From Beth:All that paperwork about killed me. I don't know what it was about the page after page after page to be signed, notarized, apostilled-- but I hated it! For some reason it stressed me out more than any other aspect of the adoption process.
I'll never forget calling my sweet friend Susan Hillis from the Apostille office in Atlanta in veritable hysterics. Poor Susan, I was crying so hard that she assumed I had been in a car wreck or something equally awful. But in reality I just needed to tell her how devastated I was that EVERY SINGLE DOCUMENT that I had painstakingly collected, and that had been meticulously notarized, was invalid. Those of you who have adopted internationally know the size of the pile of papers required.
The idea that I would have to go back and do them all over again was crushing. It was:
A lot of work.
A lot of stress.
A lot of money.
A lot of WAITING AND DELAY.
Now, 15 years later, my list of inconveniences, disappointments (some crushing and some just irritating), and prices paid in time, emotion and finance, has grown quite long of course. Mostly I don't think about my life, about our adoptions, about parenting, in these terms-- in terms of cost.
But, every once in a while Stephen and I have been known to look at each other and say something like, "Wow, we really had no idea what we were getting into did we?!" Not out of regret at all, but more as a commentary on life, an acknowledgment that there have been prices to pay along the way.
Love is costly.
We were going to adopt two other children.
For a year we prayed every single day for Ivana and Yevgeny, a little 5 year old girl and 3 year old boy. We had their photo on our refrigerator and we thought for sure these were the children God had given us.
We spent money.
We spent time.
We spent emotion.
We spent with the joy that comes with Anticipation and Hope and Possibility!
I find myself tearing up with tender feelings and strong connection even after all these years seeing this photo again. Beautiful little treasures.
After a year of all of this spending the word got to their grandmother that these two little ones were going to be adopted to an American family. This grandmother, who had never visited her grandchildren before, must have come to a kind of awakening. She realized that this was not o.k. with her. She went to that orphanage and brought Ivana and Yevgeny home with her.
When Stephen and I were told this news, we were devastated--completely shocked and confused, wondering how something we had been so sure of could turn out so differently from what we had "known."
I just know some of you reading this know EXACTLY what I am talking about. You have lived it.
I will never forget driving in the car with Stephen praying about this, asking God what was going on? Had we completely missed Him? Were we even called to adopt? What did He want us to do? etc.
And then He spoke. In my spirit I heard God say, "Beth, if I had told you a year ago that I was going to use all that money you spent, all the time, all that prayer, all that love, all that pursuit.... to get Ivana and Yevgeny back into their birth family, would you have done it?"
Who but the Lord can respond to a list of questions with a question and get away with it?!
Who but the Lord can tuck into the folds of a question all the answers that I need?
A weight of peace fell on us. That is the way with Him. When He speaks, Life and Peace are released.
We knew right away the answer to that question. Yes. Yes, of course Lord, we would totally have been willing to give all of that so that You could get these two treasures of yours out of that orphanage and into their home.
It was totally worth it.
What price would be too much for that?
When I think of that year of effort from the point of view of that question, and then when I consider all the prices we have paid over the years (from helping siblings adjust, to parenting virtual strangers, to countless therapy sessions, to dealing with addictions and rebellions, to the simple day-in-day-out realities of a large family....) from that perspective, I am absolutely convinced that there is no price that is actually too much for the opportunity to love.
It is totally worth it.