Do you remember the show, Fear Factor, from about fifteen years ago? It was a reality show of challenges, hosted by Joe Rogan, that marched contestants into their greatest fears that ranged from diving off a building, to lying in a bed of snakes, to eating something incredibly disgusting like bugs.
The adoption process has a fear factor, too. The challenges obviously look a little different:
“How can we ever afford this?”
“Is it possible for us to love this child who doesn’t share our DNA?”
“Will we ruin our other kids by adopting?”
These fears are real and present factors.
One of our fear factors became special needs, and each one of our adoptions has been almost like climbing a ladder of "I could nevers" to overcome that paralyzing word—FEAR.
“I could never parent a child with special needs.”
“I could never adopt a child with a serious heart condition.”
“I could never adopt an older child.”
“I could never parent a child with cognitive delays.”
I'm ashamed to admit that these were all thoughts that, at some point, belonged to me. As much as I hate it, I owned them all. One by one, we climbed another rung and faced those fears head-on. Those were all limitations that I put on myself, and God's plans were obviously so much better than mine.
I stand amazed, as I reflect on each one, how God has used every one of our adoptions as a gateway—a gateway to a more open heart. He knew there was so much more in me. We now live with all of these "I could nevers" in our home, and in our hearts.
You see, alone—I couldn't. But with faith—we could.
God is the source of our strength. God is the source of our courage to say yes to all of the fears and doubts and "I could nevers" that could have stopped us from embracing the biggest blessings of our lives...all five of them. We simply needed to listen, to trust, and to be obedient. Is it always easy? Nope. I would be lying if I said it was. There are days that I literally scrape for grace. But then, there are days when I look at our beautiful crew and the very thought that we could have missed this brings tears to my eyes.
The thing is,
The thing is,
when you walk through that fire—
when you leap over that edge—
when you conquer that fear factor—
the reward you receive is far greater than anything you could ever imagine or dream of.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”