Swimming in the Deep End
The Deep End
A friend is in China right now adopting her son. As she made final preparations to leave, she sent me an email telling me a little bit about the challenges she was experiencing. Specifically someone important to her felt like she was making a mistake.
My friend is single. She is a doctor. She is still training. She is a neonatal intensive care unit fellow, and she is incredibly busy.
As the time drew near for her to leave, this person met with her to discuss this enormous undertaking. She tried to convince her to back off. It wasn’t that she didn’t think adoption was a good thing. Or that she didn’t support my friend adopting some day. She was concerned that right now was the not the best time.
Her words were spoken out of genuine concern. She worried that taking on too much, even if it was something good, would turn into regret.
She did not want to see her dive head first into the deep end of the pool where the water might be so far over her head she could drown.
What I Can’t Do
When my friend told me about this, I wanted badly to tell her that this person was wrong. I wanted to say she was not taking on too much. I wanted to tell her that everyone would be perfect.
But I didn’t. I didn’t because it wouldn’t be true. She is getting way in over her head.
This will be more than what she has time for. It will challenge her in ways she has never been challenged before. There are going to be times when it feels impossible. There are going to be times when it will feel like she has “ruined” her life. She is going to make mistakes. She is going to fail.
I know this because I have felt all of these things. There are many days when the water is over my head. I struggle to breathe but can’t. Many days I feel like I am drowning.
There are days when all I can say is, “I can’t do this.”
Learning to Swim
For those of who you know how to swim, at some point in your life you didn’t. When you went to the pool, the deep end was scary. In the deep end, you knew that the safety of being able to touch the bottom would be gone.
The deep end was dangerous. The deep end was unpredictable. The deep end was too much.
There are times when you need to play it safe. But there also comes a time when you have to remove the safety restraints. As long as you stay where you can touch, as long as you keep a floaty strapped on, you will never become a good swimmer.
At some point you have to dive into the deep end with nothing strapped to your back.
What I Choose to Do
All of us are asking ourselves the wrong question. Instead of wondering what we can do or what we would like to do, we need to ask ourselves what needs to be done.
Everyone I meet agrees that adoption is a good thing. When I tell people the stories of my three adopted children it melts their heart. But most people walk away from that conversation unchanged. They believe adoption is worth doing, but they can’t imagine doing it themselves.
The reason? They worry it would be too much for them.
The truth is adoption is too much for everyone who chooses to do it. Everyone encounters problems they can’t fix. Everyone is overwhelmed. Everyone meets the limit of their patience. Nobody has enough money for it.
Better stories are not about what we feel we can do, but about choosing to do something that truly matters, no matter how impossible it may seem.
My friend saw a little boy that needed a momma. And it broke her heart. She, like all of us, has asked herself if she can do this. And she realizes it is probably too much. But that answer didn’t work for her.
The only answer she could give was, “Yes,” because it is the only answer that will help this boy.
My friend does not know how deep the water is in this pool. She doesn’t know what is under the surface. She hasn’t solved every problem. She doesn’t know if she can do this.
But she dove in head first anyways. Because her son is worth whatever it takes.
While I know this is too much for her, I also know something else to be true. She has made a life-changing difference for one. And no matter what it costs her, she will never regret it.
If you want to read more about my friend’s adoption journey, you can read her blog here.