What I have learned along the way, when I have taken the time to look back, is that as I walked the path ... the path changed. It became the symbol of who I grew to be with each step. The further along I get I notice that the changes I make, the choices I take, create the way the road goes ahead of me. I have learned, through trial that in fact .... My journey is mapped out. For I am the mapmaker. I just didn't know it.
Each of us are mapmakers, journey takers, and history authors. We are these things by the changes we accept and the choices we make. I've learned that our emotions, our beliefs, our investments, and our own histories are the pencils in which we draw from.
We are challenged to face changes from the beginning of our journey, those changes that require a shift in our planning, a surrender of our expectations, and sacrifices we never thought would be possible to make. With these changes, infertility, crisis pregnancy, and relationships with one another, we are first faced with reaction. Our emotional reaction. Many of us re-act differently based on the situations we've thus far been faced with and our own derived responses to which we are familiar. We either fight the change by rebelling against any possibility that it can bring good or that it is in any way possible for us to adhere to it, or we attempt to control the change by creating rules and regulations by which anyone connected to the change, including ourselves, must obey.
Yet there is one reaction that does not easily come yet brings with it the greatest reward.
Once we have honored the grief, the loss, and the emotional issues that affected us due to the changes in our lives, or those we are asked to make, we can then Choose to be an intricate piece of a positive outcome.
We can choose to accept the change, or deny it. Many of us feel that with change we are starting all over again, loosing everything we've worked so hard for. We feel lost, without meaning, without a place in this new situation. Yet with acceptance arrives another reward we least often expect.
On your road, if you look around for a while, you will find that this is true. You were faced with changes and choices. And you have survived. The outcomes of these changes and choices may not have been what you had hoped or expected, but yet you are still here. Look back at the path behind you and seek out what you have learned. From that knowledge you can now draw the courage it will take for you to keep on going. You did not give up. You reached within yourself and then reached out, you accepted, and you chose the directions that have in fact created the very person you are now.
If you are on your knees ... you are growing taller.
If you are crying ... you are getting stronger.
If you are choosing this challenge ... you have already won.
Those of us upon this journey of adoption know a grief and a loss like no other. We have faced the challenges of change in ourselves, in our families, and in our adoptions. We have fought the shadows of un-fairness with an iron sword of worth. We have surrendered our human expectation and placed it on the alter of our faith. We have deposited our limitations and cashed them in for trust. We walk this journey believing that there is a purpose, even though we may never know it.
Our situations change. We reckon with our choices. And yet we still remain.
Again, look back beyond the road from where you have come. Take the time to honor the choices you've made. Where there was hate, did you choose forgiveness? Where there was blame, did you choose acceptance? Where there was helplessness, did you choose faith? Where it seemed to be impossible to go on, did you make a way?
Sabra Cossentine of Adopting.org writes, When God was creating the world there was a LOT of change going on. But notice the Lord's amazing example to us; after each day of creation he proclaimed."That it was GOOD." He did not ask, "What is good about this change?" God could see the good and is an example to us. God knows the best is yet to come."
And so it is on this, our journey of adoption.
Twelve years has passed since the first day I set foot on my journey and as I sit resting here for a moment I am suddenly aware of the path behind me and that which is up ahead. I notice the trail of tears imprinted within two sets of footprints, one which is mine, and the other that of my son who without knowing has spurred me on. And I have the strength to embrace him, within me, and honor the sacred bond that exists, without condition, fear, or expectation. I see the turns that challenged me to seek and stand up for what I believed in. I watch the paths and how they changed as I accepted certain truths about my choices and who those choices in turn made me to be. The questions I asked, the doubt I had, the fears and illusions still exist ... for choosing the right path did not mean that roses replaced thorns, just that now, the roses survive despite them. All around me I find, for the very first time, the acknowledgment I had sought from the start. In the beginning I needed it from others. Now, I offer it to myself.
For I have taken these challenges and these changes, in all of their betrayal, pain, and un-fairness, and chosen despite them and often because of them, to take the road less traveled so that I would ultimately be the map maker. For the changes and choices will never cease to exist, but thus far I've learned ... they are temporary challenges to which I create outcomes.
Change makes us aware of the needs that we have. Choice is our opportunity to meet them.
Take the challenge today. Whatever change or choice you are faced with right now, lay it on the line. Say it out loud. Confront it. Whether you are in a crisis pregnancy, or are faced with infertility. Maybe you are dealing with openness being closed, or more openness than agreed to. Perhaps you are faced with a circumstance that has caused you to second guess your decisions, or maybe something has happened that has left you feeling betrayed or alone. Whatever the change is in your life right now, believe that you have options. Believe that you are a mapmaker.
Every mapmaker first charts the layout. Either by plane or by foot, they go over the land in extreme detail, knowing where every valley and mountain exist.
Know the detail of your situation and what the change is. Write it down.
Go over it with careful thought and examination. Write your reactions down.
Come up with possible scenarios and outcomes.
Explore your emotional reaction to each possible outcome.
Evaluate what needs you would be meeting within each outcome.
Write down two things you are willing to compromise.
Write down your biggest fear.
Sabra Cossentine of Adopting.org wrote recently, "We like things to stay familiar so that we know what to expect and how to move and "be" in a situation. Some may feel uneasy during change. They may feel their purpose has been altered or unappreciated which may not be the case. Those that step into the journey or choose to draw a map for their life see their purpose and direction unfold."
If we fear the journey, we can't move forward. If we don't move forward we cannot influence the change. If we do not influence the change then it looses its purpose. Without purpose ... what good is change?
Those of us on this journey have harnessed the greatest ability of all, besides the most important which is love, and that ability is this:
We have learned to ask how ... instead of why.