Way Back Wednesday

*Adoption blog, star date February 2011

What's Way Back Wednesday?

The past several weeks have been...hard and strange for me. I am in a foggy, uncertain place, and I'm not even sure what I think about some things yet, much less am I capable of explaining them. There are many specific thoughts I'm working through right now, and hopefully in time I'll get them sorted out.

For starters, I suddenly have a keen awareness that there was something-a bad something- that used to plague me. It followed me when I dropped Sassafras off at school (or really, anytime she was in anyone else's care), in the car, at work, and in crowds. It affected the way I acted and reacted in social settings, to events, and to other people. It clung to me like a spider monkey, and seeped into every part of my life...especially Pearl's adoption.

It was anxiety.

As much as I tried to let it go and as much as I prayed for God to remind me of His omniscience, anxiety was something that still gripped me painfully. I worried myself from one phase of Pearl's adoption to the next. When adoptions ceased for a time in this African country, it nearly made me sick with worry. Every day I scavenged for info. I couldn't wait to grab my phone in the morning and check for news. I couldn't wait to get home from work and check the groups on Facebook for news. I worried that there wouldn't be any news. I worried that there would be, and that it wouldn't be good. I worried that my sweet baby would never come home.

If I'm being honest, in my deepest, darkest moments I worried that we weren't going to get to be Pearl's family at all; I felt really sure most of the time, but sometimes maybe for just a millisecond here or there I worried that maybe we had been wrong about the calling. Once we got TO Africa, the anxiety hit an unbelievable level. I was anxious about Sassafras tolerating African life, about our process, about Pearl's health, about our many glitches, about the timetable we'd counted on and hoped for that slipped through our fingers like water. I was anxious about Pearl's transition to our family.

Every day that we waited for the birth certificate, every difficult encounter with the orphanage's inconsistencies, every time our attorney's associate told us to get ready to meet him in 10 minutes to get Pearl's passport (and then he didn't show up), my anxiety was amplified a thousandfold. It's a wonder that I made it home with my sanity intact. Well, actually, the jury's still out on that one. ;)

Anxiety is mostly about the selfish need for control. Or for me it was. Actually, I think for most people it usually is. And believe me when I tell you that any adoption will wring the control freak right on out of you. An adoption process is a daily, moment-by-moment sacrifice in relinquishing your ability to control any part of the situation. Your family, your papers, your future, your children...they are all out of your hands.

For some people, that would make them crazy. For me, it took the crazy away.

I've thought this over for quite some time and have observed the evolution of my thoughts and actions, and I'm finally realizing that what is different about me is that now I'm free. I've been liberated. I'm no longer in bondage to anxiety. I notice in myself that my reactions to life are different. My perspective is different. My attitude is different. My thoughts are different. I am different. I am free.

I have peace. His sustaining, reassuring peace. Do I still feel hurt, anger, and disappointment about some things? Yep. But I don't worry. I don't have the right to worry. Not after the miraculous work God has done with our family through a sweet baby girl named Pearl. Now that I'm realizing this aspect of how God changed me through Pearl's adoption, sometimes I do wonder if this is a temporary thing, just a part of resting up after such a difficult journey. I'm watching myself to see if that old anxiety starts creeping back in. I feel like I'm sitting in a perfectly quiet, peaceful house just waiting for the noise to return. But mostly I think it's too significant a difference within me to ever carry that spider monkey again.

Because He who promised is faithful.

It is impossible to experience the faithfulness of God like we have without coming away a changed person. He has proven Himself over and over in our lives that He is indeed so, so very faithful.He has seen us through some enormously difficult events in our life through Pearl's adoption. If He is faithful to take care of us in the huge things in life, I can certainly trust Him in the smaller things in life. And everything feels small right now compared to what we went through in Pearl's adoption. I'm so thankful for how He has used her adoption to rescue her from a life of vulnerability, but also to liberate me from anxiety.