We chose this. Our world is wonderfully upside down by choice. Also, not so much by choice. Where we creaked open a door just a smidge to peak in, God swung it wide open. Of course, we could have said no. NO is an option. Sometimes it’s an acceptable option. I wish I could tell you we didn’t consider it. But we talked about it, at length. What a NO might look like. How it might be easier, cleaner, less stressful and not demanding as much of us daily.
Our social worker called about a little girl needing a forever home. I wanted to say yes. I desperately wanted my heart to want to say YES. At the same time, I understood the impact of a NO. Honestly, there were plenty of logical reasons for a NO. Isn’t it funny how you can always seem to find reasons to support your No. The biggest driving force for our NO was fear. I was scared. For our marriage, for our son and selfishly, for myself. I am all game for self-care but I also greedily crave self-indulgence. Not to mention, adopting a child with different abilities and also medically-fragile might be hard and for sure it’s going to make life a bit more messy and complicated. Could we do this? Again?
I tell this back story of our YES not for accolades. There is no tribute for saying yes. The YES is the tribute. If you are trying to be a hero, adoption is not the answer or the way to earn that status. Go ahead and hang up that cape and take off your mask.
I share because I think sometimes I give people the false impression that we were not scared. That we did not pause. That we did not have one of the worst fights of our marriage the night before we committed to moving forward. Often people ask about our story and share words and praise in response that simply do not belong. We simply used love to make a family. I am sharing for National Adoption Awareness month in case there is a family out there letting fear keep their family from growing and forgetting that love drives out fear.
Fear was on the giant megaphone shouting at us to say no and we had to put on some giant sized headphones to muffle it out so we could listen to the LOVE that would motivate the YES.
When we falsely interpret fear or unworthiness as the permission to say NO, we miss out on the abundance in the YES.
Ultimately, mid-fight, we looked at each other and almost started laughing. We knew.
“Someday we are going to think it was crazy that we ever considered NO or that NO might be better.”
We were right. Two years later, I look at my little love snuggled into my arms and know this abundant YES was better than we could ask or imagine. Two years of hard, messy, complicated and yet beautifully abundant YES.
To the couple considering foster care or adoption:
It can be easy to feel burdened by the logistical and heavy system and simply respond NO. The waiting feels heavy and never-ending. There will always be reasons, even often respectable ones, to lean into the negative space and consider the no, don't let the reason be fear. The fear of a broken heart seems almost inevitable. But consider how love might propel you to a yes for the child's heart instead of trying to save your own.
When we falsely interpret fear or risk of a broken heart as the permission to say NO, we miss out on the abundance in the YES.
May you be given the courage to say YES.
Wherever you are today, whatever NO is challenging you. Whether in adopting, foster care, or heck life in general; I am praying you find your abundant YES. We almost let a crazy fear-driven NO rob us from knowing our daughter. In one love-motivated yes, we were given abundantly more than we could ask or imagine.