a little and a lot

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Necessity of Idealism

So, I am going to be a mom.
Nick is going to be a dad.

Together, we are mentally making that transition into thinking of ourselves as parents. Which is hard, because usually there is outward, physical change (that everyone can see). But for us, it is inward--emotional & mental. (I am batting around the idea of taking pictures of our growing stack of paperwork as opposed to the traditional growing-belly pics. At least there's something to show, eh?) Nonetheless..we feel...expectant. :)

I recently posted about our time-line and shared some thoughts about why we chose international adoption. I followed up with the fact that I know that those feelings/beliefs are idealistic. Which leads me to this post...and we're going deeeeep. (So if you prefer lighter topics such as fall recipes and my love for grey pumpkins, your time is coming my friend.) :)

There is a constant tension that I feel in regards to our adoption...

* On one hand: Excitement. We're going to be parents! We're going to have a baby in our family soon! We are doing a good thing for the world! We have joy that God has called us (Nick & me) to do this and that we are honoring Him. Our family will be a strong Biblical picture of how God adopts each one of us as His sons and daughters and brings us into His family.

(Note: Ok, here is the part where I need to say something for fear of being misunderstood: Let it stand for the record that I do NOT think that families that are NOT formed through adoption are unBiblical or not honoring God. Please hear that and know that I celebrate the way God brings ALL kinds of families together--not just mine!)

* On the other hand: Grief. This is the hard reality that we face. Adoption ALWAYS includes loss. Adoption is NOT the ideal. Something very painful will happen in our child's life that will cause our adoption of him or her to become a reality. Every Mother's & Father's Days that pass, a part of me will think of our child's birthparents. Every birthday, part of me will honor the two people that brought life to our child. And our child will feel that loss, no matter how hard we try to be wonderful parents to him/her.

The definition of idealism: "the cherishing or pursuit of high or noble principles, purposes, goals, etc."

Nick and I, at many times in this process, are clinging to idealism. We are cherishing and pursuing principles, purposes, and goals that we believe reflect the heart of God. But reality says that the only reason idealism is necessary is because we live in a very dark and broken world. In an ideal world, there would not be disease, poverty, hunger, death. In an ideal world, our child would be able to grow up and thrive in their birthfamily. A true ideal situation means that we aren't even part of this equation. And that can be painful...realizing our family is being created because of something that is broken.

You might remember a kind-of-strange post I wrote regarding Mother's Day--it came from wrestling with these feelings. This experience of sitting in my church on a Sunday morning while the "mothers" were asked to stand. Anticipating the day in the next year or two that I would stand among the mothers. And even more, wondering whether the birthmother of my child was standing now. And would she stand in the future?

Here are just a few phrases you will never hear me say because of their implications of reality:
* "God has chosen a child just for us." (God chose for our child to be "orphaned?")
* "Ugh, it's excruciating how long this wait-time is." (Couldn't there be more orphans in the world so I can have one sooner?)
* (To our child) "Mommy & Daddy wanted a baby, and God found you across the world and brought you to us." (More like, God brought us to you!)

This is why we have a necessity for idealism. Because knowing the world is broken can make you want to get into your bed and pull the covers up to your chin. But believing that things can change...things can be made new...that "the Lord puts the lonely in families" (Ps 68:6)...that sometimes just because something is difficult doesn't mean it isn't right...that beauty can come from ashes...This is what we cling to. This is our hope.

John F. Kennedy once said, "I'm an idealist without illusions." And that is how I see it. We have no illusions that this is the best scenario or even that this will be easy (for anyone involved). But we have to believe that this is the right thing...that the new ideal for a child without a family to provide care is for him/her is to become a part of ours...that God can do a new thing.

“An optimist is a person who sees only the lights in the picture, whereas a pessimist sees only the shadows. An idealist, however, is one who sees the light and the shadows, but in addition sees something else: the possibility of changing the picture, of making the lights prevail over the shadows.” (Unknown)


Ashley @ pure and lovely said...

this post makes me happy. you are fantastic. Im praying for yall every day. I love you!!! & love these thoughts.

Katie said...

Beautiful post, Jesse. Thanks for sharing this amazing experience with us. Can't wait to see God's plans unfold...

Sarah Nicholson said...

It's so good to hear what you two are going through. Chris and I are planning on adopting a child from an African country in a couple of years, and it's nice to hear your perspective on it through the process...

brooke said...

Loved reading this post. I can't wait to hear how everything unfolds for you guys. Thanks so much for sharing your updates with us :) I'm praying for you!

Ruth said...

Lovely post Jesse. It is healthy to acknowledge the darkness of this world, it makes the Kingdom light that much sweeter. Bringing you to your little one...that is our good, reconciling, peace-making God at work!

Kristy said...

I love everything about this.

Larissa Smith said...

I appreciate your thoughts, especially your perspective on what shouldn't be said, even if it sounds nice. I think your "I really wish that you hadn't needed a new family, but since you did, we are so thankful that God let us have that job" approach is perfect. Making adoption out to be a pure blessing either to the child or the adoptive family ignores the painful reality that it's a good back-up plan, not the original intention.

Love the header picture. Seriously, love it.

Adopting Rhet: Click on the timeline above to read more