The beginning of March marks 2 years of being in this adoption process. I know this last year has been silent because there was little to share on our end of things. It has been quite a year…one we never could have anticipated. At the beginning of 2014, we still thought it might be possible that we’d have a child home by the end of the year. But as month’s wore on, the wait time increased and it became more unrealistic. Many have asked, why the delay? International adoption is such a complex animal, and there is really no simple explanation but many factors. We are trusting that much of the delay comes from the work and time involved in investigations to be sure the adoptions through Bethany are ethical. There are also delays that can be caused by changes in government, orphanages, attorneys and other parties. It can be painful to know there are many legitimate orphans without options for a family in their birth country, and they must wait for things to come together. This is where we lean into God’s understanding and sovereignty in ways we’ve never had to before. For us, God very clearly directed us on this path for a family, and we have to choose obedience as we wait and believe He is ahead of us in all the details and the unseen.
We never imagined these adoption faith lessons would be practice for the hardest tragedy of our lives so far, in the loss of my Mom in August. It was sudden, unexplainable, heartbreaking. It was nothing we had time to plan for and it overwhelmed us. We’ve now made it through 7 months without her. We have been held so closely by those who know and love us best. We have been strengthened by words and comforted by silence. But more than any other balm, we have not been without the enveloping presence of God each day. He has never been nearer to me than these last 7 months. I experienced a lot of fear after Mom’s death, and I still do. Fear is one of my greatest struggles. I think I feared most that I would hate and reject God in the future because he allowed Mom to die. I kept waiting for the anger and hate to come. But it hasn’t. I began wondering what was wrong with me. Was I truly grieving? But as I’ve sat and thought about God and how I feel about him on many different occasions over these many months, I’ve discovered that I honestly love and trust him more than I ever have before. And I believe He is still good and sovereign with the best intentions for my life. This speaks nothing to who I am but so very much about who He is and the faith He has gifted to me. He deserves enormous glory for this!
As I think about all that lies ahead for our family built through adoption, I realize that we will have to believe that God is good and sovereign when things are difficult, painful and feel impossible. We will be dealing with broken histories, grief, insecurities, trauma, messiness…God already sees all that’s ahead for us and will give us what we need for each step. Praying for obedience and a faith that trusts when we can’t see what’s in front of us. I was studying Joshua recently and was impacted by the familiar story of the wall of Jericho. As the Israelites approached this barrier to their land and future promised by God, they were unsure how they would overcome it. They could have sat down and pouted, feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Instead Joshua prompted the people to acts of obedience and celebration of God’s goodness. They worshiped Him for all He had done up to that point with faith that He would do even more than they could imagine in the future. I have been praying for a heart that would pursue obedience and celebration of God when I have no idea how He will accomplish what He has promised…when I don’t know what’s ahead.
It is so hard to think that my children will have never met Mom. Many times I’ve grieved the fact that Mom and our first child were both alive at the same time but never had the chance to meet. She did not have the experience of being grandma, but she was so essential to this path of adoption. She instilled in me the value of loving and embracing people like family, even if they weren’t “blood.” And she had the most supportive reaction of all of the people we first told of our plans. I’ll never forget sitting on the porch of a beach house we were renting and timidly telling her we were thinking of adoption for our future. Honestly, at that time, I was still thinking it sounded kind of absurd and beyond our abilities. With a sparkle in her eyes, she said, “of course you are going to adopt! You guys will be so great at it.” When others questioned and had doubts (of which I totally understand), she never did. She had great confidence in us and her encouragement was a huge push for me to dive into this plan God called us to. She saw it even before I did.
With faith and great optimism, we hope to deliver news of our newest family member very soon. Oh what a day when we will know the name and face of our first child!