Today was my first glimpse of "the wait" and what it ensues. I vowed in the first posts of this blog to be transparent and since writing is so very therapeutic to me I will share from the heart.
With the onset of the winter gloom (Salt Lake City is terrible for pollution with its inversion caused by the lake effect and clouds looming to hold in the smoggy air) I always get a little blue. Last year's extended stint of inversion coupled with the new move to a new and lonely city, caused me to be quite depressed. This year our circumstances are much more inviting, with a home we own, new friends and a church we love, but I notice quickly that the lack of sunshine leaves me more than a little down. And with the gloom I experienced my first taste of waiting. Not wanting to be too nagging, I sent an innocent email to our social worker. Knowing she had said she would work on our report within 2 weeks, I knew we were in the 3rd week, so I felt a check-in email was in order (I now understand how fellow adoptive parent friends begin to stalk the mailman and call the USCIS office obsessively to see if their forms arrived safely despite Fed Ex's confirmation). In the world of adoption it is nearly required that you be a little OCD with the vast amount of detail required for the paperwork. So, my social worker responded that she was hoping to get us a first draft by Christmas and she hadn't started yet. I was soooo discouraged. Knowing that the entire adoption process is full of ups and downs and stops and starts, I THOUGHT I had not allowed myself to fall victim to unrealistic time lines and expectations. I was dead wrong. For many months there in me lingered a hope that we would have our paperwork in by Christmas---Yes, to Ethiopia! But lately I realized that would not happen, so I held to the hope that we'd at least have our I-600 form into the government and maybe even have a fingerprint appointment in the new year. Our dossier is 90% ready, minus making a photo page for our child and finishing a financial form and having everything notarized and authenticated.
Not. Gonna. Happen.
We drug our feet. We could have had our portion done two months ago. We could have turbo'd through the questions in the ginormous Parent Manual. But we didn't. We took our time and the 17 pages we wrote were well thought out. We even went above and beyond to add 4 pages of Utah resources for Autism, Reactive Attachment, Bonding, ADHD, etc. In essence, we did our homework. Maybe even extra credit.
Yes, we took our time and our social worker had to wait for us. I contacted the agency and they said the proper timeline was 8 weeks for a social worker to write the report. I didn't know this. Others from our agency said theirs took 2 weeks.
We recently received news from fellow families from our agency, that they had visited an orphanage where some of our babies/children come from. When they are matched they are taken to the Transition Home where they receive good nutrition and medical care for a few months until they can be brought home. The families who visited the orphanage found unfathomable conditions. Babies were lying in cribs without mattresses and the ones that did have mattresses did not have waterproof covers. Diapers were at a shortage and those babies wearing diapers at all were soaked. Add the cloth, soaked diapers and uncovered mattresses together and you can do the math. AWFUL. Our support group quickly rallied to send diaper money and crib sheets/mattress covers to the orphanage through our traveling families slated to go get their children. HEART WRENCHINGLY AWFUL... A day care here with those conditions would be condemned, yet this is how children live in third world countries every single day.
So, this year has been a struggle to get into the Christmas spirit and I wondered why? I prayed God would show me the reason and rid me of it! I love Christmas! It's my favorite time of year hands down. How could I not find joy in the coming celebration of the birth of our savior? Was it the inversion?
Then, BAM! Like a lightening bolt it hit me! Not only was I disappointed that our process was not further along, but I also quickly realized I was mourning the children in Africa and other countries who lived in these vile conditions! I pictured my infant, laying in a crib with no mattress with a soaked diaper, crying...And I cried. I am crying now. Oh baby, how I long for you! How this mother's heart is aching to hold you and to bring you home and tell you everything about Jesus, His birth and what we do to celebrate Christmas! I thought we would have you home this year! Then I thought we would at least be "Paper Pregnant." Then I thought we would have our finger print appointment. Now I'm not sure I'll ever hold you.
I'm emotional. Its been a roller coaster of a month for us and the smoggy air that coats my teeth and burns my lungs doesn't help matters. Now don't get me wrong, I am truly grateful for the encouragement we've received. But I'm going to be honest. Today I don't feel like hearing all the comments about God's timing. I believe in that, I really do. I believe our child isn't ready for us yet, nor us for him. We're still short the 8K we need to send in our paperwork. I know that perhaps our child isn't even born yet. I know that God is weaving a tapestry so intricate that we should not even begin to comprehend His plan. I know it all and I trust in it. But no matter what I hear or what I know, it does not begin to take an edge off the pain in this mother's heart. How can I love a child who is not yet mine, I have not met, or perhaps is still growing in his mother's womb? I can because he is MINE. He is the child that God has entrusted to us to care for during our life.
Imagine if your child was in such horrible conditions and you knew he/she was YOURS and you could not rescue him/her yet because of paperwork and waiting. Just imagine the tears that would be shed!
My heart physically aches. The pain I feel is real and true. But I embrace it because AGAIN, God is showing me two things:
1) That He is FAITHFUL. I finally believe this adoption will really happen. And while His timeline is already a year over ours, it is after all HIS PLAN. And he has no bad plans.
2) I have a mother's heart for OUR child. Not just for the orphans as a whole (which I do), but for OUR CHILD. I can nearly picture his face and it is a face that melts my heart with big brown eyes and delicious dark skin and long, long eyelashes. He is REAL and not knowing when we can bring him home shatters my heart into a million tiny pieces every day. My arms ache to hold this baby that is ours from God.
So today was a bad day and no doubt there will be more. So I go to sleep in hopes that this darkness will quickly fade to reveal the sun and a new day and with it will come renewed hope in His plan. It will happen. Tomorrow will be THAT much better than today.
But until then, my heart has a longing that cannot be comforted by any words or any hugs. I suspect this longing will not cease until I come face to face with our child and hold him in my arms.
There. Thanks for listening. I feel better already. Is that the sun I see?
Thank you Lord for this setback. In it I am realizing an opportunity for perseverance and patience. And in it I am realizing that Your plan is Oh so much better than my own.