The girls and I talk often about what we miss back in Texas. We reminisce about great friends, great places and the years we spent together there becoming a family.
There are so many great memories.
Here in Ohio we are starting from scratch. It's hard. The actual move was a lot of work, but beyond unpacking boxes, painting walls and arranging furniture, there is the work of building relationships.
I think that's tough for any family, but those who are tackling adoption issues in the midst of it, might need a little extra grace.
The other day someone mentioned a few things to me, a few things they didn't understand and didn't feel we were doing right.
In these situations I try very hard to see things from their perspective. I also try to make sure that what they are saying isn't something that I'm missing.
I have blind spots, people.
I have those areas in my life that I don't see as a problem, but actually are. Sometimes it takes someone coming alongside me and helping me see them before they become clear.
Sometimes people choose to do that in a loving way. Sometimes, not so much.
Regardless of how they choose to present it, it still needs to be addressed.
So I did what I always do in these situations, I take it to those who know me best, my girls.
We sat down and one by one I went through the areas that were presented to me. We talked over why we do things the way we do and how someone who has not walked our road might not understand. We pray about the issues and seek guidance in how to continue our journey, doing what we think is best for our family while respecting the opinions of others. It's a delicate balance. One I'm not overly good at, but I'm working on it.
There are a couple of very important lessons wrapped up in this process. First, I think it's helpful to consider what other people have to say. Sometimes the whole thing may be a misunderstanding or a difference of opinion, but sometimes, I've found, I may be wrong about something and need to be thankful for them bringing it to my attention.
Also, situations like these are excellent teaching moments. My children are constantly watching my responses. I need to be mindful because how I respond to those around me is how they will respond, too. Should I let everything make me angry? Should I try to defend myself and give excuses? I don't like it when they respond that way to me, so I shouldn't be responding that way to others.
When faced with a critique, criticism or question about why we do something the way we do, I want to respond the same way each time. I want to respond in love.
Don't get me wrong, I have not gotten to the place where I respond lovingly every time. Like I said, this move has been a lesson in personal sanctification for me. I still get my feelings hurt. I still feel the need to defend. I still shed some tears (sometimes lots of tears). But each time I try to go straight to God with my prayers and petitions and allow Him to respond to me first, before responding to anyone else. Again, I don't always hit the mark on this one, but I'm trying.
If you're in the middle of an adoption journey, or any other hard journey that others might not understand, be careful. Sometimes others will have helpful things to say. Sometimes they might be completely off the mark. Either way, respond in love.
Be humble enough to admit if you've been wrong and gracious enough to be kind if they just don't understand.