Thursday, November 24, 2011

What We Can Do With Our Broken Dreams

This is the third in a series on When Our Dreams Don't Come True.

As I shared earlier this week, I am pursuing a dream that both inspires me and scares me. Adoption.

I've spent hours researching this puzzle of international adoption, hoping that I’d find all the pieces. An agency that works with overseas couples. An agency that works with countries that would accept our family situation. A country that is open, that is accepting applications.

The easy solution—adopting from Indonesia—won’t work as long as its current laws stay true. Finally, after months of emails and research and phone calls, we thought we’d found all the pieces. But recently, we’ve learned that it’s not an option, at least not for now anyway.

But is this really a dead end?

Honestly, I don’t know. We might someday move to another country that is open to adoption by Americans in our situation. Or the country that seemed to be a good fit will likely someday open up again. The answer here may not actually be a no, but a not yet.

And that may be true of your dream, too. Maybe what seems like a dead end is just one that will open up later in your journey. Or maybe it really is a no, a not only closed door, but a bolted door. What now?

1. Make a long-term plan.

Maybe you really want to move to a distant land and feed the poor, or rescue the sick or help the hurting. But you just can’t. Your spouse doesn’t want to go. Your child is sick or too young or has special needs. Your aging parents need someone. You don’t yet have the training necessary.

So, maybe you simply wait. You live your current life, be thankful for the dreams that have come true, and pray that some things will someday change.

2. Make as much of your dream come true as you can.

I’ve been teaching English at an Indonesian orphanage in town for a year. I’m not a teacher, not all that good at it. But as a native speaker, I get requests all the time. Recently, as the adoption option has been put on hold, I decided to make my dream happen in the way that I can.

The children at this orphanage have mothers who can’t or won’t take care of them. Most of their fathers have died. As far as I understand, they aren’t up for adoption, even if somehow I met the Indonesian parameters for adoption them, which I don’t. They need family. I want orphans in my home. So, I decided to do more than teach them English.

I began picking them up from the orphanage in groups of two or three and bringing them home to my house for the afternoon. I make them chocolate chip cookies, show them pictures and ask them about their lives. Then I’ve been taking them to the MAF hangar to show them airplanes, and my husband’s work and more of my life, while I learn about theirs.

I wish they could stay, join my family, their story and my story changing into one. But I am thankful for ways that our broken dreams--theirs of having no family, mine of not being able to adopt--can meet over cookies and airplanes.

Think about what you really wantmoving overseas, purpose, relationships with other cultures, learning a new skill or language, teaching your kids about a broader world, serving, making a difference, etc.

Then look for ways you can do it right where you are within your current situation. Look for families of different cultures in your town. Join a multi-cultural church. Take an art class. Make that dream come true in your own backyard.

3. Choose not to do something...else.

It's easier for me to accomplish a bunch of small things, enjoy the feeling of checking things off my list, than to face the Big Things I really want. As long as I haven't tried to go after my dream, it still exists. I can blame my life, my kids, my situation, the country where I live for this undone dream. Somehow that's easier than risking it to my own failure.

But maybe my dreams don't have to sit there, all empty of life.

But I am busy, and tired. I can't do it all. So, if I'm ever going to actually go after those dreams, I have to let go of other things.

What’s your story? Do you have ideas for turning disappointments into dreams come true? Leave a comment or email me at

And join me for the next post on dreams as we look at the lessons learned when our dreams don’t come true.

1 comment:

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