In the past days, a lot of people have said, “I can’t imagine what you’re feeling.”
I’ve tried my best in my journal to talk about how I’m feeling and why. I’m so glad I’ve kept journals for many, many years but instead of documenting what I did, I wish I would have documented more often how I felt. As an individual, I’ve been working on feeling my feelings. I know that sounds strange for a fairly healthy middle-aged woman who writes as a hobby. I’m in touch with my feelings, no doubt, but through Brene Brown’s work and the Enneagram (personality type system), I’ve realized I’ve also suppressed so many of them.
My Enneagram type (1w9) is all about perfectionism. I’ve realized that’s not so much about having everything perfectly lined up, although it can I think, but doing everything the right–moral–way. Being angry isn’t one of the “nice” feelings. I realized so many times I’ve tried to explain away those or ignore them. And while I’m all for forgiving one another quickly, I think it’s also wrong to deny the feelings at all. Being angry isn’t wrong. In fact, feelings aren’t wrong at all. It’s whether you let it stay, letting them lead to anxiety, bitterness and rage. All that to say, I’m trying to honor my feelings and I can’t imagine a better time to practice other than walking through an adoption.
Last week before our presentation meeting I was feeling anxious and scared and yet elated and excited. I walked out with joy bubbling over. My birthday carried me through Friday. What better gift than to see a picture of your son and know his story?
By Friday evening, though, I began experiencing a feeling I wasn’t expecting.
As excited as I have been to welcome him to our family and to watch what God has done on our end, the reality of what is going on with his side started to hit me like a 2×4 right square in the forehead.
Even though I trust 100% this is the way things should go for him, it is terrible. A family is losing a member. What does that feel like to just never see a nephew or grandson again? A part of me wants to give his family another chance. I think that Jesus-part of me wants restoration so badly for them.
What will it feel like for him to be handed a photo album on Monday and hear, “Here’s your new family!” It’s exciting for us and I’m sure in part for him, but also how devastating must that be? How do you process that at 8?
So, I’m grieving this loss for him and for them. Adoption is a beautiful tool of redemption, but it’s also messy and unfair and sad first.
I was listening to a podcast with Shaun Groves recently and he was talking about adopting his child. He said he just sees himself as the second-best parent. His child deserves to see a face that looks like his tuck him in at night. I get that right now.
Scott looked at me in the car Friday night and said, “It’s just sad.” “Yeah,” is all I could say back. We both looked out the window and just sat, feeling all that grief for them.
The Lord, though, knows all of our feelings and pain. Psalms says he is close to the broken-hearted.
I opened up Instagram today. A few pictures down, I ran into Jennie Allen’s picture. She’s visiting the first Rwandan home of her adopted children:
Adoption always begins with loss. Yes. I don’t think I really got that until the moment I read her words. She’s many years into this and still feeling that, so I don’t expect this grief to go away. But to hear it acknowledged felt like God was saying he sees our grief. He’s right here with me walking through it.
I don’t know the right way to handle this except to respect that part of his life and do the best we can with our new family. Actually, I’m not sure grief can be handled, only experienced.
So today for me, these are the feelings begging to be felt: joy, excitement, fear, anticipation, love and yes, grief.
For those tracking our journey, our 1 hour visit with him will probably occur mid-week at a park. Only Scott and I will go. This weekend we’re expecting our first home-visit. We’ll pick him up as a family at the foster home and then bring him home for several hours. Another turning point for our journey. How will he fit in with us? With the kids? In our home? We covet your prayers.