Saturday, January 21, 2012

Max And The Journey Of My Heart

As Max's Gotcha Day Anniversary approached I began going through all the pictures of our journey to him.  Of course there were so many emotions that surfaced as I looked through thousands of pictures.  Our journey to Max has been so much more than feeling like God was calling us to China to bring a son home. It has been a journey of my heart.  Along the journey there was fear, excitement, joy, anticipation, pain, loss, brokenness, peace and healing.

There was a journey taking place within my heart from the very start.  God had placed adoption on Eric and my hearts early in our marriage.  We didn't know what God's plan was for our family but we knew it was by no coincident that he laid this desire in both of our hearts.  When Eric brought up starting the adoption process I think I shuttered.  We were coming off the hardest year we had had to date.  The economy took a toll on Eric's business and all the stress in turn took it's toll on us in our marriage, on us financially, emotionally and spiritually.  I questioned the timing, if it was really what we should be doing coming off of this tough year.  Were we really ready as a couple to add another little one to our family. Were we ready for all the unknowns before us. Yes, there was fear in what was ahead and yet I loved how Eric continued to point me to God, his hand in our life over the past years and his plan for our family.  If we waited for all the stars to aline and life to feel neat and tidy we would be waiting forever and never make our way to China.  I felt like we were stepping out in faith.  So that is where it started, trusting a desire God placed on our hearts even though it didn't totally feel comfortable. Little did I know what was ahead.

As months passed we gathered, signed and anxiously anticipated seeing the little boy that God chose for our family.  In March we got a call that would forever change my life.  My best friend had been killed in a car accident.  I felt as though my world came crumbling down.  Our adoption processed slowed to a halt during that time and in that moment I didn't really care.  It was enough to get up and put one foot in front of another.  As I continued to walk through the darkest days of my life our adoption process began moving forward.  We got to a place where we were ready to send our Dossier to China which meant we would then be ready for a referral.  I began to push to get our paperwork to China as fast as possible and when we were almost there Eric asked me if I thought I was ready for this or if we should hold off for a while.  I remember being angry and feeling a sense of loss all over.  I felt like there was a little boy born in my heart already and we were so close to seeing his picture and Eric was wondering if we should take a step back.  After the emotions settled and we had more conversations I did understand my husband's heart.  I know he wanted me to be at a place emotionally that I could handle the unknowns ahead with our adoption.  He wanted me emotionally to be at a place ready to be a mother to four children and a wife.  He had said to me, "Julie these are potentially two of the biggest events of your life and they are happening in the same year!" When I was honest with myself I wanted the same thing.  I wanted to be at a place where I was emotionally ready for bringing a little boy home from China.  How do you know when you are walking through tough stuff if you will be ready for what is on the other side?  That was a time in my life that I vividly remember crying out and clinging to God.  Asking him to take away my desires and emotions and let me see clearly what he wanted for us in this process.  I began meeting with our pastor and began walking through this journey ... the grief, the adoption, our marriage, my relationship with Christ ... you name it we addressed it.  We talked through where I was at in my grief process and all the emotions that the adoption could bring out related to my grief and loss.  We talked about how it could push me through my grief faster than I was ready for and in turn would have guilt or resentment that was placed somewhere.  We talked about the overwhelming feelings of loss I might feel after having Max in our arms because of not having my friend there to walk through it with me.  We talked about the joy that Max could bring and the healing that could take place.  It seemed as though I was in for a tug a war and no real clue what it would look like in the end.  I wish there was a guidebook on grief and adoption but there isn't.  So we made the decision to walk forward trusting that God would supply all we needed in the process.

When we boarded a plane to China I knew it would be life changing but I had no idea what it would do to my heart in the process.  The day we traveled to Max's orphanage was a heart changing day for me.  As we walked the halls that Max called home for 17 months my heart broke over and over for the little ones that called Jinan SWI home.  As we saw these sweet faces I felt as though God reached down and placed his hand on my heart and a healing began in a heart that had been broken the past year.  Just as the healing began I felt as though God broke my heart in a different way ... he broke my hearts for the orphans.  I can't can't put into words the healing that was taking place with in my heart but the new brokenness I felt. It felt good to have my heart broken in a new way.  My heart was on a journey of a lifetime.

My love for Max grew within my heart before I even held him but there were questions.   In my human mind and in my own fear I wondered ... what would it feel like? Would I love him the same way I love the children I carried for nine months?  Would I feel like he was mine or would love be a choice and would it grow with time?  God gave me a love for this little boy that I can't describe. It is a love that reaches deep down in my soul.  This love gave me a new understanding of how great the love is that my Heavenly Father has for me.  He loves me as much as his one and only son! Now that is some kind of love.  Do I really understand it, have I embraced that love?  I am so thankful that he loves me and has adopted me as his own.

His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ.  And this gave Him great pleasure." Ephesians 1: 5

When I look deep into Max's brown little almond eyes there is a love for him that goes deep within my heart and soul! I had no idea the journey God would take my heart on as we journeyed to our sweet son.


Kathy said...

It has been such a journey for you...isn't it amazing what happens when we let go and trust? What a sweet blessing Max has been in your life. I know in the moment it didn't seem like the timing of his adoption was perfect, and yet somehow in retrospect it seems that it was. We just can't always see the big picture.
Thanks for sharing such tender thoughts, my friend.

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