I prayed the entire drive. Dean and I were on our way to meet our social worker, Chelsea* (that’s not her real name, but I changed it to protect identity. I’m not sure what is necessary during this adoption process, so I’ll just be safe). I was so nervous, and Dean was, well, Dean. Dean was calm, confident, and composed. I was worried. I have a tendency to get defensive in these types of situations; situations when someone is making a judgement in regards to my abilities.
Instead of focusing on my positive attributes, I get bogged down by my inabilities. I start to think every question is a trap: that the interviewer is questioning my judgement and wants to prove to me that I am wrong. Basically, I get paranoid that everyone is out to get me. Everyone wants to shame me, hurt me, and be mean to me. Everyone is against me.
I know this isn’t true. I know it’s a lie, but it’s a lie I believed my entire life. It’s a lie that shaped the way I interact with people, and I am just now learning how to live differently. I am just now realizing that not everyone is out to get me. I am beginning to trust people again and that’s a scary thing. But I am also learning that God is for me, not against me.
So on that ride down to our agency I just kept saying “Ok God, You got this.”
This was our very first home study interview. The home study is typically comprised of four meetings with a social worker. Our first meeting with our social worker, Chelsea was at the adoption agency with both me and Dean present. The second and third meetings are individual interviews at the adoption agency and the fourth is an interview with me and Dean at our home followed with a home inspection. After all the interviews are complete, Chelsea will write up our home study and go over it with us, then she will send it in for approval by a judge. Once we are home study approved we can be matched with a child at any time.
The interview seemed to go well, it’s hard to tell because Chelsea never really gave us an indication about what she thought of our answers. There doesn’t seem to be a “right” and “wrong”, and then randomly there is. It’s hard to explain. I felt like when I was “right” I wasn’t actually “right” because more and more questions were asked for clarification, but when I was “wrong” I was really “wrong” and I needed to fix it before the next interview. Everything about that unsettles me and I can see now that God has been preparing me for this very situation.
I have spent the past two years in Celebrate Recovery trying to understand and clarify why I do what I do. This helps me to pinpoint my motives and reevaluate whether or not it is something I should be doing. It helps me to accept my opinion as enough of a reason to do something or not do something. For example, the other day Dean and I went to dinner with some friends. I have been trying to watch my weight so I ordered a dinner that fit in my calorie count for the day. One of our friends ordered a burger and fries and he placed half of his fries on a plate to share with the table. I am a sucker for fries and these fries looked amazing. So, I did some thinking. I had some calories saved for a second beer, but I could split a beer with Dean and then have 5 French fries. But why did I want these fries? What was my motivation? Honestly, I just wanted to enjoy a couple fries with friends and feel normal. And I could do that within the calorie boundaries I set for myself. Yes, that was what I wanted to do. But, as I reached for my first fry Dean started to say something, “Are you sure you…” He quickly broke of realizing his mistake. I’m not sure if it was the death stare I shot him or if he has lived with a dieting wife long enough to know it is in his best interest to keep quiet about my food choices, but either way he stopped midsentence and said “never mind.” At that point the old me would have become uncomfortable and unsure about my decision. I would have felt judged and wrong. I would have questioned whether I was making the right choice and then I would have felt the need to defend my decision and convince Dean that the choice I was making was the right choice. But this time I didn’t feel the need for that. I didn’t even feel judged by my husband. It was so cool, I simply said, “you do you, umma do me.” And that was it. It wasn’t angry, it wasn’t defensive. It was just a fact, “I know what I’m doing and why I’m doing it, and right now it is the right decision for me.” I didn’t need anyone else to agree or understand because I knew what I was doing and why and that alone was enough for me. My opinion about the situation was enough for me and I felt confident in my choice.
But the home study…now I am in a situation with someone who IS judging me. I mean, I hope she is judging me, because she is my child’s voice right now. Her job is to protect my unborn child and make sure that my child has parents that can care and love him/her. The reality is, I want her to judge me, because I want what’s best for my child (which is me, right?). But it doesn’t fix the discomfort I feel. It doesn’t keep me from wanting to be right and understood and heard. It doesn’t stop me from wanting to defend every decision I make so I can convince her to think I am “right”. But God has prepared me. My voice does matter, my opinion does matter, even if she can’t see it. I can be wrong and be ok because I am getting clear on my motivation. My motivation is to love and raise this child with the child’s best interests in mind. Knowing my motivation makes it easier to accept that others aren’t always going to agree with me, it makes it easier to accept when I make mistakes, and to admit when I’m wrong. Because my motivation is no longer “to be right”, my motivation is to provide a caring, loving, and nurturing life for my child. This changes my approach on everything. It gets me to ask questions instead of pretending to know all the answers. It gets me to respond naturally instead of trying to tell her what I think she wants to hear. It allows me to say, “Oh, I didn’t see how that approach could be harmful” without feeling like a failure.
Although, I didn’t exactly remember all of that during the first meeting. I got tripped up at one point and wanted to be right, it got a little messy. I’m not going to go into it because it’s not important (for the record: I was right). The important part is for me to recognize that I got tripped up because once again my motivation switched to being right. Suddenly her questions sounded accusatory and assuming and I started to get flustered and upset. She wasn’t understanding what I was trying to say and I felt like I needed to explain and get her to understand and agree with me. But I caught myself and I was able to re-center. I was able to look inward at my heart and my motivation, the whole point of this adoption is not “to be right”. The whole point is to love and nurture a child; to become a parent. My heart is in the right place, I know I will love and nurture this child, I know I will be a good parent. I know I will mess up and need to ask for forgiveness. I know I am not perfect. But I know that God called me to become a parent through adoption. I know He’s got this, and if He is for me, who can be against me?
Side Note: Chelsea is not against me in the least. She is doing a great job getting me to think about my responsibilities as a parent.
Dean has already completed his individual interview and mine is in a week. I am prepping for this interview by listening so this song on repeat.
Want to help me prep? Send me your favorite “I am for you” songs and as we move forward with this process please continue to keep us in your prayers. Thanks you guys!!