I one time read a study that said most people actually feel happier and experience more joy in the weeks leading up to a vacation than on their actual vacation. The excitement and anticipation and planning brings people as much joy as actually experiencing the vacation. That is true of most people. It is not true about me.
When the average person is thinking and planning their vacation and how much fun they are going to have, I am letting a thousand questions whiz through my mind that need answers and clarification. What time are we leaving at? How do we get there? Who is dropping us off? Where do we go once we get off the plane? Where is our room located at? What will the unforeseen expenses be? And my brain goes on and on and on. I do not enjoy any of the moments leading up to a vacation. I don’t even start enjoying the vacation until we have made it to our destination and have our stuff unpacked and I can get a few minutes to relax and calm down. Then and only then can I feel the joy and excitement of vacation.
This is an inconvenient way to be. When everyone is showing excitement and wanting to share the joy, I am trying to show excitement and joy that I have not even had the chance to feel or experience yet. Our journey through adoption has been no different. There have been strangers that felt and expressed more excitement for our adoption than I have up to this point. I have been trying to think and process all of the things that go into the huge life change we are about to experience. Sometimes it translates to me seeming disconnected, strange, or unexcited. Interestingly, nothing could be further from the truth. Even with all of the fears and worries that I have to pray through sometimes daily, I am excited. I am happy and I cannot wait to have a child (or children) in our home. I just have not had the luxury that most people have of being able to feel and express the emotions of their excitement.
I have had every question and concern you can imagine up until this point: will we be able to financially provide? Will I be able to be a good father? How are we going to parent? What will our schedules look like?! How are we going to do this day in and day out?! There have been many times where all of the unknowns were simply too much for me to process. But I have to ask these questions. I have to process these things. If I do not at least post all of the unknowns in my mind, I will not be able to experience any joy in this process.
We just recently finished all of our paperwork. Now we can only sit look and wait. For some reason this stage of the process has me feeling much like I do once I have made it to the vacation’s destination with our bags unpacked. I am able to breathe. I am able to start feeling the joy of what is happening. For the first time I can feel excitement without the burden of unknowns. Do I have all the answers? No. In fact, I have hardly anything of this whole journey figured out. But I have been able to process all of that. The negatives and the positives, and finally I can experience the full emotions of joy.
My wife no longer has to wonder what I am feeling because it is able to bubble up without the prompting question of “aren’t you excited?!” because now my emotions have caught up with my thoughts. Someone may eventually call me dad. I am going to have someone looking to me for guidance, love, and support. Now I say that not out of fear or worry but out of joy and excitement. I am going to be a father!