Over the last couple of months Jay and I have been patiently awaiting the next group of referrals in hopeful anticipation of finally seeing an end to this long wait and beholding our little love located on the other side of the world. The second group of referrals finally posted a few weeks ago, but we unfortunately have little good news to share. I have written previously about what it feels like to say “no” to a referral, an experience we had dreaded from the start. I wish I could say that saying no was the worst feeling throughout this whole process, but unfortunately we now know a far worse one…
Let me digress a moment…over the last several months, we have had a pretty open communication line with our adoption agency. As an advocate, I am often aware of things going on behind the scenes so to speak with our agency and the Chinese adoption community at large. Jay and I knew that we were getting very close to the top of the wait list and our director had asked all families to make her aware of children that we were particularly interested in and whose conditions we felt prepared to handle. We had fallen pretty hard for a particular little one and we voiced this to her on several occasions. The startling thing was, we were the only ones with intense interest and after several months, it was nearly certain that when the file posted, we would get the call and he would be ours. In fact, some at our agency even referred to this child as “Ileah and Jays’ referral”. We had chosen not to review other children’s files in anticipation of “our” little one. It truly felt like God was showing us why our wait was so long….it was for THIS child. We were so certain about “our referral” that we went so far as to tell others; family, friends, even our son about this child and we kept photos of him close at hand. We knew his paperwork would be coming up and it felt like our wait was finally almost over….
Then about 2 months ago, my mom was diagnosed with something terrible. I don’t even want to place a name on her diagnosis; I feel like if you do, then that it somehow gains power like “the dark one” from the Harry Potter films. I began attending multiple doctors’ appointments and specialist visits and our adoption took on a new face….one of hope and inspiration. In the next several months, our family was going to endure some really tough stuff, but after that….we would have this little one to actually hold. With any luck my mom would be recuperated and we would be traveling by the end of the year. It became our light at the end of a very dark tunnel. I remember taking a phone call from the agency at one of my moms' appointments and she stopped everything, and hushed everyone, to hear potential word on our little guy. The “diagnosis” was out of sight and mind during adoption related phone calls, for all of us.
In hindsight, I should have known better. There are no guarantees in life and particularly no guarantees with adoption. You want to know the worst feeling through an adoption process? It’s hands down, loosing a referral. Six days prior to this little ones file posting, making them legally available for adoption and officially ours to accept… six short days…. was enough time for another family to gain interest, a family who was technically ahead of us on the list…and just like that, we were no longer considered for him. They would get to review his file first, which they did. And just like us, they fell deeply in love. They accepted his referral during one of the toughest days throughout my moms ordeal. My hope and light through our seemingly helpless and overwhelming situation was gone. We were back to the endless wait.
I took it really hard for the first couple of days, we both did really. To me, it felt like a miscarriage. I have never experienced a miscarriage, but for months we longed and dreamed and prepared for this particular babe and suddenly it was over and he wasn’t ours anymore. Except, I still had his face staring back at me from my phone, and his nursery which we had already started to prepare, and worse yet, social media which allows us to watch as another family documents their adoption of OUR baby.
I hate to admit this next part, but for several days I doubted Gods intentions, His ways, and sadly His goodness. I could only see our misery and the storm clouds swirling around us. I took my eyes off of HIM, and just like Peter after stepping out on the waves, I began to sink. Oh ye of little faith…I could almost hear his voice saying to me….
What is becoming obviously clear through the wait is that this process is not just about an orphan getting a family, its not just about a family getting a long anticipated child, and its not even just about glorifying God through our journey…its about simple faith; Trusting what we can not see, feel, or control. I think that’s what most of life’s trials are really, a way to build faith that can withstand a hurricane. It is sometimes easy to take big actions when you feel God calling you to do something, like saying yes to adoption in the first place. What is not so easy is remaining still when he calls you too. Everything in us wants to do SOMETHING…switch agencies, review children through other sites, try and get pregnant, stop the adoption process altogether….but God is not calling us to move, He is calling us to something harder…to remain still. He has priorities for our lives and right now, it’s not our adoption. Whether this time is for the care my mom needs, or to build our character through patience and tribulations, or to grow our faith, whatever the reason for this season, we need to wait on HIM, so we will. He will come through, as He always does in a more beautiful and profound way than we could have ever expected.
My agency is anticipating another several months before the next group of kiddos post; I’m thinking October. We will likely not travel until well into 2016 if we accept a referral within this group.
For now, we appreciate prayers for our family, particularly for my mom, and for strength to carry on through the seemingly never-ending storm.
1 Samuel 12:16 “Now then, stand still and see this great thing the LORD is about to do before your eyes!”