Today is the nine month anniversary of God calling us to adopt. It’s a day I’ve been dreading and anticipated would be sad, but I’ve decided to enjoy today instead!
I’ve been dreading today because I had in my mind that we would have a baby by now. I’ve heard three sets of adoption stories pretty commonly: 1) From the day God called the couple to adopt to the day they had a baby in their arms was roughly three months or less. 2) From beginning to end took about nine months, which is precious and significant, because that’s full term gestation for a pregnancy. 3) The wait was LONG, as in a year or two or four.
When we passed the first milestone, I was bummed (I love it when things happen quickly), but I resigned myself to thinking we would be in the second category. We would have a sweet nine month story and a baby (maybe babies!) in our arms. I looked forward to September with such hope, at times with a peaceful assurance that God had written a nine month story for us.
If you’ve been keeping up with our story at all, you know there is no baby in our arms today. I think we’re going to be in category three, and that has caused all sorts of fear lately.
But not today!
Today, I’m not going to be afraid. I am going to enjoy this day!
I woke up to a notification that a sweet friend, an adoptive mommy who knows the wait so well, had posted a song on Facebook for me to hear. It was beautiful and perfect, and I soaked it in this morning. My favorite line is “You can do more in my waiting that in my doin’ I could do.” Yep. The Lord has been whispering this to my soul the last few weeks.
I spent time in the Word. I cuddled with my husband. And my cat. I asked Joseph for lots of hugs (I’m sure I’ll be asking for more!), and I savored being in the comfort of his embrace. I danced in front of the mirror. It’s really hard not to laugh when I’m watching myself dance! HAHA! I have lunch plans with friends (God was sweet in the timing of that), and Joseph and I have plans to spend the rest of the day together. We’re going to do a little shopping and paint canvases to hang in the baby’s room. Our goal is to fill the nursery with Scripture.
Joseph and I were filled with SO MUCH JOY when God confirmed it was time to adopt. I want to recapture that today. It’s the best way I know to honor such a sweet little anniversary. :O)
Sunday, one of the sweet little girls in our Divorce Care for Kids group described the moment her parents told her they were divorcing: “It felt like a rainstorm, but it wasn’t raining outside; it was just cloudy.”
There have been many days recently that I’ve felt the same way as this insightful eight-year-old. The sun has been shining in the midst of crisp blue skies, but I’ve felt rainy in my spirit. The wait has been weighing on me, and I feel sad. A lot.
There is a root to my sadness, though, and I hate to admit it. My sadness is the product of fear and unbelief. I’ve hit a point in the wait where I fear we’ll be waiting forever and God will never give us a baby. I struggle each day to believe He is good, even though He has planned this wait for us.
When Joseph and I prayed together last night, I confessed these things to God. Through tears, I told God how I was feeling and asked Him to replace my fear and unbelief with His truth. Then I slept! I’m pretty sure I fell asleep with tears still on my cheeks.
This morning, I pulled my Bible onto my lap and asked God for encouragement from His Word. I prayed words that have been in my mind since reading Every Bitter Thing is Sweet: “Lord, I want to know You better. I know that happens in large part through reading Your Word.” It’s also happening through these circumstances I keep asking Him to take away. ;O)
I smiled when Psalm 34:4 was part of my reading: “I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” How sweet of the Lord to assure me that He hears my prayers (even the ones muffled by my tears!) and will deliver me from my fears.
I know He may not answer our prayers for a baby the way we would like. We may never have children. But I don’t need to be afraid of that. I don’t need to fear what God is doing in my life. I certainly don’t need to doubt His goodness.
So, today, I’m choosing to walk by faith. I’m choosing to remind myself that GOD IS GOOD. I’m choosing to trust Him. Again. I’m choosing not to fear.
(Yes, I’ve probably said this a dozen times in previous blog posts. This is a daily struggle, y’all!)
What about you? Are you struggling with fear? How can you step out in faith today and choose to trust God?
