I had thought, when we were in the process to adopt CaiQun, that there was a high likelihood that we would return to China to adopt another child within the following year. If you return quickly and agree to adopt a harder-to-place child, you are able to re-use your entire dossier (with minor updates), which saves significant amounts of time and money, and I had interacted with a number of people in the adoption community who were going that route.
We seriously contemplated it, though I don’t know that we were ever close to pursuing it. There were times that was hard for me – as someone who likes to be “good” at things I do, it was difficult to acknowledge that just because others might be ready to go back and adopt another child didn’t mean that we were…and probably meant that I needed to consider whether I was falling into that horrible trap of making comparisons between us and others. And beyond that, I wanted to go back. Whether it was wise or not, a huge part of me wanted to get back there to adopt another child as quickly as possible. I had seen the faces of children, little people whose bodies and souls were knit together by the God of the universe, packed into row after row of cribs in cold rooms without parents. In the midst of the crowd, each one is alone. How I ached to be back there welcoming yet another, and another, and another child into our family.
But it didn’t seem like that was what God was saying to us. What we felt like we were hearing was, Wait.
Both Matt and I had the sense that regardless of how quickly others were able to turn around and go back to add another child to their families, it wouldn’t necessarily be wise for us to go back yet. We didn’t have a house full of helpful teenagers but rather a two-and-a-half-year-old and a two-year-old (now a three-and-a-half-year-old and a three-year-old), and our closest family members live 8 hours away. And finances have definitely played a role in our thinking – not only whether or not we had the money saved to pay for the costs of another adoption (which we don’t), but also our monthly expenditures. We’re still paying off some of our student loans from our college and grad school days. We’ve only in the last couple months acquired a car large enough to transport more than 2 kids, and since we did not have all the money we would have needed to pay for that purchase in cash, it has been a stretch to our budget, as well. To have enough money coming in right now to meet our monthly expenditures requires that I work a little over ten hours per week, which isn’t a ton, but those hours still need to fit into my days, which is sometimes a challenge and would obviously be an even greater challenge – if not impossibility – with additional children.
And beyond finances, we’ve also needed time to settle into life as a family of four. We needed to examine what commitments we could really make. We found that we needed to pull back in some areas (like church leadership roles) and figure out how to continue to be involved in other areas (like the local art scene) with our current family dynamic. We needed to see what life as a homeschooling family would look like. A number of our friendships have changed over these last 9 months, and we’ve needed time for that to settle. I needed to adjust to life as a mom of multiple kids, as opposed to having just one constant companion. Matt needed to sort out more of that work-and-family balance.
We still have a few things to iron out. I’ve been able to start exercising somewhat regularly again, but we haven’t found a great time for Matt to do that. And there are times we both schedule too much and realize that we’re not getting enough family time or downtime. And we’re both still working out how friendship relationships fit into all of this.
But overall, we’re doing well. The girls are doing great, but that’s been true from the beginning. Both of them seem to be able to take things in stride; it’s Matt and me who require a bit more time to adjust 🙂 But now I’m usually able to get in the work hours we need for me to have. We’re getting back into a groove with having fairly regular date nights. Both of us are enjoying our children and our time together as a couple. And we’re each able to have just a little bit more time for thoughtfulness and contemplation than we used to get.
And so we’ve started to talk about…what next?
And I’ll share more about our thoughts on that with you next time I write 🙂