Monday, October 7, 2013

Why We Wait

In church yesterday, I sat down with tears streaming down my face. I know this might be a regular occurrence for some people, but I'd rather become a dog-feces collector at the local park than cry in public. But there was this moment- just a few words in a song- that reminded me again of why we continue to wait. Why, in the face of loss, frustration and no change in our circumstances, we continue to hold onto hope that we will become a family of four.

There was a line in the song that spoke of God being the father to the fatherless. And many times I've sung that and not thought it through very far. Not thought about all the individual stories I've now heard about children out in the world who are legally or effectively parentless. Whose stories, even if they end in good, have started off hard. Have begun with loss and grief. A lot of people think adopting an infant will make it easier on that infant who never knew a different life but doctors now know that even those little ones know. They know they were taken from the arms of the woman who carried them for 9 months and placed with strangers. They need reassurance, to build trust, to learn to love. And no matter how amazing their adoptive families may turn out to be, the story of loss will still be there. It was never intended for them to lose so much so young. But it happens to way more children than we can even fathom.

So, why do we continue to wait? Not because we're amazing or particularly good at waiting. Not because this process is fun and enjoyable and we want to prolong this period of invasive questioning and interminable inaction. Some people have said to me "I could never do that." I always think first, "Well, goodness, neither can I." Who really can? God alone is really the father to the fatherless, really the only one who can fill any of us, can redeem any of our losses. By saying yes to adoption we are not saying we are amazing parents sent to heal a child. We aren't saying we have better coping skills or that we are the "right" family for a little kid to come into. We don't believe we have it more together than most of the families we meet. In fact, the whole home study process really shines a light into all the ways you don't have it together in ways you never realized. All we are saying is that there is a need that we can fill and a missing place at our dinner table. And while well-intentioned people who love us tell us whichever child comes into our life will be lucky to have us, privileged to be a part of our family, I know in my heart it will be the other way around. That this child, this one we've been waiting for, will cause us to be overwhelmed with gratitude. Just like our firstborn biological child, we'll struggle through those early feedings and sleep-deprivation and wonder (guiltily) what we were thinking. Just like him, we'll marvel at her first words and cheer when she takes her first steps. We'll agonize when she's sick, we'll teach her the abc's and soccer (which are equally as important, by the way), and we'll watch her while she's sleeping, careful not to wake her, wondering what dreams a little baby has. And we will look at each other all the time and say "Where did she come from? How did we get this gift?", just like we do with our son who came to us another way.

So, we hope and wait. Not to be someone's savior, not to change someone's life, but for the life that is going to radically change ours.


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