I’ve had a love-hate relationship with this book lately. If you’ve adopted (or know someone who has) you probably know what this is. For those of you who don’t, it’s our family book—or what you put together to help a birth mom decide if your family is right for her kiddo. No pressure, right?
When we first learned we’d have to make one of these, I started panicking. Not only do we not snap photos often, but the ones we do have just aren’t that great. Nevertheless, we marched onward—determined to make the best book possible. We over-analyzed everything.
Which hobbies do we include? Wait, do we HAVE hobbies?
How much personality can we show without scaring her off?
What if she hates our favorite baseball team? Should we edit out their logo to make ourselves more universally appealing?
You think I’m kidding. Hours (and many tears) later, we had our book ready to go. I took it to Staples to be printed on premium paper, because, you know, that might be the kicker. That might be what convinces her that we’re the family for her baby.
Side note: It wasn’t until I was stuffing that premium paper into the plastic sleeves of our book that I realized she’s never actually going to feel the stupid paper!
No sooner had we printed and stuffed our books (the agency asked us to make several copies) than the doubts began to creep in.
What if the photos printed too dark and she can’t see our faces? What if she CAN see our faces, but doesn’t like them?
What if we’re not smiling enough? Oh no—what if we’re smiling too much? I always smile too much in photos! How come I never learned to half-smile??
‘Round and ’round they went, spinning wildly through my mind. I finally asked Jesus to take them. And He did. He’s so faithful like that.
But guess what? I took ’em back. That’s right. I figured I could do more good stressing over my crazy fears than God could holding onto them for me. Because, that just makes a whole lotta sense.
As the months have ticked by with no baby, those fears have grown.
Our book is awful. We’re unattractive. And my too-big smile is scaring every last birth mom who looks at our profile.
The temptation to dive in and “fix” the problems I’ve created out of thin air has grown, too. Our agency lets families update their books, but they also recommend that we leave well enough alone—knowing that the details and photos we’re freaking out about just don’t matter that much in the end.
That recommendation has kept me from editing the darn thing, but man, it’s getting harder to resist. I mean, we look a little different now, so, technically, our book doesn’t represent the most current version of “us.” Add to that these lovely justifications for redoing our book:
We’ve updated our nursery—she should see the latest iteration of our super cute space!
We’ve been taking more pictures, so we have more to include now. Plus, they’re miles better than what’s in there.
Oh, we both have tattoos now. What if she has tattoos, too, and thinks that makes us more edgy and cool?
In May, we’ll have been married 8 years. The book says 7, so it’s almost out-of-date. That’s reason enough to change it, right?
I’m seriously shaking my head at myself as I type these things. My carefully crafted reasons look even lamer on screen.
Here’s what God’s been showing me about this mess: I don’t actually trust Him to bring us a kiddo. And can you blame me? I mean, He brought us our foster son, only to take him away six months later. He allowed us to be matched with a birth mom last summer, only to let it all fall apart at the end. It kinda looks like He just can’t quite make it across the finish line. We get so close, but are left so, so far.
And the truth is, I don’t want another “so close” experience. I want a baby—one we can bring home (and keep home). One that will forever be part of our family.
But friends, if God can’t handle a few bad photos and overeager smiles, then we have bigger things to worry about. Thankfully, He IS Sovereign. He’s absolutely in control. And He already knows which sweet baby He’ll entrust to our care.
Man, this thing called adoption is tough. This thing called life is tough. At our adoption training this past weekend, they had a panel of folks who have adopted and are further down the road than the rest of us. One couple shared that they felt like their story was God saying over and over, “Do you trust Me now?”.
My guys squeezed my hand, “Ours, too,” he whispered. I think that’s true for all of us, adopting or not. The craziness of life hits a new high and we’re prone to panicking, to grabbing our fears back since God isn’t handling them right. But He’s there asking, “Do you trust Me now? Do you trust Me knowing a little more of what lies ahead?”
As silly as it sounds, me not updating our family book is one small way I’m saying, “Yes, God. I’m trusting that You’ve got this. You’ve got us. And You’ve got our baby.”
How is God asking you to trust Him this week?