Thursday, October 4, 2012

Adoption Update

I wrote this a couple of months ago,while living in the Dominican Republic, but have dreaded actually posting it. Here it finally is.

Ahh, this.

The post I have written in my head a million times and avoided in my heart a thousand.

And,now, on a day in the Dominican Republic that has brought clapping thunder and torrential rain,
when swirling dark clouds bring stormy dusk in the middle of the day.
I feel like writing about it.

Many have asked and many more have probably wondered...or asked someone else about it.
What in the world is going on with the Joyner's adoption?!

I will not strive to make perfect sense of it all or answer all the questions for one simple reason.
I cannot.

I have avoided writing about our adoption for a couple of reasons.
One is that I wasn't sure what to say and what not to say.
All cannot be said.
All should not be said.
And many people are involved.
But it was not because I wanted to keep something hidden or secret. We just wanted to be wise about the information we thrust into the public. 
The biggest reason I write now is for all of you who have prayed and given and invested in this journey along with us. It would be absolutely heartbreaking to me for you to not understand how we have ended up in the place we are now.

Our adoption process has been somewhat messy in some ways and I desire to protect those involved.
Our adoption was a private adoption.
This means we did not use an agency and were attempting to accomplish it through channels available to us in our  personal involvements/relationships in Haiti.

We knew that the limitations on adoption in Haiti meant that we were not technically eligible to adopt.
There are age limitations, marriage limitations, biological children limitations, and financial limitations, all of which currently disqualify us from adopting from Haiti.
We knew this.


We were led to believe that these things were not as crucial as they appeared. 
Before you laugh at our gullibility here...
adoption from Haiti,even when partnering with an agency, can be VERY complex. When a country essentially has no functioning government, adopting children is a serious challenge. And to some degree "rules" and "regulations" are indeed a formality, even an illusion at times. 
We felt led to take the risk involved and had great hope that it was indeed a possibility under unique circumstances. (adopting special needs children, having valuable in-country relationships,etc.)

Noah and I had a desire to adopt at some point in our life together and were available for God to open that door, but were not pursuing it when we met these two children.
It was very simple.
We met two children with significant medical needs and thought we could help.
Perhaps, we could help get medical visas?
We've built many relationship in the past few years through our youngest son's medical needs.
We really care for these children and wanted to help however we could.
However meager our resources, surely they are greater than the ones currently available to them.
What began as a desire to help, turned into what seemed like a unique opportunity to help provide two children a way out of hopelessness, through membership in our family. 
The door had been closed.
The door then seemed to open.
What else should we do?

We walked through.

Upon walking through the initial door, it became daily more and more like a labyrinth than a path way with open doors.
After a year and a half of trying every route we felt comfortable trying...
After realizing much ,if not all of what were told about our possibilities were indeed untrue and perhaps even deceptive...
We stand here.
Slump shouldered,
at a closed door.

This is where we have landed.
It is a place of waiting.
It is VERY complex and involves multiple relationships.
Because of the complexities of the relationships involved, we have not been able to have contact with the children for quite some time.
In an attempt to protect them, it is our conviction that it has been best for us to keep our distance.
This has been very confusing and painful.

We now wait.
We would love to adopt these children.
RIGHT NOW,to our understanding, this is not possible.
If God is going to make a way, He is more than able.
My prayer has been, "God please make a straight path to your will." 
If these children are intended to be in our family, you can get them here without me clearing a path.
In fact, contrary to the strong emotion that often accompanies adoption, you don't need me at all.

Once, in a conversation with a close friend who is also adopting, she asked me ,"Don't you feel like these children are yours?! Like as much as all of your other children? They've been given to you?"
This was not a wrong way for her to feel, but I had to respond in honesty.

"I think I would say more that I feel that we have been given to them and not them to us."
I never have felt that these children are ours.
I think from the very beginning I felt strongly that these children were not given to me,but instead that I was given to them.
What I mean by this is that I don't have to have these children. 
I just want desperately to love them well.
If this means that they belong in another home, a better orphanage, whatever, that's ok.
If I were confident they were being well cared for, I could find peace with this.
We're here to serve them.
I don't mean that to sound holier-than-though. I am not saying one emotion is the right way to feel. This is just how I feel.

But right now, it is not clear how we can do this,aside from our current choices.

