Because I usually don’t want people to think I’m crazy.
And usually adoption makes people think you’re a little crazy. We’ve gotten some of those looks. Even before revealing that we’re not planning to adopt a baby and we’re not planning to stop at one. You know the ones, the looks that people give you during your first pregnancy. The she has no idea what she’s getting herself into looks.
And I didn’t when I became a mom. No conversation or book or website or other resource could have adequately prepared me. It’s a lot of learning as you go with the guidance of others who have gone before you. And a lot of prayer. A whole lot of prayer.
So do we know what we’re getting ourselves into? No. Are we a little crazy? Yes. (But let's all be honest and admit that that’s going to be true whether or not we adopt.) Do we know what we’re getting ourselves into? Probably not. Scratch that. Definitely not.
Throughout the Bible, God calls His people to do seemingly crazy things in his name and for his glory. The whole send the Son of God to earth to live a perfect life and die to defeat sin and rise from the dead to defeat death plan is a little crazy. I mean, imagine if you had never heard the Gospel before and someone told you that. It's not exactly in the realm of logic.
I’m not putting us on the same level of Christ. Certainly not! We’re confident, though, that he’s leading us in this particular sort of crazy, though. And we wouldn’t want to turn our backs on him to embrace the ordinary.
We knew as a couple, even before Lee proposed, that we wanted to adopt. It’s a longer and more personal story than I have space for here, but feel free to ask me about it offline. We began reconsidering that after Jocelyn was born, leaning instead toward having more biological kids instead of adopting as many as we had planned. However, through a series of circumstances, God has brought our hearts back to where He led them in the first place.
After a lot of prayer and research and prayer and conversations and prayer, we're willing to share where we stand in our plans right now. No guarantees that it won’t change, though, because God does his thing (the best thing!) in his time. However, I don’t think it’s unwise to share our plans, just as others aren’t shy about saying “ideally we want two kids” (or one kid or five kids or no kids). We trust that God is sovereign, and we'll be content whether or not his plans are the same as ours.
But since you asked (well, no, I suppose you didn't. but it's my blog, so I can pretend you did):
- We are very likely done with pregnancies. My body could do it, but I lost bone in my joints during my last pregnancy, ended up with MRSA (which recurred seven times and once led to c. diff), and – in many ways – could say that I spent four years recovering from my first pregnancy. So, unless Lee manages to bear a child for us, I don't think we'll be adding to our count of biological kiddos. I’ll confess that while we think this is the best choice for us, our hearts are a little broken. I might tear up sometimes when I hold a baby, because a part of me wishes I could hold another of mine. But my heart is full, nonetheless.
- We expect to adopt our third child internationally through Reece’s Rainbow, an international Down syndrome orphan ministry. Yes, this means that our third child will have some degree of disability. (If you're thinking this makes us crazy, please refer back to the title of this post.) When we were pregnant with Jocelyn, Lee expressed concerns that she might have special needs because, in his words, “God knows you, Shannon. He knows that you would be a great mom of a child with a disability I just don’t know if I would make a great dad.” He’s not sure in hindsight if he meant “a great dad of a kid with special needs” or just “a great dad” in general. I can vouch for the latter that he is. And now, the same guy who was worried about having a child with special needs is equally or more passionate about adopting one as I am. It’s not a pity thing or a duty thing; as cheeseball as it sounds, it’s a God thing. In the US, a kid with special needs and without a family goes to foster care; it’s not a perfect system, but it’s not always a bad one either. In many other countries, an orphan with special needs – particularly obvious, definitive ones like Down syndrome – is sent to a warehouse called an institution and given little more than basic care. Often the extent of the disability is irrelevant. The idea of welcoming them into families is unheard of. (As a related update, Kirill – the Russian boy I told you about a couple months ago – is now part of the Davis family. I think they should be returning to Alabama next week.) We will begin that process in a year and a half to two years, once our third floor has been converted from all attic space to two bedrooms and a bathroom.
- Our fourth and fifth children will likely be a sibling pair from the foster care system. The oldest will probably be in elementary school. We are planning for them to be the youngest children in our family, so that adoption is further down the road considering that our current children are two and four. From the beginning of our conversations about adoption, our hearts were drawn toward older kids. I think it’s wonderful to adopt a child of any age, though, and I wouldn't turn away an infant if the stork dropped one on our doorstep. (What? That's not how it works? hmm.) That's just not the age group we're planning to pursue.
I think I’ll leave the rest of the crazy for another time, though. If you can get past our insanity, would you pray for us?