When we sent our dossier paperwork to China in October, we began the wait to be matched.
This is a hard wait for most people in the adoption process. Other than the moment you meet your child, probably the next most significant point in the process is the moment you know who that child is. All of this work, this fundraising, this waiting and yearning – it’s all for this child. Finally knowing who they are feels like a sweet victory.
We officially began waiting on October 19th. After months of paying careful attention to every detail, of pushing towards this major goal, our paperwork was done. And it was time to wait.
We were matched with Elliott 13 days after we began waiting. 13 days. Less than two weeks of waiting. While we knew there was a possibility that the waiting could be longer this time, what we had learned about the need for families to say yes to boys and our eagerness made us hopeful for a quick match. We had also been told by our agency that they were expecting files to come from the Chinese government at any point and that we were not too far down the list, so it felt likely that at any point we would be receiving “the call”.
And yet days went by. Weeks went by. Halloween passed and we were in November. All the sudden we were halfway through November. All along we had been telling ourselves that surely we would be matched by Thanksgiving. The day before Thanksgiving I mourned that it was not going to happen that way. Then we were into December and still waiting. Quickly, we were heading towards the two month mark.
As if the emotions of waiting aren’t hard enough, life seemed to swirl around us like a tornado as we waited. Sickness after sickness. Stomach viruses. Ear infections. Strep. Asthma. High fevers and random rashes. Bronchitis. Sinus Infection. Last week, two days after I finished a round of antibiotics, I got another round of strep so bad it was almost unbearable.
A car accident. An insurance dispute. An emergency room trip. Our debit card tampered with. Fraudulent charges on our bank account. More identify theft. Yesterday a fractured tooth with abscesses under two teeth needing two root canals and two crowns.
It feels like we come up for air from one thing just to be pushed down from the next.
All the while we have been waiting. Waiting to see the face of our son. Waiting for some of this to make sense. Waiting for some relief. Waiting to feel like the madness has stopped. I have gone from questioning whether we should quit this adoption to begging God to push us to the next point. I began to understand that we were experiencing the ugliness of spiritual warfare. The enemy was trying to stop us in our tracks. With that, I began to plead with God: have us be matched. Provide the rest of the money we need to do this. Get us on a firmer foundation so the devil will leave us alone.
And every time, God has responded to me the same way. You don’t need your circumstances to change. You need me. Your circumstances don’t put you on a firm foundation. I do.
Towards the end of last week, we found out that our agency was expecting many files in the coming days. Monday morning 44 files came in and the announcement was made “calls are coming!”. We waited hopefully. No call came.
On Tuesday our caseworker told us that they were still working through some of the files, but it was likely we would not be matched in this batch. Late that afternoon she called with a file for us to look at. A 10 month old baby boy. The medical need was something we had never considered but we agreed to look at it.
It’s hard to put words to what this part of the process is like. There is so much emotional buildup to waiting to be matched that emotions are inevitably high. But there is a starkly practical part of this as well. Conversations with doctors, evaluation of photos and videos, questions about development and potential and ongoing needs. For people like us who make decisions in a spiritual context, it’s a weird place to be. And to try to juggle all of that, while still guarding your heart and remaining disconnected enough to make a wise decision…it’s hard. It feels unnatural at moments.
We dove into the process of evaluating his file. We spoke to a doctor Tuesday night, requested more information from our agency, and went to bed cautiously optimistic. We woke up Wednesday and prayed before we went our own ways. God, would you show up here? Would you be clear?
Before my day had even really gotten started Wednesday we got more information. This precious baby boy was significantly more severe than we had thought. He was beyond our capabilities to care for him. This was not our son.
We are back to waiting. Yesterday I was left raw. It had been a roller coaster of a week. My hopes had been up and down so many times and I was left grieving for this boy and for us. I felt frustrated, sort of like after the waiting and the hurting a carrot had been dangled in front of us. And now we were supposed to find some way to step off the hopeful roller coaster and go back to waiting again.
Yesterday, in the midst of my Thursday pity-party, a dear friend challenged me. Could I believe that God was in Isaiah’s story before I was? Could I believe there will be eternal impacts from this journey that go beyond what I can fathom right now? Could I trust every part of this to be used for good whether I understand it or not?
We’ll see with our own eyes. He was always in control.
Today, although I feel the weight of wait on me, I have been able to wait with hope again. To resist the urge to squirm out from underneath the pressure I feel laying on top of me. To choose belief.
And to look forward with expectation to how we are going to see God in the rest of this journey. How we will celebrate the glory of a God that can bring great things out of chaos, that can protect us from the many arrows of the enemy, and can bring home the son He always meant for our family.
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (James 1:2-4 The Message)