Pushing through the pain

I have finally reached one of those benchmark points where the rubber meets the road and I am faced to decide whether I truly believe the things I claim to believe.

Am I enough within myself, despite whatever else happens outside of me?

Do I think vulnerability and putting my true self forth is worth it, no matter what heartache and rejection it brings?

Do I dare to hope to grow our little family, while in the midst of some grief for some hopes that need to be put to rest? 

(Can you tell I have been relying heavily on Brene Brown to get me through this season?)

Being a brand new OT practitioner have me in a place of constant shame-checking. I knew starting my new career would feel vulnerable, but nothing quite prepares you for being tossed out of that life raft into the waves. It is a constant battle to leave my self-doubt at the door each morning and show up for my patients as best I know how. All I can do is show up and give as much as I know how to give.

It has been 4 months since I’ve started my job. Still, each evening when I get in my car to leave work it takes me at least 5 minutes to convince myself that it’s okay to turn the car on, that I did everything I could do for the patients in my care, and that I did indeed hit the “clock out” button. I am 100% convinced that each day will be the day I get fired. After starting the car, it takes another 15 minutes or more of deep breathing to actually enter a sufficient state of calm.  I normally attempt some positive thoughts like, “You showed up today. That was hard. Good job, self.” Or. “Man, you changed adult diapers like a pro today. Nice going!” That sometimes helps, but sometimes the thoughts are whispers compared to the loud voices of shame and fear.

Adoption is a lot of the same.

Starting a relationship with an adoption agency is sort of like dating, but maybe more like the show Married At First Sight. You decide to participate, and before you know it you’re naked in front of that person and wondering how you even got here.

Months of paperwork and interviews leave you with more questions about your readiness for parenthood than conviction. You share your strengths and weaknesses and family history with strangers, never knowing at which point you would face rejection.

Josh and I will soon turn in our “profile book” which will be passed around to different expecting mothers who are considering placing their child up for adoption. Our photos and memories and family values will sit on strangers’ coffee tables to be scrutinized and picked apart for worthiness. If we are lucky, this process will end with the most vulnerable act of all-bringing a child into our family.

So as I reflect on what this season has brought, how it has challenged us. and what it looks like to keep showing up, I pray that others will be challenged to join us in this work. I will fail miserably at times (and have) and sometimes my steps toward intimacy will be met with rejection. This has been a particularly painful realization lately. But Brene often references a quote that gives me so much hope that my showing up and letting myself be seen by others is the biggest step toward achieving true love, intimacy, and the family I have been hoping and praying results in this arduous process. Pushing through the pain and exposure to get to the depth and joy have to be worth it, right?

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

-Theodore Roosevelt