I’m at a loss for words. And, if you know me, this is a once in a lifetime thing. Please read on to understand the crazy but hopeful path we’ve just set foot on.
Once upon a time, as you may remember, we hosted a happy, handsome, energetic young boy from a European country through an orphan hosting program and fell in love with him. We proceeded to host him two more times, and fell in love even further. We’ve always wanted a son and desperately wanted to pursue adoption, but he was not legally available and wouldn’t be for a long time – possibly not until it was too late. We were crushed and although we moved on from that dream, a large part of our hearts remained many many miles away.
We thought about our boy (who we will refer to on public forums as “Superman”), every single day for the last three years since he came into our lives. How could we not? (A few pictures will paint a thousand words…)
Over the years, we have kept a very good long distance relationship with him and had come to the conclusion that we would have to make do with just having a long distance relationship forever and that all doors to make him our son were closed for good.
And then the news came a few months ago. We were recently notified that Superman has been cleared for adoption.
Obviously this was a huge shock for us. During the past 2 years, much has changed. We hosted a young girl from another country and suffered massive heartbreak. She wanted us to adopt her, so we moved heaven and earth to do so. However, when all was said and done and it was time for her to make a decision in court, she was unable to face all of the changes and chose to return to what she knew, her own country, her own language, and her past life. We continue to pray for her as she’s chosen a difficult road. But this is not her story. It’s Superman’s.
After the past year, we certainly did not emerge unchanged. For better or worse, we are very different people now. We have grown tremendously from it, and although it hurt like hell, I have no regrets.
But could we let what happened in the past year keep us from the dreams we’ve had for three years? Would people think us completely crazy if we tried to adopt Superman?
Those were the questions that kept us up at night, and kept me sick to my stomach for the last few months.
Although growth has happened, there has also been fallout from our loss. We’ve been hurt. We have lost so much. Now we battle fear, skepticism, and distrust. Sometimes I wish I could go back to the happily trusting naïve person I once was. Then I think about the 147 million abandoned children in this world who have been hurt by the family they deeply loved. I realize that I have an extremely small taste of what they must feel. I have a new understanding of the conflict in their mind and heart when they see someone they truly WANT to love but are held back by intense palpable fear of what may happen if they open their hearts. The vulnerability and potential for pain or rejection is almost too much to handle. During the months praying for wisdom and direction, I spent many evenings crying over the fear of possibly losing him if I open up my heart and pursue him. Sometimes I thought it might be easier and safer to hold back and do nothing than to risk my heart once again. In a way, I am thankful for this perspective… this emotional limp that I walk with… I have more understanding and more compassion for these kids than I ever did before. It causes me to love them all the more, and it gives me a little more insight into how to patiently love and wait for trust to grow.
“To love is to risk not being loved in return. To hope is to risk pain. To try is to risk failure, but risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.” -Leo Buscaglia
So, as you’ve probably guessed, my husband and I have chosen to push through our fears and simply take steps forward and “do it scared.” We have made the choice to risk love again. Despite the past… Despite the uncertainty of the future… and in spite of the fear.
We know that we would always regret it if we don’t try and see where the road takes us. We have never stopped loving Superman these past 3 years, and since he will age out later this year, we have this single opportunity to pursue him before it’s too late and he is no longer available for adoption.
“Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway.” – John Wayne
We have no idea if this will be successful or not… we’re just taking it one baby step at a time. We have spent several months thinking about it from every angle, praying, researching, asking questions, sitting on it, and seeking wisdom and counsel from experienced people we trust, including our pastor and professionals in the adoption community. So far every door we’ve knocked on has opened, and every red light in our path has turned green. We’ve come to the conclusion that if doors keep opening, we will keep walking through them. And if the doors stop opening, we will make our peace with whatever the outcome may be.
We don’t wish to be as public about the journey this time around, so you may not hear quite as much; but this is what we’ll be up to in 2015. You may see an occasional update and some fundraising opportunities. We have a reasonable amount of fear, but at the same time we also have come to a place of peace and confidence that we are following the right direction.
I’ve been terrified to ask for help, but my friends say that I will get more support than I believe that I will. So, here’s me being brave.
If you are behind us and want to be part of our story and help, here are the ways you can do that.
We need prayers.
Please be praying for us over the next 5-6 months to have wisdom and discernment and clear heads. Pray for Superman too, as this will be a difficult change for him, of course. We know that the enemy immediately begins to attack families when they make this decision. He (the enemy) hates adoption, because it reflects the gospel and the heart of God. Pray protection around us and around Superman. Pray for the process to be smooth and for God to provide the funds necessary. Pray that our hands will remain open to whatever the future holds and that we will be ok one way or another with whatever the outcome is.
“Hope is a risk that must be run.” -George Bernanos
We need funds.
We have a need to raise $30k, however we understand that so many of our friends have already given so much to us for previous adoption attempts. We are incredibly grateful for your love and support of our family. Please do not feel that you need to donate to our fund again. If you feel uncomfortable with the risk that is involved, we will not be hurt or offended in any way. However, if you do want to be part of our story and feel directed by God to give, we would be so thankful.
Adoption and travel costs add up. So, any bit helps, whether it’s $10 or $1000.
Here is our fundraising profile (tax deductible) with a little information about our family and this new adventure.
PLEASE NOTE: If your company offers donation matching, please ask them if they’d be willing to match your contribution. The grant fund is held by a non-profit org called AdoptTogether which is a project of Hoping Hearts Foundation. Your company could write a check to them (or donate online) and specify our name. We so appreciate it! If you would like more details or instructions on how to do that, you can email me at email@example.com
If you wish to make a donation directly to our immediate cost needs and do not need a tax-deduction, you can send it through paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org
And, if you’d rather contribute to a fundraiser – watch me on Facebook for those as they’ll be coming very soon!
We need connections.
We are trying very hard to come up with some clever fundraising ideas so people are excited about helping us. Part of that will be an auction for collectible items. If you know anyone in professional sports or with celebrity status who has a heart for orphans and might want to contribute an autographed item, we would be so very very thankful.
Some ideas for people you may know to reach out to – authors, college or pro football or soccer players, people enmeshed in the geek culture, musicians, live theater, people in movie or TV, or philanthropists.
We need help spreading the word.
There are 147 million orphans out there, many of which need some kind of support. We may not be able to help every one, but you can help spread the word about this one. Please share this post. And, if you see a post from me on Facebook about a fundraiser and you want to share that, I would be eternally grateful.
I pray you will partner with us either emotionally, spiritually, or financially to embrace hope, take the risk, and extend that same hope to the hopeless. They say that real love is a free gift to the recipient with no strings attached. What they often forget to mention is that it is anything but free for the giver. Love is paid for at a steep price and will cost every part of you. But it’s worth it.
“Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune- without the words, and never stops at all.” -Emily Dickinson