My brother (who has 3 kids himself) asked me (I paraphrase) "Have you thought about how interminable the results of your adoption are?" It was a good question.
We don't know the condition of Garnet beyond some very vague statements in the short-form file that we received. We know that her condition is bad enough, and we know that the kids from that orphanage have had some very hard times. We also know that it's fun and exciting to be in the early phases of an adoption, but that we will, Lord willing, spend the rest of our lives taking care of this little girl whom we are trying to bring into our family. I don't have a full grasp on that, and I don't know if I ever will. The closest analogy I can find is marriage.
Marriage is indeed a definite selection of one from many, and it comprises a pair of unilateral exclusive commitments. Any positive choice, however, is also a firm negative to the myriads of others. I want to marry this one, and by extension, I don't want to marry anyone else. With children it's a bit different, of course, but we are making a unilateral commitment to Garnet, with the flip side that we are saying "no" to anything that would prevent us from completing our commitment. I don't have a firm handle on what all of those "no"s are, but I'm sure a lot of them will be to things I like, things my wife likes, things we like to do as a couple/family. We will probably grudge some of them (because we are sinners, though trusting in Christ), we will probably miss some of them (because our eyes are set too low), and we will probably never stop discovering them (until we die).
We also hope that Garnet may outlive us, though we have no certainty on that matter. This gets to a prior post by MamaV on parenting and adoption. I trust God that Garnet will be so woven into the fabric of our family that it will be second nature to her siblings to care for her, love her, and give her companionship. Yet, it may seem that we are signing our "normal" children up for a lifetime of heartache and difficulty.
If our only barometer ranges between pain and pleasure, we should plainly all be hedonists. Thank God that that barometer is not alone in the redeemed mind, and that the Holy Spirit makes it plain that in fallen man, that barometer is broken. Deformity, disease, and death are the fruits we reaped in Adam. They are fundamentally wrong, they don't belong on God's earth, but we brought them here in Adam's and our sin. The final state of the redeemed is where death and pain are no more. However, in the age of grace, it is clear that God frequently ordains good through good sufferings (read Mat. 5, 1 Peter and 2 Timothy if in doubt). In fact, the offer of the gospel is an offer of persecution and trial, but crowned with ultimate glory. Do we refrain from preaching Christ because we wouldn't want to inflict that life on our hearers? Yes and no, right? "Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” And Paul said, “Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am—except for these chains.”" Acts 26:28-29
So what does that have to do with the interminability of our commitment? We will lay on our "normal" children the obligation to love their sister, and to love her well, through their whole life together. We trust God as much with this as with the salvation of our children (probably because the two may be correlated). If all we wanted was immediate pleasure for our children, we should spoil them rotten and ruin their bodies and souls (we see this all over our great nation). If all we wanted was immediate pleasure for ourselves, we should not have had children (same note). We trust God to work out the details of how He will try us and our family through the addition of Garnet, but we are firmly convinced that however He chooses to do that, it will be for His glory and our own ultimate good.
I close with a longish quote that aptly summarizes the difference between the mindsets in question:
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. - Ephesians 2:1-10
Bait-and-switch. Here's the real long-range view. Our problems and fears (aside from being first-world) are soo this-life.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
Thankfully, adoption DOES have interminable results!