Many may disagree. Many may make a different choice in the same situation.
I totally understand this.

To all of you who gave and sacrificed for the end goal of bringing these children into our home, I honestly don't always know what to say.
We spent a relatively small amount of money on the actual adoption process in the year and a half we actively pursued it. But that still doesn't matter to me. Because I know you feel like I do.
Every single penny,every yard sale item, was given with a full heart and heard earned.
I am so sorry.
I am sorry that we were lead to believe something that wasn't true. I am sorry that I cannot be sure with 100% assurance that the money we did give towards the adoption went for what we were told it would.
This is heartbreaking for us.
With that being said, all adoptions have some of this element.
Many adoptions don't turn out like the potential parent hopes, and I think it's fair to say that almost all international adoptions involve some confusing money processes. It's just that generally speaking, this all happens behind the curtain of agencies and governments and for us there was no curtain.
Even with this said, I regret to have so many people involved in our own personal deception.
I wish we could have saved you from it.
I wish we could have been the only ones who felt betrayed.
The only comfort I gain from this is knowing that those who were involved in helping us during our adoption journey did it because they loved us and because they wanted to be a part of what God was doing.
Which of course, begs the question.
"Did God lead us and in turn you into a messy adoption situation that was going to seemingly end fruitlessly?"
Looks like it,huh?

Sometimes we forget that parenting an adopted child can be just like parenting a biological child.
When one "gets pregnant" with an adoption, they are not guaranteed the outcome that they hoped, that they invested and gave their all for.
And yet they love without abandon.
In the same way that each life that is biologically conceived doesn't come with the promise of a fulfilled hope. 
We are at the mercy of God and his plan for their lives,for our lives, in both instances. 
It's so hard to understand why God would lead us to an adoption that would not end in...well, an actual adoption.
It's hard to understand why children are conceived and the gift of life given, all for it to end in painful ways.

There are many days where I avoid conversation about the adoption, hide away pictures of the kids that still float around our house, and struggle greatly with one strong,overarching emotion...

Lots of guilt.

 I do no grieve because I don't get to adopt as much as I grieve because they are not adopted.
And I am not sure how or when I will feel a resolve with this.
Sometimes I wonder, 
will I come across picture of them among our families photos stuffed in a closet 20 years from now, answer some confusing questions from my grown children, and weep,even then?
Or will I finally have a neat,tidy answer for what seems to be an only painful,confusing process?
Will I finally be able to make some sense of what has happened?

I can tell you of some things that I have seen come from this process that have great value.
But I agree, it hasn't seemed worth it.
Except the story isn't over.
Just like the beginning.
And the middle.
The end is up to God.

We still hope to adopt these children.
We still have no idea how this will all end up.
But right now.
We simply wait.

Right now, I struggle to get excited about adoption in general.
I know this is not God's desire for me.
Because I know God loves adoption.
And I know this process was and is for our good and somehow the good of those children.
But right now it's like that time I drank hot Tang.
You know the orange powdered stuff that couldn't pass as orange juice if it tried.
Anyhow, I was about 9 years old.
I read that Tang container and saw a recipe for "Hot Tang." Being the Girl Scout that I was, I attempted it.
SO gross.
Hot Tang?!
If it aint' good cold, guess what?

I drank it,though.
Then I just happened to get a stomach bug later that night.

It's been decades and I still can't drink Tang, hot or cold, without getting nauseous. 
It just left a bad taste in my mouth.
I pray, oh how I pray, that I don't always have the reaction to adoption that I do to Tang.
It's just been such a painful process for us personally,so far.
As I said, I am finally at a place where I don't feel a personal loss at the way this has ended.
It is more that I feel guilt for their loss. I wanted so bad to help and I feel as though I made promises that I now cannot keep.
Where do I land?
I pray that God continues to make beauty of this process.
I also have to remember that indeed these children are God's.
We walked through many painful and precious moments with these children that bonded us to them in ways that cause an ache to remember.
But I have to remember that I don't have to know where they are how even how they are doing for them to be cared for.
He is the father to the fatherless and He doesn't need me to make beauty from their painful lives.
Though I hope he does.
And for that, I wait.
For Him.
To do the impossible.
While I vow to do the possible.
Which is very little right now.

Will you pray for them with me? That God would bring to them what they need, which He knows far greater than I do.

No comments: