The Garrisons

Follow our journey on adoption #3 for child #8!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

No Judgement Attached....

This is another hard, but honest, post. I was told this week by someone I love that Nathan and I and our choices may be making others feel inferior. While this was presented graciously, it cut to the quick. You see, the very last thing I want others to see or feel in our journey is that we think we are superior or are judgemental of anyone else and their journeys.

The idea came from my last post and my reflecting on my own selfishness and struggle to embrace a life that would require me to give up some things in order to adopt two children. It was gently pointed out to me that if I am reflecting on these things, others may relate to my thoughts on myself and apply them to themselves. For example, if we are choosing to adopt children and forgo some of our dining out or vacations, then what about others who make the choice to do these things (eat out, vacation, etc.) and don't adopt children?

I want to be clear about something and I hope you will hear my heart on this: We are not concerned with what others are or are not doing. We hope that you (or anyone else) will never look at our lives and think we think 'we are so good' or that others are inferior. Boy, that was hard to even write. We have been blessed (and challenged) to be put on this path of adoption, but we are not better than anyone because we are on it. This is God's doing and not our own. My flaws are many - too many to list - and I am just grateful that God will still use me despite of them.

We know that we are on the path that God has for our family - we are in agreement and we have peace about it. I will be honest though - this is hard. It's hard to think that other's might feel negatively about what we are doing. It's hard to choose something for your family that is 'out of the norm'. It's hard to feel like others might judge you about the decisions you are making. It's hard to think about making sacrifices.

Here's the truth - I am responsible for doing what I know God is asking me to do, and I hope that I will do it with grace so that others never feel in some way condemned or judged by me in the process. You are responsible for your own journey.
I was reminded of this passage of scripture earlier this week by a good friend (unrelated to the conversation I mentioned above, but very appropriate):

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you truly love me more than these?"
"Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."
Again Jesus said, "Simon, son of John, do you truly love me?"
He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."
The third time he said to him, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?"
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?"
He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old someone will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go."
Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God.
Then he said to him, "Follow me!"
Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them......
When Peter saw him, he asked,
"Lord, what about him?"
Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?
You must follow me."
John 21:15-22
You see, Jesus wanted Peter to worry about his own journey....not John's or anyone else's. The same is true for me - He wants me to worry about my journey. Yours is between you and Him.
Nathan and I will make decisions for our family, and yes, advocate for is our heart.
But we do so with no judgement attached. Each one can read, pray, and decide for themselves what God has for them. They certainly don't need me in my own imperfection to do it for them.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


Lately I've been wrestling a bit with God....not because we disagree (how can you disagree with God??:), but because I am trying to make sense of things. Over the past week or so, Nathan and I have been in prayer and discussion about our 'request' for a child in our second adoption. (BTW - I completely and totally hate to refer to it as a request...we are not shopping for a child, but we are trying to discern what direction God wants us to go). Let me explain.....

When we started our homestudy this time around, we agreed to ask for an approval that was wide open. So, we got approved for 1-2 children instead of just 1. At the time we completely felt like it was a wise thing to do because you just never know in international adoption, and if our referral showed up with a sibling or something, we wanted to be prepared. We (I) really didn't have any intention of bringing two children home.

Fast forward to the past week or so and I can tell you we are in a completely different place with this. Apparently, after having some discussion, Nathan was under the impression that we were open to two children once we submitted our homestudy that way. I just thought we were being open just in case. When I found out this is what Nathan was open to, I was a bit taken a back. My initial reaction was to feel overwhelmed.....six kids?? Am I on candid camera? You must be kidding me.

So, for the next several days, I prayed - a lot. And I proceeded to tell God all of the reasons that this doesn't make sense and that I wasn't sure I wanted to be the "crazy adoption lady" with six kids. I mean, those people are weird, right??

So, in the interest of transparency, I will share with you some of my really super-duper great reasons for not adopting two more for a total of six: (don't judge me....I'm just being honest!)
  • Like I said, I don't want to be the weird adoption lady. I mean, I think I'm pretty normal. :))
  • How will we afford the additional adoption expenses (since we don't really know how we are affording them for one!)
  • Grocery bills for a family of eight.
  • I want to be able to go on vacation once in a while.
  • I like to eat out.
  • Do these kids expect to go to college??
  • No one will ever invite us over for dinner again.
  • Will I have to give up my own involvement in ministries I love in order to parent these children well?
  • Will I have time to be myself when so many others need me?
  • And again....How will we afford all of this and what will we drive?? :)
Super-duper great reasons, right?
None of these reasons seems good enough to allow a child to stay in an orphanage and wait for a I can go on vacation? so I can eat out? because I may have to give a few things up? I'm pretty sure God does not want me to leave a child behind because they don't fit in my van.
Let me tell you, I have wrestled with these things. Not because I don't want two more and not because I don't want six kids....I actually do. I am actually humbled that our God would entrust me with six precious lives. I am in awe of that.
But, I am selfish. I like to be in control. I never imagined this is what my life would look like. I never thought we would be a family of eight. I don't want to give things up - new clothes, meals out, taking trips, entertainment, and other pleasurable activies. And, I'll be honest - I may have to give some of it up to do adopt one, let alone two. Why do I say that I know this life is not about me, and then live it as if it is?
So, I have prayed. I have talked to other adoptive moms. And I have examined God's heart. I cannot claim to know exactly what God has for us, but I will tell you that God has placed a genuine excitement in me at the thought of adopting two. No, not an emotional response, but a feeling that my heart is in line with His. So, we will move forward with our adoption and wait with anticipation to see His plan unfold. Because here is what I know for sure....our first adoption didn't make any sense (from the world's perspective). Our kids were bigger, I was still teaching, and we really couldn't afford it (so we thought). But through it God was faithful, He provided what we needed and He brought us our sweet Elijah. What if I had missed it.....? What if I had missed it because of my fears and selfishness??
I hear Him whispering....."Do you trust me? do you really trust me? This is not too big for me."
Of course it isn't - I do trust Him and I am excited about this journey He has us thing I've learned so far - His ways and His plans are always better..... so bring it on!