Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Unforgetables

**I've been thinking about whether or not to post this on my blog...but I decided to go ahead with it. After all, its a part of my adoption journey; for better or for worse. Perhaps I'm not the only one who's had this experience.**

When you're in the midst of an adoption process, it is at times overwhelming to think about the need that exists in our world. The numbers of orphans in Africa alone are staggering and the numbers of children needing assistance of some sort (whether it be through food, shelter, education, etc.) is absolutely unfathomable.

Sometimes it is so easy to become overwhelmed. I examine my belongings and think about selling it all in order to help "just a few". I look at my house and think "we could fit more in here". Or when we look at houses on the market I think "we could get one with a couple of extra bedrooms". I look in my refridgerator and cupboards and think about how many we could feed, and then I scold myself when I have to throw out uneaten leftovers.

I have to admit that over time, my heart has grown a little less tender in some ways. I have become resigned to the fact that we (meaning my husband and I) cannot help them all. We cannot adopt all the children; we cannot feed them all; we cannot clothe them all; we cannot provide shelter and education for all of the children.

When we started the adoption process, I looked through our agency's Waiting Children list and wondered about each of the children.
"How long will they wait?"
"What is this child's personality like?"
"Does this little girl have a mommy yet?"

I would turn to Z and say "Isn't he/she cute?"
"Maybe we should inquire about this one."

And he would always reply with "C - they are ALL cute."

Of course he was right - all the children on the list are cute. All of the children on the list were/are in need of what we have to offer. Almost any of the children on the list could have been made a part of our family.

When we switched countries to adopt from Ghana, we were no longer given a list of available children. We were now a part of a pilot program and the agency had only 6 kids in their care. When our criteria (siblings ages 2-6) were incorporated into the mix, there was only 1 match. Our boys. It was easy. These were our boys - they fit our criteria - they were the only siblings within the ages of 2 and 6 that our agency had in their care.

The decision was made for us. I didn't have to look at a list or a video and say "no" to dozens of other children in order to say "yes" to our boys. Now, I realize that it is not that simple...if I had chosen my children from a list I would not have been paging through pictures saying "no" to dozens of other children. I would have been looking for "my child". I would have been looking for the child that captured my heart; who grabbed my attention for one reason or another.

Now here is the part that I hate to admit...even to myself sometimes. When we were still a part of our agency's Ethiopia program my heart was completely captured by two very precious little girls. I thought about them...I prayed for them (and still do)....In my head, I knew that they were not meant to be with our family right now, but my heart still wanted to love them. And so it does. My heart continues to love these two beautiful little girls who still wait on the list. Two girls who still don't have a mommy and a daddy.

Loving these girls does not, in any way, take away the love I have for our boys. I am completely smitten with our boys and I cannot wait to make them a part of our family. But those two girls were the first children who caused me to gasp for breath when I saw their picture. They are the first children who's situation made me cry for them. They are the first children who made my heart yearn to be their mother. I don't know who will be the mother of these two girls. Maybe it will be an e-friend of mine who reads my blog or who I chat with in one of the forums (and who can give me updates on how they are doing after they get home). Maybe it will be a complete stranger who has the same reaction to the girls' picture when she sees them. Or maybe it will be me afterall. Perhaps my head just needed time to catch up with my heart. Though, I have to admit that I really do hope that I am not meant to be their mom. I hope that these two girls are not still on the waiting child list when I am at a point where we can make that decision (our agency requires 6 months between adoptions). And I know that Z really hopes that, too.


Anonymous said...

I understand the feeling. We have so much that we take for granted, and could we each sell one thing and make a difference to a child, the answer is simple, YES. There are those moments in life when you meet someone or look at someone and their face will stay with you forever. We always wish for answers, but praying will provide peace for them as well as us. I have many children that I have met in my life and I pray for them everytime I think of them. Some from Burkina and the life that they live in poverty, but happy because that is all they know. Foster children who have come and gone with little sability. Friends with difficult times. Life is hard, but there is hope through faith and prayer. Those girls will always be with you in your heart a safe and wonderful place.


Anita and Family said...

Chanda, I loved the honesty of this post. I love that you still love these girls. I firmly believe that the love is supposed to be there for some reason beyond our current understanding. Maybe your prayers are going to help them in ways we can't fathom. Or maybe they are meant to be your children in the future. Either way, don't feel guilty for loving these girls. Don't feel like you're taking anything away from the love you have for your boys. Mommy's love multiplies--it doesn't divide!

P.S. The first child I saw on a photolisting that I really thought could be ours will ALWAYS be in my heart. She was my "bridge" child--the one that eventually lead to our Taevy.

Jennine said...

I remembered when Anita and I talked about this- your "bridge" or "heart" child. I cried them and am crying now as she is right. Maybe these girls helped open your heart to the boys or you are here to pray for them as they find their home or maybe they will end up with you.
I hope you have the same peace and comfort that I felt after hearing what Anita had to say. My bridge child is going to a wonderful home and I am so happy that he was put in my life to let me know I was in the right place. It will all work out according to God's plan. He knows our children and where those girls will end up long before we do.

blondie said...

My husband and I are adopting from Ethiopia - from Australia. The processes are much different from yours so we have no waiting list to choose from. But I do agree with the concept of the "heart" child... we were inspired to adopt from Ethiopia by seeing the children adopted to another Aussie couple - we knew they were not ours but we knew that could be us - one day...

dbknepper said...

When we started adopting we saw pictures of a boy and girl from Russia (we eventually adopted from Ukraine). My wife still prays for those kids and they will always be in her heart.

Leslie said...

I know exactly what you mean. I've had this same experience, and I still pray for them and for their families. I think if I do meet their family, I'll have a special affection for them as people who God placed in my heart to love before their family knew them. How lucky these little girls are that before they have a family, there is someone who is praying for them!