ready) and have raised some of the funds for home study cost itself.  We had a super generous friend host another fundraiser (a Thirty One sale) for us, that will also bless us financially and also got us some great travel gear for our trip,  some storage options for our child's bedroom, and an adorable diaper/daycare bag for when we get home-all for free!.
We had one extra month (and 4 paychecks) to continue paying down on some of our debt and also save up money for our fees and travel costs.

The thing about time that I always seem to forget, is that you can't get it back.  So if something isn't going my way, or time is passing the way I think it should... I need to find other ways to spend my time that is still worthwhile.  I need to find ways to live in love instead of worry.  James and I will only be a party of 2 for a "few" more months.... we should be making the most of these moments, enjoying our peaceful, quiet evenings while they last, because I know there will be plenty of exhausted, stressed out times as parents that we will long for just-the-two-of-us time.  We should be getting (the cheap/free) home repairs done while we have the time to do them.  We should be applying for grants, reading up on attachment, and so many other productive ways to ready ourselves for parenthood.

So here I go...  I'm going to try my best to push the reset button in my mind and heart and try to regain my patience, grace, and trust.  It's time to hold myself accountable to the name of my blog and the phrase on my t-shirt: Worry Less, Love More.    We are only in the beginning of many long months of waiting, waiting, waiting.  With each step we take in the process, a new wait will begin.

I am going to list my worries, because I think it's important to name our struggles. I think that naming struggles, and owning them, is the first step in letting go of them.  So here I go.

-I worry that our home study report will be rejected by China
-I worry that we won't sell enough puzzle pieces and I'll have to do another fundraiser
-I worry that we won't get our dossier completed before some of our documents expire and we'll have to start all over again
-I worry that we won't get our dossier to China before they shut down for the Chinese New Year, and that will cause even more delays and waiting
-I worry that we will have a hard time being matched with a child that feels right for our family
-I worry about medical bills when we return home
-I worry about having to send our child to daycare and if that will interrupt our bonding with him/her
-I worry about policy changes affecting our paperwork process
-I worry our documents will be lost in the mail at some point and we'll have to start from the beginning
-I worry I will spend a lot of time applying for grants and it won't be worth my while

Ok, I've named them.  Some of these are silly, ridiculous things to worry about... but isn't that what worry is?  SILLY.  I believe in a God who cures disease, who raised his Son from the dead, who created THE EARTH... and I'm worried about paper?   If God has called me to adopt, He will see me through this.  He will provide the funding (and guide us in our saving, fundraising, and grant-applying).  He WILL see this adoption through, according to HIS plan and HIS timeline.  I've been fighting with him over the reigns, and it's time to let go.

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