Thursday, July 7, 2011

On Waiting & Identity

"Adoption isn't for the faint of heart."

"The hardest part is the wait."

Oh, how many times I've heard those phrases!  But some things you can't learn unless you live it.

I'd like to revise the second phrase to, "The hardest part is living in the wait." Think about yourself for a moment - how do you identify yourself?  A mother?  Pregnant? A stay-home-mom? A teacher? A nurse? A wife? A realtor?  An artist? A girlfriend? A fiance?  A free spirit? A home owner?  A home schooler?

All those identities reveal the state one is presently in.  RIGHT NOW.  The constant state of waiting leaves me with a bit of an identity crisis.  I've wanted to claim to the identity of  "A mother" for 4+ years.  The ebb and flow of hope, excitement, and disappointment the last four years has offered no pattern or predictability; thus, I've found myself detaching.

Detach: Avoid baby sections in stores.  Smile and congratulate friend after friend who gets pregnant and try to conceal the ache that makes your stomach clench.  Ignore the room that is supposed to be the baby room.  Crowd it with junk.  Skip church on Mother's Day.  Procrastinate sending in adoption paperwork. Delight in going out every weekend, even though if you were truthful, you'd rather have a reason to stay home.

My little detached world came crumbling down on me through a series of events last week. Without going into detail about those events, I came to realize something humbling.

I've been making this all about me.

Dang it.  By protecting myself, I've made my focus so inward that I've pumped my heart full of bitterness, impatience, resentment and  deceit.

If I'm honest, I have to say that I have a heart for motherhood (that is, myself) more than a heart for the orphans of Ethiopia.  I didn't start this journey to motherhood with the quest to adopt from Ethiopia; it just happens that I want to be a mother and there is a need for mothers of orphans there. 

Thankfully, God has taken my selfish heart and miraculously aligned its desires with something so Holy as His Will.

All that to say, and I still struggle with my identity.  It seems I am being challenged to base it on faith.  After 25 or so years of being a Christian, faith still seems so impractical.  Intangible.  Faith doesn't help me decide if it's "safe" to decorate Lainey's room yet.   If I dare read that book about parenting my internationally adopted child yet.  If I should get the pedicure or put the money in savings.  You know, things that matter. (Insert eye roll here.)

Last week I was reminded that motherhood is not about me.  It is about our little girl.  It is about sacrificing.  And being God's servant.  And being tired.  And confused, scared, and lost.  None of my emotions will fade when our daughter is home with us.  In fact, they will likely increase in intensity.   

My identity crisis is not about not being a mom; it is about not trusting God in who He made me. 

I was given this advice: Grow as close as you can to God in these months.  He will take you through the hardest and most rewarding years of your life raising your daughter. 

In these months, and others to come, when I am lost as to who I am, I will seek my identity in Christ.  Maybe none of this is about me after all.


  1. My identity crisis is not about not being a mom; it is about not trusting God in who He made me.


  2. This is soooo good. I am so sorry for your deep pain, but God will create a family for you and it will be beautiful! The advice is good, grow close to God now so that you may hold tight to those truths in the months and years to come. It's a process for all of us, but one that is usually learned through fear, pain, tears, stretching, and- when all else fails- faith and surrender.

  3. raw, honest, wise and beautiful words. love ya rachel!

  4. I wish I had the courage to speak with the honesty that you do. Not many can...
    My heart longs for you to have this child and I can't wait until the day we can all celebrate together! xxoo