2/13/14

A New Kind of Family

So the stack of paperwork is shrinking. With our second meeting under our belt, we are slowly getting things filled out and turned in to our social worker. We still have a few forms to fill out and other things to do (medical exams, health insurance affidavits, etc.).  We are moving steadily on. I have tried to stop putting a time frame on this as well.  Everything I have read says not to do that.  I will say though that my mind wonders from looking at the big picture to what the next step is.

I sometimes think of all that we have left to do.  I get overwhelmed.  We have yet to finish our home study....then we work on our dossier....then we wait for a referral....then we have to gather even more paperwork after being matched with a child...then we travel...then....well, you get the picture - the Big Picture can be overwhelming and long.

Most days I am focusing on just the next step.  When the path is foggy and there are too many curves in the road, you can only focus on the next step.  Our next step is meeting number 3 on March 1. It will be another interview meeting, much like the one we had a few days ago.  Instead of being interviewed together we will be interviewed separately.  Most of the questions are just to get to know us.  Ms. Roman must have an accurate picture of who we are - as a couple and as individuals.

We watched "Somewhere Between" last night.  It is a documentary about girls who were adopted from China. It follows their journey as teenagers trying to answer the question "who am I?".  Some go back to China.  Some do not.  Some search for their birth parents and some do not.  Most all of them see themselves as between two worlds.  They are not quite Americans, but not quite Chinese as well.  It was so interesting for Jason and I to watch.  It gave us some really hard but good things to think about.

I have been reading some required readings for our home study.  I've been thinking a lot about the movie. One thing that has really come to the surface of my heart and mind during all of this is the idea that this adoption is for life. I've always known of course that once we brought her home we would always be her parents and parenting would last a lifetime.  I am not talking about this in terms of parenting.  I have that sense of a lifetime of parenting from my biological children.

I am saying that I really didn't realize that this adoption would place us in a different culture for the rest of our lives.  I think I saw the act of adoption as a one-time event and then parenting would start.  This adoption will change what kind of family we are. Neither Jason nor I grew up in the adoption culture.  We do not fully grasp what this means, and we probably won't until she comes home with us.

For now, a few thoughts about being an adoptive family for life:

1. It means that we are opening our hearts and home to another culture. We are so excited now, after seeing that documentary and filling out some questionnaires related to our home study, to begin researching Chinese culture, history, and language.  We want to learn some Mandarin, seek out the Chinese culture here in the area, and study the cultural differences of China and the United States.

2. It means that we are opening our hearts to another family - the birth family.  This mysterious family will forever be a part of us.  Just because we will probably never meet this family, does not make their existence any less important.  Our daughter may or may not want to meet  them.  Our daughter will think about them.  Our daughter will wonder about them.  She will keep them close to her heart. They will always be a part of her, so they will always be a part of us as well. For a lifetime.

3. It means that we will forever be a trans-racial family. This means something different because we will be identified immediately as a trans-racial family. If we were adopting from another country where the child would look like us, it would not be such a big issue.  But in this case, we will be seen instantly as an adoptive family. We will get glances and questions. This will put our adoption on display each time we leave the house.

All of this is something we have been talking about and have come to expect. We may not be completely prepared for it all, but we are learning how to handle it and trusting God along the way.  We are trusting that He will guide us along this path that does not end in 12-16 months when we bring her home.