I’ve been putting this post off for several weeks because the words that I feel I so desperately need to write are not pretty words or funny words or inspiring words.
The words I need to write and the feelings I need to get on paper are hard to articulate. I haven’t quite been able to put my hand on the way I’ve been feeling lately, so let’s go back to February for a minute, and I’ll see where this goes.
February 12th, 2016, was the day our dossier was submitted to China. Four months and nine days ago, we became eligible to be matched with our baby boy.
Two weeks after our dossier was submitted, we spoke with our agency’s Matching Coordinator who estimated our match to come within three months. Excitedly, I remember taking Carter and Kate to Hobby Lobby one afternoon in early March so we could start working on baby brother’s room. We painted a shelf, picked out ocean and nautical trinkets, hung his initials on the wall, and we were just so certain that “the call” was coming any day.
And then we waited.
And then in late March, we got a call about a file with all sorts of inaccurate information, including the child’s birthday, so the file was passed on to another family because this child was too old for us.
And we waited again.
April passed, May passed (the originally estimated “within three months” mark was in there, too), and now we are almost through June.
Every day, my children remind me of their baby brother. Every day, I walk past his empty room and look at his empty crib and wonder where he is. Every day, Kate reminds me that she’s a big sister, and nearly every day, Carter finds a toy or a book or an outgrown piece of clothing that he wants to save for his brother.
Today, he found a panda bear in Barnes & Noble. Excitedly, he ran over to me and thrust it into my arms. “Look, Mom! Look! A panda! Pandas live in China, and since that’s where baby brother is, we should get it for him so he remembers where he came from! Can we get it for him, Mom? Can we?” I agreed, and it is now proudly displayed on his chalk-painted shelf.
Not ten minutes later in Gymboree, Kate comes running over to me with a size 3-6 month pair of footie pajamas covered in dinosaurs. “Yook, Mama!” she says. “Those are too little for you, sweetie,” I reply. “No, for baby brudder!” she replies emphatically. Through gritted teeth and while holding back tears, I carefully tell her that we don’t know her baby brother’s size yet, so we won’t be buying him pajamas today. “When will we know, Mommy?” she asks. “Soon, baby. Soon, I hope.”
It’s all I can tell her as I watch her disappointment and the pit in my stomach forms.
Statistics will tell you that there are upwards of 500,000 children living in Chinese orphanages today.
And for the last four months and nine days, I’ve been asking God which one of them He has chosen to be ours. Where is our boy? What is he doing right now? Why are we still waiting when there are so many kids needing a home?
Here’s the thing – by international adoption standards, four months and nine days of waiting is NOTHING. Truly, NOTHING. I have friends who waited over a year for their referrals from African countries, and I have know other waiting China families who have waited seven, nine, ten months already. I have friends who have adopted from countries in Central America who had to go see and then leave their children multiple times. Adoption is not for the faint of heart, and I knew that going in.
BUT, I have felt particularly pained by our wait lately because an expectation was set and then not met, and that hurts. I don’t know why we are still waiting. I don’t know why God has asked us to live the last four months and nine days in complete and total limbo. I don’t know when we will see our son’s face for the first time or when we’ll get to bring him home.
There are moments when I feel certain there’s a reason we are waiting, and other moments, I’m just flat out heartbroken. I have moments where I so desperately miss our son…the son we’ve never met or seen…and other moments where I feel completely disconnected. There are moments, hours even, where I know this wait will all make sense one day, and other moments where I just want to throw my hands in the air and say, “It’s just too much!”
And it’s in those hard moments when I realize it’s too much because I’m trying to rely on my worldly strength and endurance during this wait and not HIS.
How many times in Scripture do we see God asking people to wait and trust?
Think Noah got off that ark after just forty days? Nope! He spent a full YEAR on that boat with all those animals before God told him he could find land. (Side bar – can you even imagine that smell?!) I never met the guy, but I’m fairly certain he was OVER IT long before that.
When Mary and Martha need Jesus to come heal their brother quickly and He doesn’t get there before his death, they are heartbroken and angry. But Jesus showed His ultimate power in that the true miracle came LATER as Lazarus was raised from the dead.
Moses waited 40 YEARS in the desert for God to transform him into the man who could deliver the Israelites from Egypt.
Our waiting is not new, and our waiting is not without purpose. It’s in our waiting that God is working out all of these tiny little details that we cannot see from our finite viewpoint. It’s in our waiting that He builds our anticipation for what’s to come. And it’s in our waiting that we learn to rely on and trust Him fully.