3000 Days Spent Waiting


They say the "story" is in THE WAITING... the great epiphany's, the lessons learned, the turning points.... they all seem to happen once we've played our fair share of the waiting game.

I don't know about all of you... but when I think about seasons of waiting it almost makes my stomach hurt... for me the season is dark, lonely, and ridden with anxiety... it's like an endless wilderness...deep valleys... crevices filled with the unknown... and me fighting the universe... screaming WHY... bitter that my plan isn't what's unfolding.

It's as though I am reaching for something I can never touch.

I also think the ugliest version of ourselves comes out when we are forced to sit in THE WAITING. We ugly cry, we rant and rave, we look at the world and everything around us in a negative light, we play the victim and we play it well. We also play the blame game. We look for excuses and we pitch fits.... we fight those closest to us and we run from truth. We don't wanna hear it, after all it reminds us WE are not in control... there is a force greater than us that determines our steps... we do not control how the world spins... and that is a FACT we don't like to admit when our world is spinning backwards.

I know for me and many others... adoption is a season of waiting that can cause mentally and emotionally well-balanced people... to... well... LOSE THEIR FREAKING MINDS.

I can say that because I have been the crazy-lunatic adoptive parent who thinks the world should revolve around my adoption process... I was the parent who sold everything she owned... and had the bright idea to try and adopt from a closed country... I was the insane woman who refused to be told no...was threatened with arrest, forced into police stations for questioning, and told my children would never come home. Yep that's me. That's who I was. I've had AK47's pressed into my chest, and soldiers forcing me out of the courthouse. I've been the victim of fraudulent processes, had an agency steal thousands of dollars from me, and seen the dark dark underbelly of the fight to protect the orphan. It's been rough.... but all of that...stories for another time.

I was also the mother who sat in The Waiting for over 3000 days. You heard me.... over 3000 days. 3000 days of praying, losing hope, fighting for change, begging for mercy, pleading with a God I'd lost faith in, and angry at all the people in my life telling me it clearly wasn't "God's Will" or my children would be home.

I sat broken, sitting in empty bedrooms, hanging new clothes in the closet only to pack them up and sell them in garage sales because my children had outgrown them during The Waiting. I designed a baby nursery that sat empty for years... and then was carefully packed into the attic.. unused...after the daughter I waited for was buried on the side of an African highway. I can remember the day I passed her clothes on to my sister who had a baby girl... same age... I sobbed as I wrestled with the truth... my season of waiting had come to an end... and my child was gone. Yet her child... was healthy... alive and well... my heart was a wreck.

I was the parent who couldn't wait for her weekly skype sessions...sitting there staring at a blurry screen... with a deep cry in my throat... smiling through the pain as my children begged me to come and take them home... asking me "How much longer"... and I could never give them a solid answer... because the fact was.... I din't know if they ever would come home... I hoped... I held on to a promise.. but there was a part of me that thought it might never happen. You see when I was adopting... there were no agencies handling my process... there was NO process... we were walking blind in the early years... and we were so freakin scared. So every time my kids would ask...I would change the subject... and ask them to sing me a song... we would read stories and they would press their tiny fingers up to the screen... and we would pretend our hands were touching... the screen and air kisses would have to do.... and on most days... I wasn't thankful for that... I was resentful and angry that I couldn't hold them in my arms. I hate that. I hate that I spent so much time resenting moments... those moments were EVERYTHING that mattered then... but I was bitter... and couldn't see the beauty... I'm ashamed of that.

I also spent hundreds of days away from my kids here at home. I spent hundreds of days away from my husband...days and seasons lost... birthdays I never got to celebrate... anniversary's that passed us by like any other day... We did NOT have a normal family life during our season of Waiting... we spent much of it apart and it changed us. It also cost us... a price I still have not been able to measure... because we are still bleeding out... years later.

Okay now that you get an idea of what my season of waiting looked like... and knowing I barely scratched the surface with you... you are probably asking me why I am mentioning all of this now...

It's simple.

We cannot escape it. Over 3000 days in the valley taught me that my life is not my own... my story is not my own... my adoptions... they were not my own. There is a purpose behind every day spent in a fetal position... I know you don't want to hear that... but it is TRUTH. There is growth required in order to successfully parent broken children....There is a stretching and a fire we must go through... a shedding of skin...an understanding we must come to... a reckoning of sorts... trust me... we do not walk into adoption prepared... we are BUILT for it.... during The Waiting....

