Oct 14, 2010

A Life on Hold, Defined.

Two years ago this week Jeremy & I attended an Educational Training for Domestic Adoption with our adoption agency.  We had literally just begun the paperwork "phase" of our adoption and attending this required, half-day class really started to make the whole thing real. Very little that we actually talked about has stuck with me (except for the part about me using poor "adoption language" because I was so focused on NOT using poor "adoption language" and I got to be an example for the whole class. And then there was the part where I was made to feel like an idiot because I have such a strong relationship with my family...but I digress). Thankfully, at this class we were given a big binder with tons of articles and information regarding adoption, child development, resources for what to do when there may be an adoption related issue with our child. On our ride home I began flipping through the binder and happened upon an interesting article titled "Lessons Learned While Waiting" by Dawn Powell, an adoptive mother.

The first lesson was "Don't put your life on hold while waiting. Make plans, commit to engagements, vacations, etc. Plan and do whatever you would do normally. Psalm 90:12" At the time I remember thinking, "That should be easy since we probably won't be waiting that long anyway." Cut to two years later and a year and a half in waiting status with our agency. Over the course of the year and half of waiting there were times that it was really hard to not be "on hold" and there have been times where life has almost been normal.

This week, when I picked up this binder to page through it again (I had no idea, but it was the exact two year mark, weird, right?), I turned to this page once more and I immediately felt sick. I've been flooded with memories of choices I've made, feelings I've had that all equal a life on hold. If someone had told me then, what I know now, I wonder how things would be different. Well, in the interest of hopefully helping someone else not make the same mistakes, here are some examples of a life on hold:
  • Daily Life: When I first left my full-time job in order to work with Jeremy's company, I was ecstatic. I was so thankful that God had given me the opportunity, that he had blessed their hard work so that it was even feasible (still praising him now for that). But I went even further and saw it as a sign that God was freeing me up to be a stay-at-home mom just like I'd always dreamed. I spent most of my days getting the house ready for a baby, making sure everything was clean and organized. Everything I did was because we had/have an adoption in the works and everyone says how sudden it is when you get "the call". For a while, I always wanted be at home when the agency called. When I went to the store, I would envision myself having to have what could be a very emotional conversation in the middle of Wegmans (for example).
  • Vacations: Yes, we went on vacations during these past two years. They were even fun. But to be honest I don't think I was completely present. On more than one occasion we had just gotten information about an adoptive situation and requested our profile to be shown to the birth parents. During our vacation we were waiting to hear what the outcome would be. I spent an unhealthy amount of time daydreaming about how fun it would be to get "the news" while we were with friends and family. Then, as time wore on, I would know in my gut that we weren't chosen and my thoughts would switch to "how am I going to keep it together and pretend everything is ok" when we would get the confirmation. 
  • Missions: During our two years in this adoption journey there have been two opportunities to serve on short term missions trips. Both opportunities were declined because I was fearful of what would happen if we finally were chosen and we were no where near home and couldn't be reached by the agency. I'm so ashamed that I let my fears and my selfishness get in the way of what could have been a wonderful time of serving God.
I think the living of my life has been on hold. I may go through the motions and make plans, attend events, etc. In the article, Dawn Powell urged waiting parents to do what they would normally do. But I would go further, I would encourage waiting parents to strive to be present while you are doing what you normally do. Fight the desire to make everything about the waiting. Try to experience life to the fullest, take advantage of every opportunity that God gives you during this time.  Sure, waiting is a huge part of your life...unescapable for a time...and no one can really understand it unless you've been through it (or are still going through it). I wish I would have known what exactly I had to guard against in the beginning - the desire to live in the waiting, instead of living while I'm waiting. Thankfully, God has decided to make it clear to me now. I wish I could flip a switch and just stop the struggle, but in fact, it will take a battle to actually start living life again.

Oh! Teach us to live well! 
Teach us to live wisely and well!
Psalm 90:12 MSG


margie said...

i think you may have just posted this blog a little bit ago-- thanks for your honesty, liv. It is an encouragement to me. I love you! (p.s. when i clicked on your blog, B. saw it and said, "is the music gonna come on?" I guess she recognizes your blog!

Amanda said...

First of all, I love you. Second of all, that was a beautifull post. I think you should submit it to an adoptive parents' magazine. It really is quite powerful, and I think it could really speak to others who are also waiting.

Devon said...

You are an absolute gem.
I love you.

Alison said...

I agree with Amanda that you should submit this to a magazine. It's well written and so incredibly honest and relevant. It really spoke to you!