23 months ago if you would've told me that in August 2013 you will still be waiting to adopt from Ethiopia I would have laughed at them. At the time we submitted our dossier wait times were 12-18 months. Just a few months ago our agency sent out an update preparing families to a wait of three years (or more!).
There is so much within me that longs for the timeline provided by a pregnancy. The certainty that after 9 months, you go to the hospital, give birth and then bring home a baby. The certainty that that sweet little baby is yours; the adoption won't fall through, birth parents won't change their mind, no court has to approve documents... you get my drift.
Nevertheless, that is not the certainty God has called us, too.
There are only two things in the adoption path that we are certain about. The first is that nothing in adoption is certain; loss and pain, unknown and griefs are give-ins. The second certainty is that despite the pain, the wait, the heartache we are growing are family in the way God has asked of us. I may not have stretch marks on my belly but oh, the stretch marks on my heart are deep, many and permanent.
As I think back to the time when we were waiting for Gabe there was so much angst. How I wished my baby would come sooner. I prayed for a child, I begged God for a baby and pleaded that we needed a child soon. If I had my way we wouldn't have had to wait so long for Gabe. But then we wouldn't have Gabe and that is unfathomable.
I feel that angst now. How I long to hold our second child in my arms and never let him go. But it hasn't been our time. My timeline, my hope that Gabe would be a big brother by the time he was four, that we'd be a family of 4 by the end of 2013 is a moot point. It's moot because God is always on time. It may not be my time but he is always on time.
Waiting is hard.
It involves painstakingly throwing aside your expectations and going with the flow.
I am not a go-with-the-flow type of girl.
Waiting is refining.
I am definitely not the girl I was 3 years ago when we signed on with AGCI.
I'm not the same person I was when we submitted our dossier 23 months ago.
I'm not even the same person that lost a referral 8 months ago.
Adoption and waiting for your child changes your heart in ways you can't even imagine.
The way you love someone you've never met before causes your heart to grow more than you can imagine.
Loving a nameless, faceless child a world away makes your heartstrings grow weary yet stronger.
Your marriage grows stronger, deeper and more steadfast during the wait. It'd have to for any husband to handle the crazy that is a waiting adoptive mama.
Sometimes you find it hard to live in the present because you just ache for the future that holds your next child. But your heart cherishes, rejoices and relishes in each moment you have with the baby already in your arms.
Waiting is hard.
But it's life changing.
And while today marks 23 months of waiting, it also marks a one month anniversary for our baby girl. One month ago, we drove two hours south of our hotel to bring our girl home. We anxiously signed paperwork promising to be the best parents possible to our sweet girl. Then there was the sweetest handing over ceremony ever and we headed back to the hospital. Happy. Full of hope. Certain the next 10 days would be pure torture but then we'd come home as a family of four.
That obviously didn't happen. And while the pain is still so real and the grief is sometimes still paralyzing, the hope we had when we brought our sweet girl home with us is still there. It's buried at times but it's still there. Hope for our future. Hope for the future of our family. Hope which is an anchor to our soul and that will not disappoint.
I have three Bible verses on our refrigerator. I've pretty much ignored them the last few weeks and just paid attention to the beautiful pictures of sweet little ones that hang next to them. But today I glanced at one of them. And that hope that is sometimes hard to find, resonated deep and loud.
He who calls you is faithful;
He will surely do it.
1 Thessalonians 5:24