If you have forgotten what it is like to be a kid, you just need to hang out with my husband for half a minute (as you can see from the video above! That's him -- the handsome face at the end.)
Have you ever struggled to switch from work mode to fun mode? I have! It can be difficult to jump into fun mode with all of the responsibilities and pressures looming over our heads. I am so grateful for Joe because this isn't much of a problem for him. Actually, he just lives in the state of f-u-n. While necessary, growing up has this tendency to complicate things, so lets stay childlike in as many ways as we can.
Joe and I recently went on a date to see the movie Pete’s Dragon, and man did I get more than I bargained for. For starters we were the only adults in the theatre without kids (this is pretty normal for us since we’re basically children trapped in adult bodies). Secondly, we don’t go on many “dates”, even though there’s a million marriage books that say we should fix that--we know the rhythm that works for us.... Let’s just be honest, there is nothing quite like the comfort of yoga pants, an oversized tee, fluffy socks and your own couch.
But, enough about us, let’s get back to Pete.
I am no movie critic, but I definitely recommend seeing this movie. I won’t give the movie away (I promise), but I will share a little bit for context. Pete is an orphan and Elliot is his dragon, aka “guardian angel”. What’s special about Elliot is that he only goes to those kids who need him and only stays with them while he is needed. Throughout the movie there are undertones of adoption, the ebb and flow of finding your tribe, and the duality of loving what you had fully while desiring the exposure of something new. Then, there is the reality of being exactly where you are--and it is all so tornadic.
Please consider this your formal invitation to our adoption journey:
Joe and I have started the adoption process three times and have been denied twice, each time with no explanation, which is absolutely exasperating! If you’re going to tell us we don’t work, the least you can do is tell us how to get better, but no, it’s “against policy” or something like that. With the first denial, I felt resilient knowing there were more agencies out there for us to try. Then, the second denial came, accompanied by disappointment and the feeling that maybe the timing was off. We were so frustrated because with every invasive application we filled out it drilled deeper into our open wound. We just couldn’t catch a break.
I’ve always known that I would adopt one day, whether I could or could not conceive. Adoption is just in me; it almost feels like I’m hardwired for it but, with what felt like so many disappointments, it was easier to shut down. Over time rationalizations came and my conversations started to sound like this: “I really like our life the way it is” or “we have the freedom to get up and go when we want” or “I see how hard it is, do I really want that?”. While all of these thoughts and feelings were true, they weren’t completely accurate.
Travel back several years with me to an A-HA! moment where something clicked for me while reading Meet Mrs. Smith (a powerful book written by Anna Smith). She put words to something I had been feeling for a long time. She tells the story of when their family went to a village in Africa with all six kids, two parents and one mission. Anna writes: “We want our children to grow up with love for the unloved deeply rooted in their DNA, so they know that this life is not just about them but about serving those who need help”.
When I read that, it hit me and with these crocodile tears streaming down my face. I asked myself, “Is that not what it is all about?”, followed immediately by “Carrie, can you do that?” I find that I am asking myself those questions again and more often these days.
Of course I have had an innate desire to conceive and grow a human, but greater than that, I want to help. I want to rescue one or two or three children who didn’t get their best start. So how do I keep my heart valiant and undaunted in the face of rejection? This is the question that I’m learning to walk out each day. I’m sure this is a process that we will be navigating for years to come.
As we sat in the theatre, the images of this orphan boy began to shatter my reality and all I could think of was our adoption journey. I remembered our hope and our subsequent disappointment. I choked back countless tears through numerous scenes until I couldn’t hold it in anymore and the floodgates opened. There were parts of me I was working so hard at keeping at bay, and in that theatre, through that movie, they confronted me and I could not ignore them any longer.
Today, I stand facing myself, my emotions, my disappointments, my hurts and my hurdles--reassured that I can do this. I am choosing to look at disappointment in the face with joy, and work through my fears and cover-ups with peace and purpose.
Thank you for journeying with me today. Know that no matter what battle, disappointment or hurt you may be facing, you are loved and appreciated--and you are not alone.
See you next Tuesday.