Adoption number seven: it seems like I should be able to manage it in my sleep. Unfortunately, the truth is that I have spent more time researching grants, evaluating state statutes and exchanging emails with agencies on this adoption that I have on any of the other six. Naively, I would have assumed that things would have gotten easier with this many successful transracial adoptions under our belt, but in fact, now we just have enough experience to see the larger picture rather than the limited one we had with our first adoption -- so it's still an exhausting process.
Some things are easier. I know how to do my own research on legal and local issues on a particular child match; I can see more clearly when our parenting styles and family dynamics won’t fit with a particular agency and then we can choose not to work with them before it becomes an issue. And most of all I don’t have that powerless, desperate feeling that we are one of a hundred families hoping against hope to connect with a birth mom before someone else does. That feeling slid away somewhere about child number eight when we truly realized that God is making the connections and building the families that He has planned regardless of our place in line.
Some things are harder. I have a stronger empathy with the pain that birth families experience than I have ever had before. With the pleasure of a new child I now have a larger reserve to experience the suffering their placement brings. I pray for the families more and I cry over their realities. I see that but for grace, it could be me releasing a child into a future without me -- and my heart crumbles.
We are a large family now, and that makes things harder. Number of bedrooms, square feet in our home, money in our bank account and the one thing that almost made me fall off my chair: The simple fact that we have never attended official classes on adopting transracially! (Did they even have them when we started?) Thankfully I didn’t fall, and was able to calmly ask the social worker I was speaking to whether it didn't seem a little foolish to require a multi-racial family be required to attend these classes -- especially because we speak at seminars on transracial adoption! Thankfully, she understood my question and we were able to move past that requirement without it becoming a huge issue. Some things are harder because we do know what we are doing, but trusting that it’s all part of the journey keeps us willing to walk the path that we have been set upon and see it to the end.
Now, as we are waiting for the placement of our next adopted child, I am once again learning to trust and obey the one God who created the world and who predestined each of the treasured children that he has placed into my arms. Which is not so different from our first adoption nine years ago -- waiting not-so-patiently for that phone call that changes our lives forever. (Note: We have received that first exciting call and are now waiting for the not-so-little one to become legally free for adoption.)