When we started our journey, we ate up any adoption resource we could find. We sought out organizations supporting, encouraging, embracing, founded on adoption. A couple captured our hearts, one of which is Show Hope. We soaked up interviews and gave to the cause. We found more passion through the words of Steven Curtis Chapman.
We dove into our adoption journey head first at the start of March 2008, on April 29 we had (endured?) our first homestudy interview and on May 21, 2008 SCC's youngest adopted daughter Maria, was killed at their family home.
I remember the day clearly. I remember wondering why. Why would all this happen - a little girl born with hypothetical special needs - a diagnosis which would later be debunked. A family (a family in the spotlight nonetheless!) all the way from the US, not planning to adopt but feeling the call, urge and desire, united with her.
And then tragedy.
Tragedy that makes you scream and cry and question everything you know.
And I know now, why. Maybe you do too. Or at least I am quite certain I do. I'd encourage you to read more on the story. Her story - the short life this little girl led which has left such a legacy, a narrative which has given hope to thousands of orphans.
The thing is this...before all the tragedy we watched an interview in which SCC was interviewed about their adoption experience and journeys - and how they thought they were done and three kids and their hearts weren't open to more. Life was comfortable...stable, there was no need to rock the boat. And then how their teen daughter encouraged them and shared with them about her missions trip to china and the children there with no parents...who needed just that.
And what SCC said next stuck with Ben and I - and will continue to do so likely for the rest of our lives. Because, though our situation was completely different, we were in many ways, in the same boat.
Time and again, we nearly gave up for the exhaustion of the whole thing. Over and over we questioned whether we could continue to willingly, consciously, daily, put ourselves through the trials of the wait.
"We nearly could have missed it" he said.
We. We could have nearly missed it.
They nearly missed the blessing that was their first adoption...and then their second...and then the third.
And they never would have known the joy of which their lives would have been void.
Neither would we.
And regardless of the opportunity which will present itself to you (and there will undoubtedly be a couple which seem big enough to be of dreamlike quality), jump.
Don't look back. Be nervous or apprehensive and allow the knot in the pit of your stomach to churn...you are human after all. And, if the churning isn't there then perhaps the dream isn't "big" enough.
And while you wait, don't waste time. Because each day can only be lived once.
I recall an interview in the days soon after the Chapman's family tragedy and SCC was asked if he regretted any of their adoption decisions. Not that they regretted adopting their children but rather, had it been possible to avoid all the pain and the darkness through which they currently dwelled, would they have changed their minds - you know, the hindsight question. Had they not pursued a third and final adoption none of the excruciating pain could have seeped it's way into their lives.
Their reply was that they wouldn't have changed a thing because of the hope, the joy, the love Maria brought into their lives. Hope, joy and love which wouldn't have been awakened without her. She brought a dynamic - as we all do in our unique way - into their family, which they wouldn't have experienced in the same way, had she not been there. They would have missed the(ir) blessing.
And we get it now. More than ever. More than words can accurately portray...the blessing. Your blessing. It's there. Perhaps the path is winding. Possibly it's a spec in the distance...but you know it's there and upon it, you set your sights.
Don't ever been afraid to follow that bucket list because our time here is finite, short, and we get one shot. Press on. Don't waste it.
Don't let them sway, waver, or fall from that spec that is your blessing.
Even when situations seem bleak, and giants seem overwhelming. There's hope.
And the blessing that flows from that, well, it will change you.