This October will mark two years in our adoption journey. It was the moment we finally stepped off the cliff and went tumbling down the rabbit hole. At the time, I was really afraid and didn’t know if we were really ready, but I was so sure that it was the right path. I was so sure that we were doing the right thing. Now, two years later, I still have a bed waiting for the little one that hasn’t come. I am still imagining what that little face will look like. I still have this space in my heart that is waiting to love our child — a child that is yet to arrive.
We began our journey in international adoption from Ethiopia. About six months and lots of money into it, the program became very unstable because of political issues and fraud in many orphanages there. The door slammed closed. We looked at all of our options and found a great local low-risk adoption agency that specializes in foster-adoption. We felt really good about making the switch but had to start much of our paperwork over and write more checks. Still, we were determined.
After some of our paperwork took a vacation on someone’s desk for five months, we were finally cleared in February to begin “child search”, in which we are actively looking for a child to be matched with. It is now August, and after a few very emotional and frustrating “almost matches”, I have become weary. I am just tired. My thoughts have turned from when it happens to if it happens. I have watch nearly every one of my friends get pregnant and have their babies in the time that I have been adopting. I have also watched other adoptive families welcome home their children in celebration. I have had many people forget we are adopting altogether. It stings and burns because it is our life. It is our every day life — the waiting. During that time, I gave into the very enticing temptation to slip into pouting. I gave myself over to the why me’s and the why not me’s. A couple of very patient friends patted me on the head and let me throw my tantrum.
Then one day, I began renewing my mind. I went back to the scriptures. I didn’t just flip to the verses listed under “encouragement” or “patience”. I just began to read. Nothing super spiritual or allegorical; I just began to put the pieces of my worldview back into place. And I began asking myself a question:
What reason do I have to be ungrateful?
No matter what I had planned or what I wanted for myself, the truth is that I am incredibly blessed. I have a husband who adores and respects me when so many women do not. I have carried and given birth to two precious, unique children when so many cannot. I have been given people to love with my whole heart and there are a few hearts that love me back, for just who I am. I have been trusted with passions and giftings when so many feel lost in their identities. What on earth could I expect for myself outside of these enormously beautiful realities?
Since I came to my faith, I have always been drawn to and clung to Isaiah 45:19: “I publicly proclaim bold promises. I do not whisper obscurities in some dark corner. I would not have told the people of Israel to seek me if I could not be found. I, the Lord, speak only what is true and declare only what is right.” For much of this time, I have been praying that God would bring about what he promised, that I would have the faith to believe that he will make it happen. The problem I’ve found with this is that He has not promised me an adoption. He has promised me that he will work everything together for my good and that his kingdom is coming to earth. My focus has been on trusting God to make this thing in my life happen, but I have discovered that real trust is believing that he is holding me in his hands and that whatever comes, he is still good.
I am not there yet, but I am beginning to let go of my expectations. Maybe I will get a call tomorrow to come pick up my baby, and I will cry tears of joy. Maybe a year from now I will still be waiting and trying to discipline my mind to see the world for what it truly is: something that does not revolve around me. It doesn’t matter how I felt the moment I began walking this road. It doesn’t matter how sure I was. Either way, I hope that I can be one who says, “I’m grateful anyway”, and mean it.