Adoption and waiting. They go together. We wait at different times of our lives- we wait for college acceptance letters, for a marriage proposal, for the birth of a baby, for a job offer. I've gone through different seasons of waiting in my life but none of those other times have included this deep, heart ache that is tied to the wait. It's is so profound that I have a physical reaction if I allow myself to go there. As a person specialized in compartmentalizing my emotions for the sake of rational problem solving, this physical reaction has snuck up on me a couple times.
Yesterday was a day of highs so high and lows so low it's a wonder I was able to sleep at all last night. Or perhaps not- the exhaustion of it all could have been a factor too. In a process of ever- complicated steps, we are coming to the end of this adoption. I can't hardly believe it. Yesterday, the last day of September, I awoke to an email containing two vital pieces of information needed to complete one of these complicated steps. As China is approaching a week of holidays, I had expected to see no progress until after everyone returned to work. As I took a quick shower, attempting to ready myself for the day before the boys completely destroyed the house, I calculated the timing of the next steps for our adoption and realized that with this new email, there was a slim chance of moving forward before the Chinese holiday. Grabbing a towel and shooing boys away, I sent a quick message to confirm this realization. An almost instant response- "send everything right away." I threw on clothes, turned on a cartoon, tossed bowls of Cheerios and cups of milk on the table, and delved into a world of visa applications and questions of national security ("have you even knowingly or unknowingly aided the communist party?" And " are you knowingly entering the United States to commit acts of treason?"). Visa application completed, various immigration approvals collected, and one email with a bunch of very important attachments written and flying through cyberspace to very important people on the other side of the world who have the power to move our first date with our daughter closer on the calendar. It was a rush- that slim glimmer of hope, the act of 'doing something' and making something happen, the feeling of accomplishment that I had done everything in my power... And then the other shoe dropped.
I received a message that there was an issue with our daughter's file. Discrepancies in wording and translation hurdles. And nothing could be done until these discrepancies were resolved. I exchanged text messages, Facebook messages, and one depressing phone call that basically confirmed that everything had come to a screeching halt. We would have to wait for the Chinese holiday to pass, but even after everyone had returned to work, the timeline was still unknown. They had a plan but could not predict it's likelihood at success.
And so we wait. With aching heart, I wait. And I know my pain is only a fraction of the pain my little one experiences each day that passes without belonging and knowing love. Austin is steadfast in his wait- "it'll take as long as it takes." Today is October 1st- a day I was looking forward to telling the boys, "next month we finally meet your sister." But I can't. That realization finally manifested itself in that physical reaction I was talking about- as various people reached out to me yesterday I heard my voice shake and watched my hands tremble. I hung up the phone and grabbed a blanket to fight off the intense shivering. It was 90 degrees. I do not wait well.
But maybe I am learning something in this wait. In the past, my response would be one of anger. Anger at the situation, at people who should have caught this 'discrepancy' earlier, at a country that throws away children, and at a system that makes them wait. And at myself for not doing enough and being enough. I am not angry today. Aching, disappointed, sad... But not angry. I immediately felt the urgency to pray- and to ask others to do so. A quick Facebook post rallied our troops. Corbin and Leo prayed for their baby sister to come home soon (and for mom to bring them yummy Chinese treats) right in the car. And dear friends who have walked this path before us, gave me perspective- "we are excited to see how God will work." I wasn't excited initially but that truth has sunk in overnight. This is a mighty obstacle, requiring painful waiting, but we have a mightier God who delights in showing up and showing off His heart for the lost.
I can't promise that I will always have the happy excitement when we are faced with the hard. But I will learn to wait- with my heart ache- for the One who will wipe away every tear to act. And I will look forward in eager anticipation of His mighty work.