You keep calling me brave and I keep receiving it with a confused look, because in my heart I know that there’s anxiety.
Approximately six months, one billion forms and documents and house projects and many hours of trainings and books later, we are near the final hoop of being certified for foster-to-adopt in California before being placed with kids. This is the good news. This is the obeying God’s call for our family news. This is the over a decade of dreaming news.
We had a hiccup in our final walk-thru this week that’s pushed things back a bit and made it all a little more “scrambly”. I’m not good at backing off a pursuit or waiting with grace or pretending like I’m not disappointed when I actually am, so that anxiety made me a little emotional. Presenting itself in nausea. As in drinking a Coke at 6:30am instead of coffee to combat the nausea, nausea. I am, however, much more familiar with The Scramble and the keep-moving-forward-when-things-get-trickier tenacity that life requires from us.
So you call me brave and I know that the sleeve of Thin Mints I ate between the sheets suggests otherwise. There is no question or anxiety around adopting or the messiness that is sure to follow. It is seared on our heart. My fear is tangled in the fact that we don’t even HAVE kids in our home yet, just empty beds waiting, and I’m already a mess of emotions, feeling attached to children that aren’t even mine yet. Not caring is so much safer, isn’t it? Caring requires a certain amount of vulnerability of the most dangerous kind. They are all the layered, both/and feelings of happy and worried, elated and unsure, so I doubt myself and the doubts whisper lies wondering if I’m actually strong enough to do this if I’m already experiencing emotions. God says we were ordained to connect through emotions. Fear says emotions are dangerous and put-together people don’t have them. As we all know, fear is a liar.
What if, actually, bravery is holding space for sadness when we face a disappointment, the honesty to walk through it, the resiliency to continue to hold our heart open and tender. Hope is always what that choke-weed fear is trying to wrap around. Hope. That faith of things hoped for and the assurance of things unseen (hebrews 11:1)
When our kids (whoever they are) do come home with messy, wrecked hearts we will hold hands together down the long road of the healing process. We will ask them to face all their sadness and rage and uncertainty and we will hold space for it. We will walk through it. We will ask them to do the Big Scary of tenderizing their hearts again. We will whisper God’s love. And it will take every ounce of courage their tiny little bodies can muster to trust in this, in love, our love, God’s love.
So keep telling me I’m brave. Because I’m going to be telling them.
But, you know, drinking all the Cokes and eating all the cookies too!