Monday, March 14, 2011

Remembering the Waiting

There is a family at our home church in the States who is adopting from Ethiopia. They arrived at our church after we departed for Chile, so we have yet to meet but are looking forward to it! Recently we communicated via e-mail and the question was asked regarding adoption, "How did you do this??? This waiting is tough stuff!"

And so it is. It really, really, really is.

Adoptive mom Jamie Ivey wrote recently on her blog about "Loving Your Kids from Here." Here is what she said:

This morning during church I began to pray for two of my friends who are in this adoption process. God brought their families to my heart and I think it’s because they are both about to experience one of the most gut-wrenching things anyone can experience. They are both about to live their lives here while their kids are there. It is unexplainable to anyone that hasn’t endured this before. You can not even begin to understand the pain in your heart, chest and stomach each time you leave your babies and come back to what you call home all while leaving them in what they call home. Your two worlds are so separate but yet they are so intertwined.

To my friends Kimberly and Jen (and all you others that will meet your kids and then have to leave them until the time is right for them to come home) I want you to know that I get it. I have felt the pain you are feeling. It might be one of the most hurtful times of my life. My heart may not have hurt as much as it hurt each time I had to kiss my babies goodbye and go back to my “regular” life.

I will tell you that no one will get it, but don’t be mad at them for not getting it. Your friends (that haven’t done this) will nod at your stories and smile, but their hearts have not felt what yours did. Don’t be mad at them. When you get home and life keeps moving past you and all you can think about are your kids, don’t get mad at life. It doesn’t know what you know.

When you talk about your kids to strangers and you talk about a kid that’s never been to your home and they think you are crazy. You aren’t. Keep including “those” kids in with “these” kids. They are all your kids. They are all your own kids.

When you look around your home and plan for where they will sit, sleep, eat ….. you are normal. They will be there one day. They will be home. They will be home. They will be home.

When you try and plan vacations and you can’t because you don’t know what your life will look like, it’s okay. Put off your vacations for them. Vacations can wait.

When you don’t feel as though your heart can stand another day away from them, know that it can. God is able to sustain you. He is able to guide you. He is able to hold your heart when you feel as though it can’t stand one more break.

How I can relate! And as I wrote in my e-mail response to these new friends, I still get knots in my stomach just thinking about it. This is what I shared with them about our experience:

We began our adoption process having been told it would take about 10 months start to finish, with one visit to Haiti. When it was all said and done it took two years from when we started the paperwork, 21 months from when we committed to our sons specifically (we had a referral of twins which fell through first.) I traveled to spend a week with the boys on three occasions and my husband traveled with me the first time. The second year was by far the hardest. I felt like I had a constant, literal weight on my shoulders and at one point I even went to an endocrinologist because my hair began falling out in chunks. Initially we thought it was a physical problem but bloodwork came back normal and I am now convinced it was due to how bad the stress had become.

I wish I could say I learned to completely trust God to the point of peace, but it is more honest to say that I wrestled with God for a long time over my boys. At the same time, there were occasions when I felt Him speak to my heart so intimately through His Word. I remember reading the book of Joshua during this time and what struck me time and time again was how GOD fought for His people. That was exactly what I needed to hear because I felt like we were in the midst of such a battle of corruption and mismanagement and utter helplessness with the boys' paperwork, yet God is equally powerful today.

Another time I specifically remember being encouraged was during our first visit to meet the boys. One morning I read in Isaiah 43:5 "Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west." I did not remember ever hearing that Scripture before, and it was such a blessing to me at that emotional time!

It was also really helpful for me during the wait to connect with others who were adopting from the same country. Granted, sometimes it hurt to see others bring home their kids while we were still waiting. But then we would learn of families whose situations were even more difficult than ours as well. I read a lot of blogs and kept in touch via FB with other adoptive families. The best blessing of all was when families would visit their children and take pictures of ours, too. When I traveled to our orphanage, I always took a list of children whose parents wanted photographs and would e-mail them when I returned. It helped to feel like we were watching them grow up, even if from a distance.
So tonight I am remembering the waiting. I'm remembering how much it hurt, how it took my breath away on most days. And I'm thinking of those who are still in that painful stage - like my sister Terri who is waiting for my niece Sophia from Taiwan, and these our new friends waiting for their son from Ethiopia. I'm praying for them and asking God to move mountains in a mighty way.

Because one thing we learned through the waiting: He alone is able.


Rumo Mom said...

AMEN! Well written! Still hurts to go back there in my mind. Your friends are blessed to have you be walking this walk with them. Will join in prayer!

Terri Fisher said...

Thanks, Steph, for your encouraging words. Hopefully we are getting to the end of our waiting period, but it has been challenging. Yet, God has proven Himself faithful over and over again, and continues to do so. I'm so thankful that He is writing His story for our lives!