Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Fear...

Preparing to travel to Ethiopia was the kneebuckling part of the journey for me. At least, until the point the bags were checked in at the airport. (I didn't even care that they told us upon checking in that there was no way they would arrive in Addis... whatev')

Little whispers in my ear. Little images in the night. Thoughts of the "What if" scenarios. But one- one scenario stuck. I could see it happening. Here the voices. Picture the room. Even now when I think back on that 'scene', I picture my fear scene- not the real one.

I prayed. Oh brother where art thou, did I pray. Great big sobbing, giant tears on my knees, pull the car over, hide under my desk, can't speak for hours pray & tears. What do I do God, when this happens? What do I do?

You see, I'd seen it so clearly, over and over again. I'd prayed about it over and over again. That I thought for sure- I 'knew' it was God, preparing me for what was about to happen. So much so, I almost repacked my bags 100 times preparing to have to stay in Ethiopia indefinitely.

In my mind, God was telling me - His family wants him back. I thought "for sure", our family meeting would culminate in me hearing that now that he was healthy and would live, they would like for him to return home to Wolayta.

Knew. For. Sure.

I'm admitting to you here and now, that I made a photo album of pictures and thought of a hundred others tactics to sneak into that meeting and use, for when those words were spoken. I really did.

In the end, the album and all other tactics stayed home. Did not even make the flight.

I don't think I ever voiced this out loud. Because that would make it too real. But that sneaky suspicion that God was preparing me, his new- little- baby- know- nothing- Christian, was ever present, and precipitated every action, word and thought in those months.

What would I do, when it happened?

  • Now, in reality- most of us know that 1- the agencies have prepped the families over and over again that they can not expect such things nor say such things. And 2- they would never translate it, even if they did. In fact, I'm sure many of them have used the "look at what America looks like" "school" "food" "easy life" tactics to win over the families. Which is yucky and sucky and makes me feel like a nasty "ho' for only now realizing the manipulation I participated in- even if it didn't happen in front of me. NOW I KNOW. 

Just for a moment- forget about the agency interference. Think about what would you do in a moment like this?

It's scary.

"Sorry Charlie. Court says he's mine now."

"Umm. Ok?"


That's where I was from November to January. Stuck in a - what? Where? Should I do? Now?

That was my fear. That was fear, knocking on the door. It wasn't God speaking to me, giving me answers on how to be prepared to manipulate, take the baby and run scenario. It was outright Fear.
  • God didn't put that there. But, heck yes, He allows that. He doesn't save us from all our fears. How else are we stretched to grow? How else do we grow deeper in faith?

Fear. Pain. Growth.

It's a common theme on this journal o mine.


I do not know what I would have done- had that scenario actually played out. I don't. But that is where my heart went upon reading, the now long absent, posts from a place call simplicity blog. It smelled like fear.

And I wonder, if that isn't a good question, we should be asking the first parents. Or should adoptive parents, at least pose the question before themselves? I don't know. I really do not know. I will never know- until the situation is staring me in the face. I hope I take the God paved road. I hope I take the ethical route. I hope I take the road the empowers rather than oppresses. I hope. and I hope. and I hope.


Claudia said...

I never got to read that original post. But I do remember having conversations with J about 'what if it was a mistake and they are wanted back?' and we knew we would have to do it. But we didn't have any idea how we would find the courage. Frankly, I still don't, except I am absolutely sure that God would have somehow given us the strength to do the hard, right thing.

I admire your honestly in this post! I think it's really good to admit that actually, none of us are really so different - we woudl all be tempted to do exactly what it seems the other peopkle did.

los cazadores said...

Your words are powerful and induce in me a visceral reaction. Like Claudia, I never got to read that original post.

kn said...

I don't know the original post. I honestly never thought about that. Strange, stupid, naive? I didn't think it was a whim of the birth parents. I also knew there were options they had and that the one they chose was not their only option. So I guess I respected that. But each families story is so very unique I don't think you could put two by two and be able to compare them.

if it happened to us, we would be devastated but we would stand by the birth family. No other way to live from our perspective. Even knowing how firm the family are in their stance it's still incredibly difficult. So many hearts broken. It's a sad tale.

scooping it up said...

I love this Shannon and love where your thoughts went with this. I appreciate your honesty too.

After long thought and deliberation about the original post, I have come to the conclusion that what bothered me the most was not what the people did in trying to manipulate the system and the child's first family. What bothered me the most was not that they felt that they were better and fit parents for this child. Maybe they were. What the heck do I know.

It wasn't that they told her they were her parents and called her their daughter before she was technically available for adoption and thus building the hopes of a little girl for a life at Disneyland USA.

It wasn't the untold reasons why they felt they really ought to do.

It was the National Enquirer of Christianity Sensationalism. It was constantly calling her in writing the Orphan Jesus Wants Us To Save, over and over and over. It was their followers - both from the adoption world and I am guessing folks from their congregation who had been primed and ready for a Miracle and all their hopes and faith were resting on the pastor and his wife bringing home the Big Win for God.

This is a girl's life. The moments they shared in public were tragic, life changing horrible moments,and instead of respecting that they turned into front page news.

And the fact that they were so very vocal and insensitive in the way they spoke about her situation (however many details they chose to omit- the massive amount of play by play moments they still shared about their process to get the family to relinquish the child was just upsettingly bad). This vocality, this holy pride in the good work they were doing in God's name made me wonder, what are they gonna tell this girl?
What are they already telling her?

We saved you? God told us to get you out of Uganda? Because that is what they were telling their readers and followers about her.

And I think that is a shi&%# (sorry) thing to shove down a child's throat. That isn't "we want to be your family." That is using her as a platform in my mind.

They had another post just days before that still may be there called "Satan loves Orphans." The entire post was difficult to swallow. I do not know who these people think they are but I am 100% positive that phrase does not come from God nor the Bible. The father is a pastor and whether or not he or his wife wrote that post, they as a team are sending that kind of language into the hearts and minds of his followers who don't know jack crap about ethics in adoption and who eat up every word.

It was insensitivity and sensationalism piled on top of blatant ethics and potentially law-breaking behavior that broke this camels back.

It seemed they made this whole adoption about God -and I say this with as little criticism and judgement as I can muster- and themselves. Instead of about a child.

Maybe some people would argue it's always about God. But my gut and my heart and my desire to throw up in shock and disgust when I read their blog made me think that the God they were talking about and the one I worship are not the same one.

Cindy said...

Love this!

graceling said...


Yes, yes, yes.