Meeting Keza

Friday, July 23, 2010

Part 3: Fear

What we seek we shall find; what we flee from flees from us. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Adoption is so expensive. I don’t know where we would find the money. I wouldn’t even know where to start. There is so much paperwork and it all is so confusing. How am I sure I will love my baby like he is my own? What if the child hates me? Maybe we won’t be able to bond. What if they have emotional or developmental problems because they have been in an orphanage? Aren’t kids like that always messed up? How do we know an agency is legit and not scamming us out of our money? Some people wait years for their child. Can I do that to my heart? It sounds exhausting. Am I going to be perceived as un-American and selfish if I adopt internationally instead of from my own country? There are so many unknown factors in International adoption. How can we trust the information given to us? What if we get there and something horrible happens like the paperwork gets lost or something is wrong with the baby and we have to go home empty handed? What if the medical reports say the child is healthy and we get home and he has HIV or something? What about having a multi-race family? Are people going to judge us? Will that be hard for the child, growing up with a white family? Is that going to cause resentment and anger for being adopted? Will the child love me?

Thoughts that I have thought. Thoughts that every adoptive mother or father think when contemplating adoption. Thoughts that will still try to surface long after they have been buried. Thoughts I could fill entire pages with. Thoughts whose name is fear.

Running in Christian circles you meet a few people who believe that any fear is equal to sin. After all, fear is the antithesis of faith and faith is our very composition, it’s what makes us His. I believe God uses our fears. Fear, in its basic form serves as a survival mechanism to help you protect yourself. It’s what crawls up a mother’s spine when a stranger approaches her child. It’s what spreads across your chest when your toes curl around the edge of a cliff. Fear is a gift. The problem is, most of us have developed a hyper-active survival mechanism and it not only protects us, it cuts off every ‘unknown’ at the knees.

Websters defines fear as, “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, or pain, whether the threat is real or imagined.” The thing is, even Webster understands that fear need not be founded. What someone is afraid of can be a complete mirage, an illusion, imagination, something that doesn’t even exist. On the other hand, maybe what you fear does exist. Maybe it’s really ugly. Either scenario still leads me to the same question:

Who do you want to be?

I was not an athletic child. I was routinely the last, or at least the next to last person picked for any sort of sport. I was the child who was always overweight, insecure, and dubious of anything physically strenuous. I was the teenager who was conveniently sick every time the mile run rolled around. My struggles with weight must have begun somewhere in these formative years and if I am honest, they still have not ended.

Fast forward a decade or so. I am pregnant with my second child.  I am so sick of being fat. And not just the pregnancy part. I am sick of being who I am: the girl who sits on the sidelines and watches her life run past her. It came to me when I was seven months pregnant: I could fear facing the battle that scared me more than anything, or I could regret a life unlived. I could be who I have been. Or I could be who I want to be. So, I hoisted my belly up and stepped with two swollen ankles into my deepest fears. Six months after welcoming little Maddox into this world I had lost 60 pounds and ran my first half-marathon. A year after that I stood with my toes punching the starting line of the Seattle Marathon. Me. Hanna Nicole. I hated running. You couldn’t have paid me to run. I avoided it at all cost. But you know, the person I wanted to be would have been crazy enough to run 26.2 miles. So I did it. And somewhere along the line, when I felt like I had found a way to wrap my arms around the sky, I realized that the person I was and the person I wanted to become were both finally me.

People who adopt are afraid. They feel fear like everyone else. At first, the fear is overwhelming.  But for whatever reason, somewhere along the lines, they decided that the risk was worth taking. They decided to face their fears and work through them.

I have a friend who just a few weeks ago said, “The greatest risk comes from the lack of knowledge about your choices. Try learning as much as you can about something if you're intimidated or afraid of it, your understanding will most likely change your perception.”

The first time I ran after giving birth I made it a tenth of a mile. But each time I went to workout I ran farther. I remember when I hit 2 miles I felt like an Olympian! I could not freaking believe it. I kept running and starting researching and reading. The more I ran, the more I learned, the more attainable it seemed and I slowly grew to believe that I was capable of more than I could imagine. Adoption is the same way. You just have to start looking at your questions instead of running from them. You have to search and find answers. You will certainly find that many of your fears really were illusions. You will also find that some fears are founded. Once you face those facts, the certainties and the unknowns, once you look them in the eyes and know what they are made of, you can make an informed decision about adoption. Maybe you will find that you really don't want to adopt or cannot at this time in your life. And maybe, just maybe, you will realize that you are capable of more than you imagined.

Regardless of your choice or what path you will lead your life, never let your fear make your decisions. Feel your fear. Respect your fear. Look your fear in the eyes and be who you want to be.


  1. Love this. We are right there and still doing the hard, bold thing because it's who He's making us. Thanks so much for your honest thoughts. :)

  2. A beautiful post as always:) It is so true though-fear is the one thing that stops a lot of people. But to be honest, the usual 'fears' of adoption did not really phase me (money, love, race, etc.). I am most worried about being at that orphanage, taking my daughter home and feeling the extreme anguish for all those little souls that are being left behind. I don't think our lives will ever be the same again. And that scares me most of all!

  3. You've no idea how encouraging your post is for me. Considering adoption...God has placed a dream in my heart. Husband and I are researching away. Something inside me knows that I'll regret it forever if we don't follow through...but I'm battling so many fears right now. Thanks for sharing so transparently.

  4. Although I am not adopting,thank you for challenging me to confront some of my fears. You are a special and wonderful daughter (in-law) Years ago I read a verse in the Psalms. It went like I called out to the Lord and he delivered me from all my fears. At that time I was having a hard time dealing with a certain situation in my life that happened weekely. God gave me such peace at that time.


  5. Thank you Hanna,
    Right now we are facing these same fears again. Having adopted already a lot of fears are gone. We know we will love this child the same, we know we can conquere the paperwork etc... The fear now is knowing how emotional the process is and yet subjecting ourselves to this again. Yet, we also know that it is so worth it in the end. As Hollie said above, we are forever changed by it and we cannot forget the faces of the children left behind. We long to be back there with them and to be the family that one of them longs for.