November 25, 2013
the next big thing? (part two)
A couple weeks ago I shared some of what Matt and I have been thinking recently about where we’re headed next and promised a part two to that post. You can read part one here.
Now that life feels a bit more stable, we’ve been talking about what comes next for us, in particular, when and how we might be able to add more children to our family.
A huge part of me wants to work as hard as possible to go back to China to adopt another child as soon as possible. Pretty regularly I hear stories that shatter my heart. Today I read this story about a little boy who may literally die if not adopted and provided with good medical care and who is, in the meantime, dying emotionally due to the stigma his medical issues have within the community. Last week I heard about a precious little girl – a friend of a boy who was adopted by a friend – who died in an orphanage in China without a family. And a few weeks ago there was the post in a Facebook group to which I belong in which a member shared a picture of a little boy and explained that he had been her son’s foster brother, and she had other pictures and videos and information she could share, and she asked, “Is anyone interested in him?” How can there be people on this planet, small children created in the image of God, in whom no one is interested? How can that be? And how are we okay with the fact that this is the reality in which we live? My heart longs for us to be able to add another child (and probably another..and another…) who has no family into our family.
And yet I know that, barring the miraculous, it will probably be a couple years before we’re able to do that again. We just aren’t in a financial position even to start the process, in terms of both our monthly obligations and our savings (or lack thereof). And we would like to travel with our whole family again – we saw how incredibly beneficial that was for both Miranda and CaiQun. However, there were aspects of it that were hard, even with my mom’s presence with us in China. I think it would likely be even more difficult – and potentially unwise – to travel to adopt another child with two children as young as Miranda and CaiQun until they get another couple years behind them.
And in the meantime…I’ve actually had a desire to have another biological child. That has honestly taken me by surprise. I am so passionate about adoption and so hopeful (and determined) that we will adopt again that I’d thought we would likely not have any more biological children. And part of me feels guilty even thinking of trying to have another biological child. At some point we are going to reach an upper limit on our capacity for the number of children we can parent well – and by having another biological child, would we be decreasing by one the number of children we might be able to adopt? We might be. But I’m also not sure that God works in quite that way – giving each couple a set capacity for number of children and simply plugging kids into those slots. We’ve even talked in recent days about our capacity potentially being higher than we originally thought it might be, particularly if we had some space between our children, allowing the oldest ones to grow to an age at which they could actually be helpful with younger siblings. So we’ve actually been talking about the possibility of trying to have another biological baby. We’re not ready to do that right now either, due to some of the same constraints that keep us from pursuing another adoption right now (notably our high monthly financial expenses and the consequent high need for work hours from me), but we’d likely be able to do that sooner than adopting again, so we’re at least discussing the possibility and praying about it.
Right now, I think that the next “big thing” for us is continuing to pursue a “long obedience in the same direction.” It may not be as exciting as an announcement that we’re going back to China or that we’re pregnant – but that’s what I think we’re called to right now. We don’t know exactly where we’re headed next. We don’t know with certainty whether God is calling us in any particular direction. That’s strange for me – for at least the last 5 years (and even longer than that, to at least some degree) there has been a pretty clearly defined major goal for us – first to pay off enough of our student loans that we’d be comfortable trying to get pregnant; then getting pregnant and preparing for Miranda’s arrival; then beginning to figure out this whole parenting thing; then researching and beginning to pursue an adoption journey, which culminated in CaiQun joining our family. And through most of that, we were engaged in a substantial amount of ministry within our church community, mentoring others, offering pre-marital counseling, serving at the local soup kitchen, Matt leading a community group and eventually becoming an elder, me meeting with other women frequently. There was always something new and exciting happening. Now that we’re not doing much of that, there is more of a quiet-ness to our lives. They really seem to be more defined by the regular rhythms of teaching (for Matt) and family life – cooking dinners and making bread, home-schooling and reading books, shepherding small hearts and working and praying toward character development, building towers and putting together puzzles, doing laundry and dishes. I want to be open to other things God may have for us – but I also want us to be okay with where we’re at in the here and now – pursuing Him, enjoying our marriage, delighting in our girls and seeking to parent them well, and interacting with others outside of that as we have opportunities to do so. I obviously think that passion and excitement and pursuing goals are wonderful – but I also know that Moses needed years in the desert before he was ready to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. I think God is preparing us for what comes next. And even if we don’t know what it is, we want to be faithful in what He sets before us so that we can be prepared for whatever is coming up on the horizon.