Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Frusterated and Bothered

I don't normally use this blog to rant (well maybe a little).  But I have been so frustrated by a memoir book I recently read that I can't hold it in anymore. 

I feel a little bad posting about this because I don't want it to be an attack on the author.  He seems like a very wonderful person, somebody I would choose to be friends.

The book is called Resurrection Year and here's the book's premise - how to deal with the disappointment of when God says "No".  The idea behind the book was that there are many books available that talk about how God answers prayers and can provide miracles.  (Yeah, God!)  But there aren't as many books about what happens when you pray, and pray, and pray and don't get what your heart desperately desires. 

I found this idea extremely intriguing and eagerly read the book.  It chronicled the author and his wife's 10 year struggle with infertility.  This couple's heart's desire was to become parents.  My heart broke for them throughout the book when I read about their struggles.

After several infertility treatments, the couple decided to adopt, while they mourned the loss of the child they weren't going to conceive.

Now I am a big advocate of adoption, and would encourage people to look into it, but my heart still aches for the people who come to adoption after the loss of the dream of a biological child.  And I would never offhandedly say that a couple could "Just adopt" like it is no big deal in the face of infertility.

This couple (from Australia) decides to wait for an infant in the country's domestic program.  Unfortunately, after two or three years they were never selected by a birth mother.  They proceed with more medical attempts to overcome infertility and eventually decide that God has plans other than parenthood for them.  And although they continue to be disappointed with it, they are trying to look on the bright side of what this means for opportunities in their lives.  They figure out how to move on after their dreams are shattered.

The author goes on about how they are trying to accept God's plan for their lives.  How they still struggle with the ramifications of life without children.   How the yearning for parenthood didn't leave, but they have basically resigned themselves to life without children, and looked for fresh start in life.

If this was the whole story, I'd think "Okay.  I can see you trying to find out how God wants to use your life. What a sad, but brave story to share."

But here's the part that I struggled with.  God didn't say there wasn't a way for them to be parents.  In one sentence, they summarily dismissed the idea of international adoption.  In one sentence, they said that many children have special needs or have trouble attaching.  So they ruled out the possibility of international adoption.

I realize not everyone qualifies for international adoption.  Not everyone can afford it.  But that was not the case with this couple.  They dismissed the idea of a child from another country because of the chance there could be additional challenges.  God did not say "No."  They just didn't want to deal with the unknown.

What they failed to see was this child that their hearts have been longing for could be waiting for them right now!  Perhaps God said "No" to a biological child or a healthy domestic infant because He wanted to bless them with a child like this:

Or this:

Or one of dozens of loved and loving internationally adopted children I have met.

No, I am not saying that everyone must have children, nor am I saying that everyone must adopt children internationally or with special  needs.  But to dismiss the idea of loving a beautiful child, fearfully and wonderfully made by God because there might be extra challenges and then say that God didn't answer your prayer to be parents really upsets me.  This does a disservice to the thousands of children currently available for adoption around the world, waiting desperately for a mom, a dad to choose to love them. 

Perhaps God was hoping to bless both a child yearning for parents and parents yearning for a child. 

There are currently over 2,000 children with papers ready and cleared for international adoption in China alone.  Dozens upon dozens more are made available every month.  Wonderful, amazing children just hoping somebody will see their picture and choose to love them.  Really, is not a single one of these children up to some artificial standard?  And lets face it, there's no guarantee of "perfection" with biological children either. 

And that's just China.  There are thousands upon thousands of children waiting for parents in other countries, too.

So to the author of this book, my sincere sympathies go out to you in your struggles to start a family.  Not having known the struggles of infertility, I can only imagine the pain it caused you.  The death of the dreams you built must be excruciatingly painful.  And if you are content with the path you are on now, I am extraordinarily happy for you.  You deserve joy.

But if you are still yearning for parenthood, I am not convinced God has denied you that joy. 

Maybe God didn't say "No" to you.  Maybe you said "No" to God.


