Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My Expectant Heart after Joy in the Journey Retreat 2014

I have to thank Kate at the Adopt Shoppe for spreading the word and making me aware of the beautiful ministry the ladies at Joy in the Journey provide to families on their blog and through social media.  It has been resource for me on ideas for my family, but also connected me to other moms who have gone through similar life experiences in a new community. When I heard they were having a retreat to support women having considered adoption, who have adopted, or who were in the process of adopting/foster care I knew I needed to be there.  They blessed me with an opportunity to be a vendor and share about Trades of Hope {www.mytradesofhope.com/jessargetsinger} but I knew I needed to attend for my own heart and personal struggles as an adoptive mom.   

Our adoption story can be found at our blog {www.enmicorazon.wordpress.com} and since we came home with our daughter from Colombia in 2012 I had made some pretty significant life changes.  I was grateful to have the opportunity to stay home and connect with our daughter (whom we adopted when she was 27 months old), but coming out of teaching full-time, connecting and attaching to a toddler, and keeping life in check with her older brother was a bit much for me to handle at one time.  I know my demeanor and personality remained constant with my friends but I found my “fleshy” nature was incredibly evident in how I communicated with my children and the expectations I had for them at five and two years old.  I struggled to understand my daughter’s behaviors and questioning if she was acting out because of her personality, her background, or learned behaviors from me or others at the orphanage. Please do not hear that I did/do not love my daughter because she is truly endearing and a bright light in my world.  She brings immeasurable joy to new and familiar faces she meets but training and taming that vivacious spirit has been wearisome. I didn’t feel like I could ‘parent’ her because I didn’t know how to handle the outbursts or the drama.  I worried about how we were going to share her history with her when she grew older and validate her needs. There were so many questions and doubts that I knew were not (and ARE not) of God.  So many of those who shared in honesty at the Joy in the Journey Retreat helped me see that I am not alone with those feelings and doubts.  We are called to share our hearts and be open for the treasure that is to be found in Him and in the gift of our children and families. Adoption magnifies and intensifies God’s heart and when I feel there is too much resistance it is because I am actively seeking the hidden treasure of Jesus Christ in my daughter’s heart and life which fills her up with contagious joy.  I have learned to look at my expectations as her mom and recognize my need to be her steady—and when I feel I can’t then it is time for me to raise up my hands to the Lord and ask for His guidance and help.  It is so freeing to know He has given me the tools-and the community-to be the mother I am called to be.  I see my daughter for the gift she is and I am confident she has been given to our family for her sake as much as my own. I do not take the responsibility I have in being her momma lightly and maybe that is why I had such a hard time in the beginning of our time together as a family of four.  The burden I was carrying of her history and the fear of the future were stealing the present moments of love and light.  I have learned to relish in the good, become more lavish with my love and to let loose the chains of fear.  It is refreshing to see the Truth and release the lies as my heart is being prepared for more change…

Besides gaining connection with others in my struggles and successes I knew there was a Greater Plan ahead for my family. I was eager to attend a breakout session on foster care at the retreat because my husband and I have felt a stirring on our hearts to consider this opportunity in our area.  I knew I had been called to a time of action after hearing the joys and struggles from some of the foster moms at the retreat.  My husband and I attended our county’s child foster care informational meeting this past Monday and have started completing our initial paperwork to become licensed foster parents.  For me to say I do not feel some fear and trepidation going forward would be untrue, but I know the One who orders these steps and He will not leave us as we walk this journey to help other families.  We also see the need to support other foster and adoptive families which may lead us into a ministry opportunity at our church...

This brings me to my final take away from the retreat weekend. I had the privilege of bringing a dear friend with me who has had the call of adoption on her heart for quite some time. Her questions about adoption and taking the first step were confirmed with a resounding YES that she and her family are to go forward with their process!  On our way home from the retreat she commented on how she has literally “felt pregnant” since October.  I told her it is because her heart is pregnant and we laughed at such an image.  But then as I was thinking about it her heart really is expecting her next child and we felt confirmation to call any future ministry in support of foster and adoptive families The Expectant Heart. Similarly, the verse that was spoken to my friend about this weekend was found in John 15.  Our Lord Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches, if we remain in Him we will bear much fruit, and He has chosen and appointed us to go and bear the fruit that is to the Father’s glory. What a beautiful image of our family as the tree and our adoptive and foster children being grafted into our family branches.  There is a purpose coming forth in the fruit after the pain-possibly of infertility, loss, wounds, fear, or heartache-yet the promise of beauty and goodness being born out of it is the Treasure to be found.  So it is with God’s family when we become co-heirs with Jesus—we will bear fruit that will last—for eternity when we cut off the pain and despair of sin to join in God’s everlasting family and heritage.  Our hearts are expectant for this Change and Love to reign in our families and communities…may we bear much fruit going forward. 

No comments:

Post a Comment