Why?

I HAVE NO FREAKIN CLUE.

But it is what it is. We have to accept it. There is no choice.

So to my dear beautiful adoptive mama....the one who can't get out of bed today... because it's been 300 days....You will come through this. I don't know what your story holds... but I know you will tell it well...someday... but right now... just LIVE IT... feel it... absorb it... memorize the steps... so one day you can remember... and celebrate the fact that you stayed the course... you didn't quit... and beauty was born from ash.

To the beautiful mama.... the one who has been waiting 800 days.... and there is no end in sight. To the mother who has been told it's over... your visa has been denied... find a professional... get legal counsel... there are laws that protect you... and your child... FIGHT. You heard me.... I said FIGHT. It will be the hardest fight of your life... and NO ONE will ever understand why... but please... ENDURE... your child needs you... DO NOT REST until they are tucked into bed... under your roof.

To the beautiful mama... whose child didn't make it out...whether they never left your womb... or they never left the orphanage.... to the mother whose season of waiting has come to a cold, abrupt halt...I see you. Your pain is real. The empty space will stay. I will say nothing cliche here... time will not fix it... another child will not change it... your world doesn't just go on... your world will never spin quite the same...BUT you WILL survive this. You will survive and your loss will make you kinder... you will know the power of comfort.. and you will understand the need for present friends. You will be a better person, a better mother, and a more compassionate soul.... after this...

That's the thing about waiting.... there is always an "after".

Lovelies... I don't know what your "after" looks like... but I do know this... you'll never know if you don't endure The Waiting...

So settle.... settle deep into your seat and hold on tight.... keep a firm grip on your head and your heart.... otherwise you will lose it... and that is NOT pretty....

You may wanna be angry today...that's okay....

BE ANGRY.

Last.... I know you DON'T want to hear this... but you NEED to hear it... Once you are done.... get up out of your fetal position... and get on your knees...

I dare you to also practice thankfulness... start filling a jar with all the things you are learning...about yourself... about God...and about The Waiting...

Appreciate those who have come alongside you and fought for your babies... know they are doing everything in their power to give your child the future they deserve...

Appreciate the agency double checking paperwork and handling your process....I know they don't reply to you in a timely manner and they may have screwed up your paperwork a time or two... but their hearts are in this... there will always be room for human error... so give grace. At some point you will need the same.

Thank God every day for the caregiver who tucks your little one into their crib and sings them bedtime songs when you can't be there.... there are children ALL OVER THE WORLD.... who don't have that.

Appreciate the families who went before you and paved the way.... international adoption is a "thing" because someone out there suffered though the fire to create a path for YOU....without them... you would not have the chance to bring your children home...

PRAY over these people... PRAY and send positive vibes... do you realize how many hoops must be carefully and methodically jumped through? I have a strong suspicion... you don't... because someone out there... is handling every blow... and being the buffer... if you knew... trust me... you would lose your mind.

So having said that....

pray for the social worker writing your homestudy....

pray over your attorney's and the judges...

pray over the state department... the officers handling your case...

pray for the field investigators...

pray for the mail man who is delivering your precious documents...

pray for the courier riding the bike to the office that needs your dossier... pray no one steals that backpack between point A and Point B....

pray for the in-country staff putting their reputations and families at risk every day when they work adoptions in countries that still believe adoption is trafficking...

pray for the birth relatives. THIS IS A BIG ONE.

Understand that your process is a MIRACLE... and also a legal binding process that is VERY HARD WORK.

Rather than praying for speed.... pray for success. That has been my greatest lesson learned.... after more than 3000 days waiting for my own children... and thousands more working for the families that have come through since....

SUCCESS.... You wanna get off that plane someday in celebration...

I promise you this... you can make it easier... instead of counting UP the days it takes to bring them home... start counting down instead... THIS is FAITH.

Will you embrace your season of Waiting in FAITH... or will you wrestle it in FEAR?

Last... I LOVE YOU.

YOU WILL make it.

But, my dear beautiful mama... It's time to pull up your bootstraps...be strong.....and...

WAIT.

YOU can do this. Know the other mamas who have walked before you..... are ALL ROOTING for YOU.

WE ARE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU

XOXO