Let me know if you’re reading. I’d love to hear from you!
Some days, believe it or not, I think about the adoption process very little. Whether it’s because I’m busy or because we don’t have something adoption related to do in a given day, waiting for our little one isn’t at the forefront of my mind. Other days, I feel the weight of the wait. Today was one of the latter.
So what did today look like? Were we swamped with paperwork? Did we receive bad news? Was the to do list overwhelming?
None of the above.
We were on vacation, relaxing on the beach, surrounded by family. Today was a wonderful day, one I’ve been looking forward to for months.
In the midst of the crashing waves, the smell of sunscreen, and my nephew’s sweet “da-da-da-da” babble, I felt the weight of who was missing: our sweet little one whom I’ve been praying for with Hannah-like fervor.
I pictured her trying to eat sand, squealing as a wave rolled over her chubby legs, and babbling at a bird scurrying past her. I imagined rubbing sunscreen onto her soft, brown skin, wrapping her in a beach towel, and cuddling her cheek to cheek as I inhaled her baby scent.
And my family? Well, they’re going to love her! She’ll play with my nephew, captivate her grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, and sit in Pop Pop’s lap as they exchange big grins. She’ll fit right in, and we’ll wonder what life was like without her.
And she’ll be cranky and poop and scream and wake up in the middle of the night. I’m not naïve. ;0)
As we left the beach house to drive home, I watched the mighty oaks sheltering the long road, and I cried. “I feel the weight of the longing today!” I sobbed to Joseph. He reached over and held my hand, and we continued down the road.
God was faithful in the moments that followed. He flooded my mind with Scripture and song lyrics. He filled my thoughts with shifting the weight of our wait onto Him.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7 NIV)
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)
And when I couldn’t think of the right words for this post, the song “Cast My Cares” drifted into my mind. It was perfect. There are many lines I would love to quote, so I’m going to embed the video below and only quote my favorite line:
God of glory,
You are able,
Through Your power,
To be faithful.
So good! In the midst of the weighty wait, God is faithful! On my own, I am unable to be faithful. On these days when the wait seems palpable, if I don’t lean into the Spirit and rely on His power, I will drift. I will pull away from Him slowly, bit by bit, much like the ocean shifting from high to low tide. I watched today as the water receded and more and more of the shore was revealed. It’s a steady, gradual process, almost unnoticeable at first. Thankfully, I have the Holy Spirit to enable me to be faithful. I have opportunities to take my thoughts captive and choose faithfulness over drifting.
Today (well, tonight at this point!), I’m choosing not to drift. I’m choosing to cast my cares on Him, because He loves me. He bore the weight of the sins of the world, and He can bear the weight of our wait.
As I watched the activity of our church’s construction site for hours the other day, lulled by the gentle hum of the bulldozer and soothed by the rhythmic rumble of the upturned concrete, I noticed the metaphor for this season of our life.
You’ve probably experienced the phenomenon of watching the construction of a new restaurant. As you drive by on your way to work or glance over on your way home from church, you ooh and ahh over each bit of progress that is made.
“Oooh, they’re clearing the land! I wonder what will be built here.”
“Wow! It’s huge! This could be it, the biggest Taco Bell we’ve ever seen!”
“Sad. Unless Taco Bell changed their color scheme, this is going to be something else.”
“This place looks finished! Why isn’t it open?!”
The last phase resonates with me in a major way. You know the phase to which I’m referring, the inevitable phase when a building looks complete from the outside, but nothing seems to be happening. Surely, they should be hoisting a neon sign into the air any day now, someone in a costume should be spinning a giant arrow to entice us to eat there, and a line should be wrapping around the building to taste the new cuisine. Surely.
Or so it seems.
In reality, there is still much to be finished on the inside, unseen to passersby. There is painting and decorating, stocking and tasting, hiring and training. Many important things need to take place before the restaurant is ready to open its doors to customers.