Jennifer P said...

Kristin, this is a powerful and beautifully written post. Thank you for your heart for the least of these.

Jessim said...

"Maybe God didn't say "No" to you. Maybe you said "No" to God."

But how could you ever know? What if it really was "God's plan" for them to remain childless, but they chose to ignore that and fulfill their desire to become parents through international adoption. Saying No to God could work either way here.

(Sorry to be obstinate but I'm currently in a bit of a struggle on whether or not I'm meant to be a parent, and prayers just don't get direct answers. It is impossible to know what you are "supposed" to do.)

Anonymous said...

Perhaps... a piece of them knows they are not equipped emotionally or physically or financially to truly handle a child with special needs. It takes a very special family to choose to take on that challenge. For us, we did not choose that challenge, but it is what God gave us. So perhaps instead of promoting them to do what may be best for your family, we should say good for you for knowing what you are capable of and having the wisdom to make that decision despite your wanting and longing for a child. Having gone through infertility myself, and having had that longing and desperation I know they must be incredibly strong to accept their fate.

Sorry... for the rant... I just have a very strong reaction when people don't grasp the realities of caring for someone with special needs and that not every family would be able to take it on... Perhaps the author is clued into the daily responsibilities and future needs that it would entail. Most people do not realize what life is like for a kid and family with special needs or they simply only picture those children with minor special needs. They don't always envision the other realities and possibilities and I would hate for a family to adopt a child (from wherever) without fully understanding what that would require of them. Your family is doing great taking on international adoption, but it is not suited for everyone...

I must say I think the world of you guys though. You have beautiful children and you are so strong spiritually. You are blessed and you appreciate all of it! Love the pics too!

Kristin said...

Jessim - I appreciate your comment. It can be very difficult to know God's plan for your life. I agree that not everyone's plan should include international adoption. I would never assume that. However, this family tried many different ways of attaining a family. They had already felt comfortable with adoption. The mantra repeated in the book was that they couldn't be parents, that God closed that door. I am just saying that they would have been able to be parents if that is what they wanted. If they chose not to, that is a perfectly valid choice, too.

Kristin said...

Jenny - I know you have had some struggles. And I would never, in any way suggest that everyone is best equipped to parent every special need. There are variations with finances, time, external resources, access to specialists, etc.

While every child deserves a family, not ever family is able to meet the needs of every child.

But, I was referring to what is considered "special needs" in the international adoption community - China specifically because that is what I know.

A vast majority of children adopted through the special needs program will be independent adults. Both of my children from China are considered special needs.

There are children waiting because of more involved diagnosis (severe heart defects, blindness, Down Syndrome, etc.)

However there are a great many children adopted through the special needs program every year with minor and/or correctable needs. Some of the needs are cosmetic. Some of the children are actually healthy but past the baby or toddler stage. A great majority will be in mainstream classrooms and live out their lives relatively "typically".

Yes, parents need to be aware of the day-to-day life of a child with special needs. They need to be prepared for potential long term prognosis, financial obligations, therapies, IEPs, etc.

Jenny, you are on a more challenging path. I am amazed at the intricacies involved in your daughter's care. I do not believe everyone could meet Gracie's needs the way you can.

But I do believe that there are a great many children out there who would be an incredible blessing to their families if only given a chance.

And I was frustrated by the implication that if the author and his wife couldn't be guaranteed a healthy newborn, God wasn't allowing them to be parents at all.

Christy said...

As a "first choice" adopter (meaning we chose contraception to ensure no bio children so we could adopt as many as possible), this book is very hard for me to understand. I enjoyed hearing your perspective and am not sure if I would have been as gentle :)

Anonymous said...


Keep sharing your heart. From someone whom birth children was not an option and adopted a child with "special needs" from China as you know, I hear what you are trying delicately, honestly and sincerely trting to say. Carrie H.

Lulu said...

I agree.

Lulu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.