I've been a nurse for more than 10 years, and I've heard about side effects from medications most of my nursing days. Lately I've been thinking of all of the things that have changed over the past almost two years that we have been pursuing our little girl, and I realized that they are much like side effects to medications! There are many that I will be more than happy to see go when all of this is over and we can move on to "normal" life, but I know that there are many that will be with me for the rest of my life, and I think that is probably a good thing. I've said before that all of this changes you, there is no way around that, and maybe it's a good thing. Here's the side effects I've been experiencing (and I think these are mild compared to the ones you hear on every drug commercial on tv!)
1. Losing your mind slowly. Slow to the point that you just look up one day from crying over a blog to realize that you. have. lost. it. You have a hard time thinking of anything other than this adoption, and wonder why everyone else isn't as obsessive as you about it!
2. A small....well....maybe not so small, obsession with email. I cannot even count the number of times a day I refresh my email when I'm waiting for an answer. I wonder, why the agency hasn't emailed me back when I emailed them an ENTIRE hour ago!! Don't they know that I need to know right now!!! (see number 1).
3. I speak an entirely new language now. It's full of things like special focus, GUZ numbers, and other fun things like USCIS (I know you are curious now). There really should be an entire dictionary just for adoption. Just ask anyone going through a Chinese adoption what their LID, PA. or LOA is, and they will know you are part of the "in" club!
4. I have become much more gutsy. A few years ago I would have never really stepped out and gone door to door to businesses to ask for donations. I would have never felt comfortable asking for help with things related to anything I was doing. Now, I find myself still somewhat uncomfortable asking for help, but have found that I will do whatever I need to to get her home! There is a strength that I have found from admitting I can't do it all myself....wow, did I just write that?? Must have something to do with number 1!!
5. I have really started to see some incredible good in people. I have met a group of people who are willing to advocate fiercely for children who need homes. I have seen people adopting children with special needs that most of us would run screaming from. These are children that many times get the label of "unadoptable". Stop for a moment and think about that word. I'm thankful that our God never labeled me with that, as I'm certain I probably deserve. I have also been truly overwhelmed by people we know and even those we don't know offering to do whatever they can to help. They pray, they donate, and they offer words of encouragement that mean so much to us. I've had people contact me to donate things for us to take to the orphanage (people I have never met). There really is so much good in this world, and I refuse to believe otherwise. I smiled the other day when we got the update about Lainey and it described her as "optimistic". That's right, my sweet girl....there is so much good.
6. I've started to realize that my quote at the top of my page is maybe not all correct. "you were given this life because you were strong enough to live it"....maybe. But maybe I was given this life and these ups and downs so that I would realize that I CAN'T do it on my own. Maybe the struggles we go through are to remind us that sometimes we need to get down on our knees and ask for help. I know for a fact that I could not have gotten through this past year without His help. I am learning to lean more on my faith. I can see more and more where His plan is always best. Case in point....Lainey's adoption paperwork was done around the time that Russian adoption was banned. She is specific to our agency, and this is not the agency that we worked with for Russia. We had to change, and lost alot of money doing that, but didn't have a choice. Another mama waiting for her match for a little girl from China reviewed her file and she and her husband prayed and knew that God was telling them she wasn't theirs. It's because of that that I felt that we could look at her file. She was so touched by this little girl that she had been praying for her to find her family. She lives just up the road from us and will get to meet her when she gets home. If that's not a "God thing", I don't know what is!!
The side effects of all of this are surely painful some days. But, as we say in the medical world, the benefit outweighs the side effects. I can't even explain how our benefit outweighs all of our side effects!!! Please keep praying for us as we get through these next steps.