I have a love hate relationship with technology. Sure, there are many conveniences for which I am eternally grateful: Indoor plumbing, automobiles, online bill pay, our aforementioned clothes dryer, email, toilet paper, and our microwave.
Microwaves are incredibly convenient tools in our lives. They reheat our food, soften frozen butter very quickly, thaw our meat and bread from frozen, cook vegetables, and much more. Invented in 1945, and made commercially available for the first time in America in 1946, today, one would be hard pressed to find a home without a microwave. They are fast and convenient, providing simple and quick solutions to your cooking prep problems, just don’t stand too close to one while in operation! 🙂
Microwaves are excellent at reheating food….but, other than bacon, a regular microwave won’t produce the lusciousness of a grilled piece of BBQ chicken, or the carmelization of a tender filet, the succulence of an oven roasted, salt encrusted potato, or the fall off the bone deliciousness of a rack of ribs. It’s fast and convenient, but it just can’t produce real, edible results for high quality cooking.
Like the idea of the have-it-right-now microwave, we live in a want-it-now culture. If we want something, typically, we just run out and get it. Most of us enjoy marvelous amenities in our lives never before afforded to so many people on the planet in all of human history. For the most part, whatever you need and most of what you want, can be purchased at a store within a reasonable driving distance from your home. It’s quick. It’s convenient. It’s cheap.
But QUALITY is rarely quick, convenient, or cheap. Quality takes time. Quality is difficult to achieve, and quality most assuredly costs more.
Quality is more like a crock-pot.
Now I love cooking in our crock-pot, or maybe you’re more comfortable with the term, slow-cooker. Either way, this device is a wonderful way to get quality food, and a lot of of it. Invented by a Jewish immigrant in the 1940s, the Crock-Pot was originally designed as a Sabbath-loving food device families could use so they didn’t have to break the Sabbath by doing work (cooking). In the 1970s, the inventor sold this concept to Rival Manufacturing Company and the rest is history.
We make all kinds of things in our Crock-Pot: Stews, soups, Honey Chicken, Chicken Parmesan, roasts, ribs, beans, buffalo chicken cheese dip, tacos, casseroles, desserts, etc, etc, etc. It’s always delicious….but it’s not quick. Time, patience, the right combination of ingredients, and progress, a little at a time, are the hallmarks of good Crock-Pot cooking!
Amy and I have concluded adoption is the same way.
Adoption is Crock-Pot not a Microwave.
From the moment you sign up to adopt a child, whether you’re waiting for a referral or you have identified a waiting child, it’s going to take time. For us, we went to court five days before the one year mark of first identifying the children on a waiting child website. This is pretty typical for children waiting on a family to find them. For those adopting and waiting for a child to match with them, the wait can be even longer. We were ready to receive the children into our family long before they actually came into our family. Waiting is frustrating (I’ve written much about it on this blog!). It’s like the Crock-Pot…..the smells begin to fill the house and you think, “It’s ready! I can’t wait to dive it!” but the timer says it’s only halfway through. You can almost taste the goodness waiting in that pot….but it’s not yet. That’s how this part of the waiting feels. You can smell it. You know it’s coming. But you have to wait until the full process is complete.
Finally the moment comes! You pop open the lid and give it a stir. The lusciousness of the food permeates your senses and you steal a bite. Oh what bliss!! The day we walked out of court, with a decree stating these children were ours, was one of the six or seven best days of our lives (matched only by the birthdays of our bio kids, our wedding day, without which none of this would be happening, and the days we met Jesus)! We were thrilled to land in Indy on July 11th and be back on our home turf. Like the day we walked into our home for the first time as a family of 10…and many other lid-popping days where the aroma of this wonderful thing of which we are a part filled our lives. There’s just nothing like that first look…and smell.
But then you get into life. You parent. You correct. You encourage. You find out stuff you wish you never knew but you need to know so you can heal old wounds. There are days you’re so angry over what others have done to these wonderful children – why their family couldn’t get it together for their sake; why the foster system didn’t serve them better; why it took so long to get them home. Those wounds and learned behaviors and old habits aren’t addressed quickly. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes care. And more than anything, it takes mettle. You better buck up, my friend, before you bring this child or those children into your life. It isn’t what you thought it would be when all the ingredients started cooking in the pot. It’s much harder than you thought. Much more emotionally trying. Much more draining. Much more challenging and much, much slower. We have battled for the spirit of one child, while trying to get another one not to lie to us. Our kids are so scared of…well…everything right now. Full of uncertainty and apprehension. The emotions we have felt through this new change is multiplied many times in their little hearts.
It took three weeks for Judah to initiate affection towards Amy.
It took a couple of buckets of tears to emotionally deal with what felt like rejection from another and we haven’t fully conquered this “control” issue even yet.
I’ve talked my bio kids off more cliffs in six weeks than the previous six years.
We are still (and will for a long time) be dealing with the residual affects of our children losing their birth family. Even though it was a train wreck, it’s still a loss for them.
We are still (and will for a long time) dealing with the fact our children have never truly had parents. They don’t know how to trust, how to be vulnerable, how to fully love and receive unconditional love. They’ve never been lovingly corrected or disciplined. They’ve never had anyone tell them they couldn’t have something and explain why. They’ve never been in a place they knew was permanent and could just be them. Heck, they’ve never even had a birthday party…….
All of that and more affects them. Helping them overcome those liabilities and begin to heal from whatever wounds are in there is not a “microwave moment”…..it’s much more like a Crock-Pot. We have to let it simmer. We have to be patient. As my favorite TV chef would say, our patience will be rewarded.
Because we will win. I have zero doubt. God is helping us and EVERY SINGLE DAY there is progress. We’ve just learned to be patient and not expect immediate gratification. We’ve learned to celebrate the little victories (i.e. “She talked to me when I was asking her about ____ and didn’t shut down!!! Yay!!!!”). We’ve learned to hold on to the good and let go of the pain and rejection we have sometimes felt…it’s really difficult not to take that kind of stuff personally. But I must believe our difficulty doesn’t compare to what they have faced in their young lives. I don’t know when we will win, but I know we will. God is STILL working in and through all things in this journey. He’s just showing us adoption is a Crock-Pot; raising children is a Crock-Pot; LIFE is a Crock-Pot.
The very best meals gotta simmer a while.