by Joy Casey
Director, Adoption Ministry
Most dads can sleep through anything. The baby cries at 2 a.m. but he barely moves a muscle. Moms are pacing the floor at 12:02 a.m. when Suzie is supposed to be home, but Dad is in bed snoring up a storm. I asked my husband once how he could be so calm when our children were out at night or the little ones were up with a raging fever or some other potential catastrophe was looming. He gave me two answers: 1) you worry so I don’t have to, and 2) it’s God’s gift to men [to sleep soundly and not worry].
So, I am addressing this post to adopting moms in that difficult phase of the adoption process between passing court and getting clearance from the Embassy to travel to bring your child home. I hope that you will take my advice because I am very old and therefore very wise (HA!).
Every now and again I hear quips such as, “I am constantly checking my email throughout the night,” or, “I pretty much don’t sleep anymore…” The disturbing part for me is when the exhausted mommy finally travels to Ethiopia, her nerves and exhaustion negatively affect her adjustment with her new child. Her low reserves make her unable to cope with the really hard part of the whole adoption process: parenting. You may think that this interminable waiting is excruciating and the most difficult part. “If only I could get baby Ruthie home, then everything will be perfect.” The reality is, when baby Ruthie gets home is when the hard, day-to-day work begins. We hear back from every one of our families that the first several months of adjustment is not a blissful walk in the park. It is wearing on everybody… husband, wife, kids. In short, it takes every ounce of energy and mental fortitude you can muster.
Just as you prepare for your new child by designing a bedroom and buying clothes, prepare your heart and body to be able to give 100% to this gift that God is entrusting you with. Live a full life between now and the day you appear at the Embassy. Don’t put plans on hold for a “what if…” Go on that vacation, enroll in that class, buy tickets to a play, teach a Bible study and be gloriously happy if your plans get interrupted with a coveted court or Embassy date. Keep busy, stay in His Word constantly and prepare yourself to be a new mom by getting regular sleep and leaving your anxiety at the feet of Jesus.
This is not pie-in-the-sky advice. His Word tells us not to worry and assures us that Jesus will take our burden and carry it. The caveat is that we have to give Him our worries; He will not yank them from us. If you are weighted down with anxiety you will not be all you can be when your child comes home.