Friday, July 6, 2012

DOUBTS & SECOND GUESSING



When I was younger and in the Boy Scouts, our troop went camping at a local mountain.  Along with hiking, one of the activities the troop leaders had planned for us was repelling down the side of a steep cliff.  Now I am someone who has never liked heights.  While other boys in the troop lined up to repel down the side of this mountain using what appeared to me was only a couple of ropes, I edged further from the troop and the side of the cliff.  There was absolutely no way that they were ever going to get me to do that.  While other boys took their turns and then crowed about how much fun it was, I shrank back and refused.  One of the troop leaders told me I didn't have to repel, but why didn't I just let them put the harness on me.  Somehow he convinced me that putting on the harness was all I was going to do - until I found myself standing on the edge of that cliff.  The hardest part was that first step.  Nothing in me wanted to take that first step off solid ground and I could feel my stomach growing tighter and tighter with each passing second.  I'm not sure how long it was but I did end up repelling down the side of that cliff.  Now, I'm not one of those "Feel the fear and do it anyway" types.  Still, I have found myself at a point in my life where I'm tired of being guided in my decisions by my fears.  

Yet, as we are completing our home study, I find myself full of doubts and I ask myself, “What are you doing?  You’re going to bring a complete stranger into your home – for life!”  Like the reactions of some people when we told them we were adopting, I begin to wonder if I was, indeed, crazy for undertaking this international adoption.

I’ll admit it.  There are times when I’m full of fear: rational and irrational, founded and unfounded.  I become full of questions like:

What if you can’t do this?  After all, children who’ve grown up in orphanages have all sorts of attachment issues.  What if the child doesn’t attach to our family?  What if I don’t attach to the child?  You’ve read the books and you know how difficult the bonding process can be for an adopted child. 


And what about health issues?  How do you know what you’re going to be getting into with a foreign child?  You may get little to no information on the birth parents’ health.  Who knows what you’ll really know about the child’s health.


How is this going to affect the dynamic of your home?

Will this child ever think of me as their "Papa" the way my son does?

Oh yeah, and what about behavioral issues?  What if the child really acts out?  What if the child hurts your son?  Aren’t you supposed to be protecting him?


What about all those horror stories you’ve heard and read?  Do you want to be one of those?


Can you really handle this?


This is a major life change.  Are you sure God really wants you to do this?


When our son would become afraid of the dark or monsters, I would sit him down and tell him 2nd Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of sound mind.”  Then I would ask, “So if God isn’t the one who gives us fear, who does?”


This question then comes back to me now.  God didn’t give me this fear, but I can give this fear to God.  And I do.  In my prayers to God, I open myself up in all honesty to my Creator because He knows me better than anyone else anyway.  I tell him that I’m afraid and lay it all there before Him: every doubt, every fear, and every concern.  I pray, “Lord, I have no idea where I’m going and I can’t really see the road ahead of me.  I don’t know where this road I’ve begun will end, but I trust that though I cannot see or know, You can.  My main desire is to please you in all that I’m doing.  Help me to do nothing apart from that desire.  Lead me on the right road though I sometimes falsely believe myself to be lost.  Help me not to fear, for You are ever with me and You will never forsake me, nor leave me on this path alone.”


As Isaiah 43:2-4 states:
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.  
For I am the Lord, your God,
you are precious to me.  You are honored, and I love you.

When I’m done, I remain silent and wait on God.  I once again begin to realize how much God truly loves me and, as scriptures tell us, “Perfect love cast out all fear.”

Are all of my questions legitimate?  Yes, but I have to realize that God has a plan for our family.  We believe He has started us on the path to adoption and He alone will guide us.  God has the right child or children for our family.  We just have to trust Him, even when we don’t feel like trusting. 







According to Ellen Roseman on Adoption.com the common fears of potential adoptive parents are as follows:


1. FINANCIAL FEARS is this going to be affordable?

2. DECISION MAKING FEARS about adoption routing. How to we spend our money wisely and choose the right professionals for us? What about
using the internet? Advertising? Mass mailings?

3. LOSS OF CONTROL FEARS:

a. Fear a child will not become available to you.
b. Fear of openness/open adoption
c. Fear the biological parents will change their
minds and take the child back.
d. Fear the process will take too long.
e. Fear you will be too old to parent or be
chosen.
f. Fear of pressure to take "any" child.
4. DEFECTIVE CHILD FEARS:

a. Fear the birth mother will not take good care
of herself during pregnancy using drugs, alcohol,
or poor nutrition... also smoking.
b. Fear about the genetic background as being
inferior to your own.
c. Fear the child could be emotionally disturbed.

5. BONDING ATTACHMENT FEARS:

a. Fear you won't bond to the child
b. Fear you'll have doubts this is "as good as"
c. Fear you will later conceive- and should have
waited.
d. Fear your adoptive child may later choose
birth parents over you.
e. Fear the biological parents may seek contact
and disrupt your bond with the child.
f. Fear you won't love this child as much as one
produced biologically.

6. FAMILY/FRIENDS FEARS:

a. Fear your family won't accept an adopted
child, especially if racially different.
b. Fear you will be stigmatized and others will
doubt your "real" attachment and parent role.

Fears stem from the pain of LOSS or possible LOSS.
Steps to healing and repairing: It is important not to be "victimized" by losses in life. Life always has "speed bumps" and "detours." Action steps include:

Grieving, Grieving, Grieving
Knowledge, knowledge, knowledge is power
Preparation, Preparation, Preparation
Support Groups, Therapy when needed, Rituals

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