Love is a Decision

So I’m in the stage of this adoption where everyone asks this question: “What is TAKING SO LONG?”

Baby Shoes

We are approaching the two year mark from the day we decided to adopt and shortly thereafter began the paper chase. We have known exactly who our intended daughter is for almost a full year now, yet we still have not been able to go to Haiti and hug her tiny body and kiss her sweet chubby cheeks. Twice now, we were told we could get ready to travel and go, only to then be told “no, not yet”.

It really is a roller coaster of emotions.

I remember the day in early January when I was sitting in my office reading my Adopting from Haiti Facebook group as usual, and I saw the photo with her name in the Le Monitor online newspaper. I shrieked and started jumping up and down, startling my in-laws who were watching TV on my couch while my husband was outside cooking dinner. Explaining that after seven long months of waiting, our adoption process was finally unstuck.

Le Monitor HaitiOver the next days and weeks I started planning for our first trip. The dates were set. We had an appointment at the US Embassey in Port-au-Prince. I carefully went through the clothes that had been handed down to us and the few I had bought and chose outfits to bring for Rose. We collected diaper donations for the orphanage and went to the travel clinic for malaria medication.

And then within days of leaving, we got the news that despite what we had been told, our dossier had not been released from IBESR and we could not travel for court yet. We were stuck again, for completely unknown reasons.

baby girl clothes

Tiny girl clothes

My first reaction was intense anger. There was some yelling and language I don’t normally use. Then I calmed down and probably turned a little numb…a little cold. “This is Haiti” they all say, all the time.  I was little surprised that I never really fell into grief.

Adoption, the process and the thoughts and emotions, is a really hard thing to explain sometimes. People talk about “oh I’m totally in love with this child I’ve never met”. I get that, in a way. I’m in love with the idea of her, anyway. But I don’t always feel the intense pain that real love for someone causes when they should be physically with you and are not.

Love is not always a feeling. Love is a decision that you make and sometimes keep making each and every day. This is true in adoption, when you just feel like giving up but you don’t because you decided to love a child that needs love and just because it is long and hard and expensive does not mean you give up. You keep going even when you don’t feel like it.

The same is true of marriage, of course. People who stay married a really long time do not feel love for their spouse all that time. I promise you that. There have been many a day when I did not feel love for my husband. But I decided to love him and serve him even on the days I did not feel it. Love means not giving up when the feeling is gone.

So we wait some more for the day we will finally be allowed to fly to Haiti and meet our little Rose. I fully expect to feel the feelings of love for that precious child on that day. But I also know there will be days when she is home and acting like any tired/hungry/developing toddler does that I may not feel a huge amount of love for her. But that won’t mean I don’t love her, not at all. Because I have decided to love her and so I will.

This post is linked up over at as part of her Not So Small Stories series. Thanks Kirsten, for the writing prompt!


13 thoughts on “Love is a Decision

  1. What a difficult thing to deal with. Thank you for your honesty, for sharing this story. My favorite line in this was “There was some yelling and language I don’t normally use. Then I calmed down and probably turned a little numb…a little cold.”

    Thanks for joining Not So Small Stories!

  2. I LOVE this wording- Love is a decision. Yes, it most aptly describes adoption- deciding to love a child you’ve yet to meet but you are so right that it also can describe relationships with those closest to us. Even on the hard days love is a decision. I need to do a craft project with that! I pray for you and your family just like I’ve told you- from Katy to Haiti.

  3. Thanks for sharing, this is both lovely and sad. In the context of adoption, when you said “Love is a decision” I thought of God’s adoption of us as children. It’s a decision God has made regardless of “feelings” or our own failures and brokenness.

  4. I can only imagine how hard this is and how frustrated I would be in this process. I loved getting to see the insight, though it seems like such an intensely difficult situation. Thank you for sharing this and for joining up this week. The photos work so well juxtaposed with the writing to show the sort of anticipation you wrote about, and I think you did a great job conveying that emotion!

  5. Thank you for sharing your heart and your struggles here. What a difficult journey, and yet, the lessons you are learning along the way will help you to be the exact mommy that Rose needs. And that is God’s grace. So often we don’t get to see the whys in the midst of the difficulty, but I have no doubt that these struggles now are meant to strengthen you. We will all rejoice when this baby girl is home with you!

  6. good luck with your daughter! i’m sorry it’s been such a struggle. i love how you view love because of the challenge. it will all be worth it in the end. :)

  7. You hit the nail on the head. Love has to be a choice because certainly the “feelings” won’t get you through the daily grind. Or sometimes te week. I have to remind myself of this with different sorts of relationships. Almost daily.

  8. You are so right on – love is a choice we make! I love that you have chosen to love your little girl even though she’s not officially your little girl yet and I am grateful that God loves us whether we’ve chosen Him or not. Beautifully written!

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