That’s our current stage in the adoption process. We feel like everything is finished and ready to go (well, aside from, you know, $15,000 or so …). We’re approved and waiting, and it feels like we’ve been approved and waiting forever. It feels like forever, and it feels like nothing is happening.
We have to remind ourselves that isn’t true. God is at work in ways we can’t see right now. He’s orchestrating all of the details to place our baby(ies) in our arms. He’s working in the life of our birth parents. There is a definite possibility our future children haven’t even been conceived yet. (We don’t like to think about that!)
He’s also working in our hearts. He’s teaching us to lean into Him as we wait. He’s using the struggle to refine us and make us more like Jesus. While I can’t wait for the gift of becoming a mother, I have to remind myself that waiting is also a very good gift. Waiting to become a mother will change me in a way that becoming a mother instantly wouldn’t have.
While I can’t wait to be a mother, CAN’T WAIT to hold a squishy baby in my arms and sniff that sweet baby’s hair and feel that baby’s cheek next to mine, I also really want to know Jesus better. I want to know His comfort and peace in a way like I haven’t before. I want to desire Him above all things, even being a mommy.
Those things are happening as I wait, as I stare upon the seemingly finished construction and cry out for God to swing open the doors. Today, I’m thankful the doors are closed and the Master Builder is still working.
“Did you know there are thousands of children in OUR country who can be adopted right now through DSS?” Yes, I did, and my heart aches for each one of them.
“Did you know it’s pretty much FREE to adopt through DSS?” Yes, because DSS is funded through the government, it is pretty much free to adopt through them, and I think that’s awesome!
“Did you know there are actually tons of BABY BOYS in China who need to be adopted, not just baby girls?” Yes, I did read that recently.
“My cousin’s neighbor’s dermatologist just adopted from somewhere in Africa! The baby is SO CUTE! Have you considered adopting from Africa?! You could have the CUTEST BABY EVERRRRRR!” Yes, I have considered adopting a child from Africa. For years. Maybe one day I will, even if that child is no longer the cutest baby ever.
I could go on. God LOVES orphans, and He LOVES it when His people adopt. I’ve heard enough stories to know He must be delighted every time a child is placed into a family and declared “an orphan no more!” It’s a beautiful picture of the Gospel.
No matter how it happens.
God called us to adopt through the private (yes, expensive) sector, and He has affirmed that many times for us. When we first sensed His leading in this direction, I felt guilty. I thought about all of the children in DSS who need homes RIGHT NOW. How could we deny them that? How could we deny a sibling group a family, knowing they may be in foster care for years before someone adopts them, if someone ever adopts them?
I had to stop thinking about it that way. The fact is, we can’t adopt every orphan. Buy us a mansion, fund all of the adoptions, and give us a huge annuity to live off of, and we’ll adopt more, but we still can’t adopt all of them.
But we can adopt one. (Or two or three or four or five eventually …)
We can follow the specific leading of the Holy Spirit for our family and trust He will place the very child into our family who was supposed to be here even before God spoke the world into being.
And then, we can trust His leading as we step into adoption again. Next time, that may look like adopting a sibling group through DSS. Or, it may look like adopting a little girl from India or a boy from Africa. I would love a diversity of adoption stories for our family.
I’ve learned something in this almost nine months of waiting: Every adoption story is unique, and every adoption story is beautiful.
Whether a family chooses to adopt through DSS, a private domestic agency, or an international agency, at the end of the process, there’s one less orphan, and that’s worth celebrating!
Every life matters. Every life has value, because every human being was created in God’s image. A child still in his mother’s womb as she makes the hardest decision of her life. A little boy in SC who was just taken from his home because his parents manufacture meth in their kitchen. A quiet baby lying in a crib in Russia who has learned no one will answer his cries. A teenage girl in TX who longs for someone to adopt her with all of her siblings before she ages out of the system. They all matter.
So, what can you do today to ensure there’s one less orphan in the world? Adopt. Pray for others who are adopting. Give financially to enable someone you know to adopt.
One less orphan.