I was in church the other day and the teacher was talking about adoption and drawing the parallels to us as Christians being adopted into the family of God. He and his wife had decided to adopt their children rather than have biological children so he had a lot of personal stories and experience related to the concept (note: I'm pretty sure no matter how narrow the pearly gates he'll get in, I bet he sleeps really well at night knowing that).
I was sort of keeping up but I was also distracted by the notion of adoption in general. It has suddenly become a very personal topic for us as it could potentially be the way in which we have children. It used to bring me a lot of peace, the idea of adoption as a really amazing way to have a family, but as we have been pursuing fertility treatment my fists have slowing and unconsciously closed tightly around having biological children. I am holding my breath while aggressively white knuckling our future biological children, staring at their potential as it slips from my fingers. I can’t seem to look around me and find peace in other places because I can’t be distracted from my death grip on my hopes, forgetting that the grip itself is actually just an illusion.
Every time I think about the release of my expectation and future hopes I get so nervous, I want to keep repeating, “no no no no that’s not what I want” so God and fate and biology won’t stop trying to give us children because the incessant noise of my tantrum will remind them. I wonder if my tactics are working, or if they’re just making my muscles ache for nothing because the control I’m wanting will never be mine.
In this service I looked ahead at some of the families sitting in front of me: one couple who adopted all their children from the foster care system because of compassion not necessity, a family who has two biological children and is currently fostering a third in hopes of adopting, a family that struggled for years with infertility and finally had biological children but will never forget the searing pain of grief, and a family who adopted because of infertility and discovered all the hopes of family fulfilled in their child. For a split second I didn’t feel alone. Suddenly our future, no matter its outcome, seemed ok.
I pealed my own cramping fingers back from my plan for children and the softening instantly brought an alleviation of angst. It was a lesson in releasing hold of things we can’t actually hold, which silences the lie of anxiety that our future is to be feared and controlled, and it releases the constricting grip on our hearts so we can once again breathe in peace.