Today is a Friday, and I am weary. There seems to be an endless demand for my attention. The piles of clean laundry are indistinguishable from the piles of dirty laundry. The toys take over any available floor space making simple tasks like walking difficult. The dishes spill over onto the counter. The children grab and scream and cry and scowl. And I try to hold on to the last bits of my sanity as we struggle through the day.

Parenting is hard. It requires more of me than I want to give. It requires sacrifice with lengthy delays on gratification. I get to the end of the week, and I am fatigued. I am weary and run down. I bite my tongue from modeling disrespect, refrain from doling out justice, and find the energy to say one more time, “Let’s try that again with respect.”

Finding God in the “What If’s”

Have you ever had those “what if” thoughts as a parent? You know the ones. What if my child never sleeps through the night? What if he doesn’t make it through this school year? What if she embarrasses me in public, again? What if he melts down at church when everyone is watching? What if the violent outbursts never stop? What if he never graduates high school or can’t get into college? What if she never accepts my love? What if he never learns to trust me? What if life never returns to normal?

Life is full of “what if’s” and the adoption journey certainly offers no respite from this reality. Most of us embarked on this adventure full of hopes and dreams. Many of those dreams remain; some are but a distant memory. Maybe you remain hopeful, or maybe your hope is fading – or maybe both.

The Lord Is Our Strength

As adoptive parents walking a journey of healing with our children, we have an opportunity to enter into their world with empathy and compassion in a way that points them to the hope of the Savior. God has given us the divine honor of being mom or dad. We have the privilege of nurturing our children’s hopes and dreams, giving them goodnight kisses, wiping away their tears, teaching them as they grow and mature, and being the ones they look to for acceptance, security, and love. Parenting is holy ground, and we are allowed a front row seat as we watch their stories unfold and God does His work in and through them.

But as amazing and wonderful as being a parent can be, it can also be exhausting and at times terrifying.

…And They Lived Faithfully Ever After

Everyone loves a story with a happy ending. It’s the stuff that best-selling books and box office hits are made of. Happy endings lift our spirits and inspire us to dream. They get us started, keep us going, and give us reason to believe.

When families adopt they too dream of living out a story with a happy ending. And well they should. After all, adoption is full of joys and blessings, and for many these experiences are the hallmarks of the journey itself.

But there’s just one problem when it comes to our enchantment with happy endings – they don’t always happen. Not in life and certainly not in adoption.