The determination required to successfully complete any significant task can be chalked up to faith, stubbornness, perseverance, intense desire, passion, and the list goes on.
When we started out in March 2008, we knew some faith and perseverance would be required. Of course we had no idea how much. And if I had a dollar for every person who had told me that adoption isn't for the faint of heart well, you know, I'd be downright filthy rich.
And now that it's over and we can reflect, I feel like I could climb any mountain. And the dreams and desires I have for me - for us...our family...well, they're bigger. And if they're not bigger I most certainly do dream with more confidence. (I think they're bigger though.)
Just as when you complete any sort of course, achieve any sort of goal, or summit any sort of rigorous peak, there's some sort of adrenaline surge that reminds you of your mortality. It makes the accomplishment that much sweeter. For me, that was the motivation I needed to stay on our journey. There were days, oh the days and weeks when we nearly threw in the towel...if only I had a tally sheet. It would have been shameful. What a blessing we would have missed. What a gift our family would have lost. I know now that the day we met with our social worker to ask her to have our file put on hold (because we couldn't stomach the roller coaster any more and our emotional well being was in jeopardy)...this was likely the day (or perhaps the week) that we were matched with Makeda and the paper chase started in Ethiopia. And I am ever indebted to the "no, we can't do it" pit-of-our-stomach ache and therefore decision to call afterward and reverse our decision.
This rush, confidence, accomplishment, it gives way to more...a desire to be, do, want, seek more.
I feel this sense of empowerment and defeat of evil by good. Some days I feel that we've won. Of course, looking over at our child as she scootches her way across the floor attempting to get her brothers' cars, I know we've won. We've been blessed. We are blessed. We survived, we clung, we rose, and conquered the (often, for us) horrific journey that was our quest to her. And through that, by coming out on the other end sane, full of faith, and now wanting - knowing that for us there is - more...well, that is nothing short of empowering.
The road is rough. The path is most certainly never straight. But when we stay the course and realize that through our mortality we have but one shot - there's no do-over - the result is nothing short of breathtaking. Glorious.
We've come out on the other end of our journey and I sheepishly admit that I am "getting something" out of this. I am benefitting. I am empowered by the fact that, with help, we have navigated ourselves through the big, giant, disastrous, messy, exhilarating, journey referred to, as International Adoption.
And here, I just thought we were bringing an orphan home.
And here, I just thought we wouldn't be all that changed.
And here, I figured life would continue as always, though as five rather than four.
When we cross our finish line - no matter how many times it feels it's been pushed further ahead - we are empowered.
When we are empowered we pursue more dreams...we have to. We ache to.
When we faithfully follow Good, we are empowered to overcome Evil.
And that is so very powerful.