I spent the end of last week at the Orphan Alliance Summit VII Conference in Louisville, KY. Since that probably sounds like a long and mysterious title, I will give you the brief summary: basically, 2 days where all kinds of people who have any type of interest in orphan care, adoption, missions, etc. gather together to worship, be encouraged, meet one another, and learn lots and lots of information. It was a wonderful way to spend a few days, and I am still attempting to process everything that I learned and heard while there.
Each day the schedule began with a joint session followed by "breakout sessions," or smaller classes, which were more specific to your personal interests or needs. One of the sessions that I attended was called "Becoming a Multicultural/Multiracial Family." I decided upon it not only because it sounded interesting, but also because it counted towards my Hague training (10 credit hours we are required to take for our agency and for the government). The topic was divided into 2 sessions, and I had only planned on going to the first one. However, I learned that the 2nd session would be a panel discussion and I opted to attend it, as well. It turned out to be the best part of the conference for me.
It was led by 3 adult adoptees who each told their story, and then the floor was opened for questions which they graciously and openly answered. The things they chose to share truly opened my eyes to the path before us as a family. To be honest, I had never really thought much about what my child-to-be will think when she reaches the age of 30 or 40 and looks back. The feelings and thoughts she might have as an adult...as a sister...as a mother of her own children...had not really occurred to me. I wish I could say I had fully contemplated this entire journey, but most of us as parents don't often think that far down the road. (Or maybe I am the only one who doesn't!) We are trying to safely navigate the day to day with perhaps a thought for the future college fund thrown in here and there. I try not to spend a good deal of time dwelling on the "did I?" and "will they?" questions, although I do pray for specific things such as "please Lord let them all love each other when they grow up" and the desperate cry of " also please don't let them need too much therapy."
As a mom, I dream and hope for my children, I encourage them in the things they love to do, and I pray that God will cultivate His gifts in them as they go into their futures. But to be honest, I rarely think about what that future will look like to their minds and hearts, or how they will all feel about this adoption journey when they are grown and living out those dreams. These 3 individuals who spoke to us gave me a great deal to examine in my own heart, and they also gave me so much to ask myself. I will admit to having a moment of, "What am I thinking??!! What if I ruin everyone's life??!!" during this time of self-reflection. But in the end, it comes down to knowing what God has called us to do...and doing it. If I can confidently say that we are seeking God and His wisdom, then I have to trust Him with the ENTIRE thing. That means a few months from now as well as 30 years from now, I have to allow Him to guide us.
Another great part of the conference was getting some fabulous resources. This afternoon, I began reading one of the books I received and came across this quote: "All parenting is a brave journey of faith." I think that is such a simple yet profound statement. Yes, I have 2 children here waiting with us for the arrival of their sibling. Yes, when they are all 3 here together there will be challenges and trials along with the joys and the triumphs. But we don't turn back just because the road ahead looks a little unclear. We keep going. I am thankful to be on this brave journey. I pray that one day, when we all look behind at the road we have traveled, we will mostly be able to see His work in all of us. And, hopefully, we will have arrived at our destination together.