Today they will come. Four, possibly five families, are coming to spend 16 hours over the next two days learning all about adoption. They will be bright eyed and filled with hopes and dreams.
And it will be my job to guide them through Adoption Reality 101. I will be the "professional" and we've hired Kari to be the "'parent" and together we need to somehow explain to them what raising these kids might be like while still encouraging them to take on the challenge.
I call it "being willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause."
I am not going to be able to guarantee them much in regards to how they can "make their kids turn out good." I won't be able to promise them that the kids will make good choices. I can guarantee them some difficult moments of challenge, some times they will wonder what they have gotten themselves into, and some days when they are stretched to their limit.
And I certainly cannot guarantee that their hearts will not be broken, that their minds will not at times be befuddled by the choices of their kids, that their bodies won't be, at some point, threatened.
BUT I can guarantee that their children, these future people who they do not yet know, will be better off having been shown a different choice about how to live their lives. Their children will have a better chance having been given a family and permanence. And, if they are open to the journey and can get the support they need, they as parents, will become better people 15 years down the road.
I have not been through some of the horrors of my friends, but we've been through plenty of tough things and every day we know we could be headed into something else that is equally difficult. But 14 years ago, when I was planning my upcoming wedding, just a little more than a month away, I was a much more naive, narrow-minded, over-confident and selfish person who thought she had all the answers. Thanks to my kids I have experienced the other side of life, broadened my thinking, become humbled and much more patient, grown to understand God's unconditional love for us as His adopted children, and learned to live a life outside myself.
Bart has said it many times and I will say it to the attendees today: I set out on the adoption journey to save a child ... and in the end, my children have saved me....