The same day that I applied to the Diocese to become a priest, I also enquired about the possibility of exploring adoption. The two things are essentially unrelated, except that the thing that prompted me to look into adoption again at this time was a little advert in the Diocesan newspaper that the adoption service had placed, saying that they were particularly in need of adopters at this time.
On the priestly side of things, I have had a couple of interviews with the assistant DDO (that’s the Diocesan Director of Ordinands to non-Anglicans), and submitted my Journey of Faith document to the DDO’s office.
On the adoption side, we had been to our initial meeting, and agreed that we are keen to go ahead.
But now both endeavours are on hold.
After consideration, the DDO has said that he agrees that I have a ‘call’, but that the call needs to be tested, and I should come back to them in a year. And within that year, there are a number of things that I should do, and a number of things that I could do if I wish.
The requirements are:
– To keep a prayer journal
– To develop my spirituality (along Anglican lines)
– To learn more about Anglicanism, more about women in leadership
– To find a spiritual mentor / spiritual advisor
So although it wasn’t said so in so many words, it is clear that I am not quite Anglican enough, which was to be expected. It was intimated that I need to prove my commitment to the Anglican church. (I think that with my twisty-turny history, they suspect I might be a flight risk!) 🙂
But within that year, I would be free to for example, pursue my interest in starting a children’s work at my local church, and to pursue the beginning of a ‘Fresh Expression’ locally, although they would be loathe to allowing me to ‘lead’ or ‘teach’ in anything that I start, but that I could also pursue a local Worship Leader’s course which would enable me to do those things in a limited way.
So I think that on reflection that, although I feel a little bit disappointed (because I am raring to go!), that is a good outcome, with some useful aims and goals which will be a step towards what I want to achieve ultimately.
Funnily enough most of my good friends here have, by coincidence, connections with the priesthood: one is the wife of an ordinand, another is a reader and her husband is a deacon. So I have lots of useful contacts for help, advice and encouragement.
On the adoption side, after conversations with the adoptions liaison, we have agreed to put it on hold for a while until we can manage to get the house in a bit more order after moving. They want us to be as settled as we can be before we start the process.
I am also very conscious as well about the state of my health. We heard through friends of friends the awfully sad and tragic story of Jenny Groothuis, a mom and adopter or 15 children in total (7 birth children) who was killed in a car crash on Sunday. My heart goes out to her husband and the whole family. She sounded like an amazing, beautiful, wonderful person, but now she’s gone. It made me think seriously about the responsibility of thinking about all the ‘what if’s’.
I would not want to ‘not’ do things because of the risks, but you have to consider actually, well what would happen to all these children if something happened to me? You can’t prevent tragedies necessarily, but you can work to create a buffer against disaster – a support network, Godparents, church, friends, family. We’ve been here for 3 years now, but we’re barely getting our foot in the door. We need to do some more work on building up a support network.
In both cases, then, it isn’t a ‘no’, it’s just ‘wait’.
So it shouldn’t feel like a disappointment, but it is frustrating.
But ultimately, I think I just need to do what I can, where I can, when the opportunities present themselves, and trust that God does have a plan, and a purpose, even when awful things happen. Jenny’s death seems so senseless, so cruel, so unnecessary; the questions ‘Why did God take her, why did God do this’ are inevitable, but even if we believe that it wasn’t God’s idea, it was just something that happened, why didn’t God prevent it? She was so needed, so irreplaceable, so loved.
But God does have a way of bringing good out of the most unthinkably dreadful circumstances.
This amazing charity organisation, Take Them a Meal, has organised for well-wishers to do something practical for the bereaved family. Scroll down and take a look at the number of people who have committed to provide food for this family. The road ahead for this family is going to be long and hard and full of grief, but this practical action is a start, it’s a help, what an amazing support network they have.
If you would be interested to support them, either financially or through prayer, take a look at this page which tells their story.