Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Risk Taking and Other Incoherent Ramblings

There is a struggle happening in my mind. It began about two weeks ago when we located Phoebe. During the 9 weeks of waiting to find her and Beanne, (birthmom) I began to let go of the idea of her becoming our daughter. It was mainly a self-protective measure. I still *wanted* her to join our family, but I needed to deal with it by starting to let go of it. If that makes any sense at all.

The time that passed between her birth in early November and last week, when she came home to us, allowed for my thoughts to run wild and my fears to build. I should say, *I* allowed for that to happen, I never reigned in my thoughts. I am trying to put a stop to them now, with mild and patchy success.

RISK- is defined this way-
1. The possibility of suffering harm or loss; danger.
2. A factor, thing, element, or course involving uncertain danger; a hazard.

SAFE- is defined this way-
1. Secure from danger, harm, or evil.
2. Free from danger or injury; unhurt: safe and sound.
3. Free from risk; sure: a safe bet.
4. Affording protection: a safe place.

My fears that I am fighting off and daily dealing with, and now publicly confessing, have to do with emotional risk ... emotional safety.

Somewhere during the wait for Phoebe I decided that it was a risk to take her and maybe God was not delivering her due to the risk it involved and He was just sparing us from the pain of it all. Yes, I recognize that I totally made that up and it is based on nothing but my subjective, self-centered and irrational thought process.

For anyone in the middle of an adoption, the emotional risks are huge. Taking placement makes it seem to be an even greater emotional risk. Whether that is reality or just perception, I'm unsure. Your heart is in it either way.
There is a great fear of connecting to, bonding with, and coming to love a child that may not ever become yours. There is a true sense that when dealing with a foreign government the whole adoption can be stopped on a dime for whatever reason, fair or not.

My general fears have nothing to do with money. Losing money hurts, but not emotionally. My fears are of losing Phoebe. I've played the "what-if" game about her and her adoption and the timing of it all for a week now and I need to stop before I drive myself crazy. I have no control over the timing, the logistics, the details, or the end result.

I do have control over, loving her today, caring for her today, listening to God and taking a risk with her today, no matter how scary that feels. I do have control over my thought-life-and I can choose to take control of that too.

When we had Sophia with us in May and June, an interesting thing happened.

Once we learned that she would not ever be available for adoption it became harder to take care of her. Shallow? Unloving? Immature? Maybe, probably, yes - to all three. For me personally I felt myself holding back from her. Like, if you're not going to be "my" kid and you're just here for a short time, I don't know how to give myself wholly to you. I did not want to love somebody that was going to leave. I did not want to risk feeling hurt. I was disturbed with what I learned about myself. I remember the night she had the flu and puked on me again and again, I kept thinking "this is not my kid" and finding myself both bitter and frustrated with her. Yeah, you heard me, I was frustrated with a malnourished 12 lb baby that had no mother. Somehow, taking care of her, became about me. Not her. There is no way to adequately express how icky I feel about that. But it was true of me.

Now, I find myself saying "Will Phoebe really be ours? Will this adoption be completed?" Then the whole risk taking game begins. Is it risky to love her wholeheartedly, with abandon, without reserve? Is it going to hurt more if she never becomes my legal daughter if I've loved her that way?

The fact is, I do love her. It already hurts - I love her. Period. Anything I do to try and keep from connecting in a mother-daughter deep way will only hurt us. Both of us, Phoebe and me.

I need to come to a place of trusting that God is either going to make her ours legally OR He isn't - and in that case, He'll help me with the loss. Either way my obligation is to love her without condition --- just the way Christ loves me. Without Conditions. No guarantee of return on investment, no guarantee of how long it will last.

I believe God asks us to take risks for Him. I am seeing that in the case where there is less emotional risk I am all for it ----I am willing to risk and sacrifice losing money, my reputation, or my possessions. I am into thrill seeking. But when the stakes are raised, and I am risking my own emotional pain, I suddenly don't feel like such a risk-taker after all.

The questions and uncertainties surrounding Phoebe's adoption and the timing for our family are many. But the answers from the Lord stay the same.

Trust Him. Be Still and know that He is Sovereign God. Be Brave. Be Bold. Take Risks.

How can I read and hear Troy's story from last Wednesday and doubt that God is involved and has a plan.
The post Troy put up about faith, was born of this discussion of my fears and trepidation. The fact is, the only thing any of us can do is listen for God's direction, follow what you believe He has asked you to do, and trust Him for His answers --- WHENEVER they come, and WHATEVER they are.

Learning to risk it,


I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love. -Mother Teresa 1910-1997