Sunday, July 3, 2011

Mail-Order Brides

Today is July 3. A week from today we will be traveling from Sofia to Pavlikini where Abby is residing. You would think I would be out-of-my-mind excited. But honestly I am scared. At think this is at least partially because I am a very private person. And partially it is (I hope!) pretty normal. I am scared about bringing a stranger into our home. I am worried about the changes she will bring into our whole family dynamics.

Please don't shoot me, but I was thinking a couple days ago that international adoption can be compared in several aspects to mail-order brides in the old west! Both involve taking a virtual stranger into your intimate family permanently (whether through marriage vows or adoption decree) without prolonged opportunity to get to know them first. So the farmer says he wants a gal between 20 and 40 that can cook and milk cows and raise young'uns. He puts in his "order." The prospective parents decide they want a daughter between 8 and 10 years old from a country that doesn't require extensive travel. They designate what special needs they can handle. They put in their "order."

Each party that comes to the union has expectations--possibly even very unrealistic expectations-- that the other party probably does not know about. Parents, for instance, can fall in love with a picture and daydream about how fulfilling it will be when that child adores the ground they walk on and thanks them profusely for adopting them. Instead little Johnny spits and hits and cries non-stop and smears his underwear contents all over the walls. An adopted child may have very little knowledge of family life on which to base her expectations but may dream that her new mama will look like a movie star and live in a virtual palace. What happens when mom is chunky and the 4-room house needs paint? These unfulfilled or unrealistic expectations can cause problems for all concerned.

Sadly some wives expected nothing more than mere food and shelter; some children, too, probably don't hope for much more.

The amazing thing is that people GROW to love this stranger that they've already committed their lives to. Please pray for us in this process.


  1. Be comforted! I've been scared with each of my adoptions (5 kids) too. There is a lot of uncertainty. You just have to trust God's leading and that He has tomorrow already under control.

  2. YES YES YES.... It will be weird and hard... But I am very sure you will Love her dearly... God Bless, praying for you!

  3. Oh Joy, what a comparison, I totally get it! Adopting a five year old has been significantly harder than adding a newborn. I wish you the best of luck with Abby and look forward to following along as you all adjust and get to know each other!

  4. Praying for Abby's adjustment. I totally get it. As excited as I was to get Sam home, there was a part of me not looking forward to the weirdness of the adjustment period. God has been really good to us & Sam is having a great adjustment ( and so are the rest of the kiddos), but we have also had those challenging adjustments too. Praying this time is a smooth & easy one!