Almost weekly I get the same question. “How’s the adoption going?”
And over and over again, I give the same response. “We’re just waiting.”
The whole process feels like a bit of a mystery as we sit and wait—sometimes anxiously. And yet even through writing this, I realize it has helped me lean deeper into my faith and better understand the ways of God.
About a year ago I wrote about how this journey began (here). Since then we’ve finished the paperwork, although not without a few hiccups. We had problems processing some of our background info, and I talked to multiple people on the phone in a county that I hadn’t lived in for over a decade. After not a few tears and moments of desperation, I gave up and told God that if this was going to work it wasn’t going to be because of my efforts. I handed it over to him. Almost at that moment I discovered that the clearance letter we had waited for that was supposedly lost finally came in the mail.
After seemingly endless months of exasperation and drama and almost missing deadlines, we sent the final parts of our dossier in the mail. And then, all was silent.
In other words,
Hurry up, hurry up, hurry up!
People ask how long the wait is and truthfully we don’t know. The official average time it takes to receive a referral from the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice is 12-24 months after the submission of your dossier. Our dossier was received in Bulgaria in November 2015. This was after nearly a year of pushing paper around, making frustrating phone calls and taking many, many hours of coursework. Total wait time: 2-3 years, possibly more.
So maybe next year (2017). Or not.
I personally don’t mind the waiting much. It’s what we signed up for with full knowledge. We’re still raising money too, so having the extra time helps. I’m enjoying the stages our three kids are currently at: no babies and the constant demands that come with them. Life as we know it right now is comfortable.
Some days I still ask myself: Are we really ready? Do we actually want to do this?
I vaguely recall feeling that way when I was pregnant. And at that point…well we better be ready because there’s no turning back now…
We pray daily for our baby daughter/sister (who may not be a baby by the time we meet her). I ask that she is protected from emotional and physical harm in what is undoubtedly a painful and tumultuous time for her and her biological family. I don’t yet know the details: how and when we will be united with her and take her under our wings as our own.
Some days I’m scared. Scared that we won’t be able to meet unforeseen needs, that it will be too hard, that we won’t bond, that she will resent us or God or her birth family and be miserable.
And maybe a little fear of that kind isn’t bad. By the nature of things she will experience loss and will need to grieve. And we are not going to have all the answers for her.
These are just a few of the things that go through my head as I wait. I wonder.
International adoptions in the U.S. are at a 35-year low. A lot of people are shocked and saddened at that statistic but the decline is not for all bad reasons. The international community is cracking down on child trafficking (i.e. “selling babies” to rich Westerners), which makes it more difficult to adopt, and some countries are pushing for the deinstitutionalization of orphanages and more domestic foster care and adoption. These are positive developments.
But in the current climate it’s easy for me to doubt. Are we really doing the right thing? Should we be open to more severe special needs or a wider age range? Would domestic have been better? Is this really what God wants for us? For her? Should it even be a her?
Adoption—and international adoption in particular—isn’t a calling for everyone. I’m surprised sometimes when I tell people we’re adopting, and they react with guilt and go on to indicate that we must be somewhat saintly. Ummm no.
We’re not saints, we’re just following a dream. Maybe you share it, maybe you don’t.
I’ve got many more months of waiting which will be mostly filled with everyday life with the occasional wandering/wondering thoughts about our unknown future, this mysterious child, the unanswerable questions. When you ask, “How’s the adoption going?” —this is my answer.
More or less, it’s a mystery.
Waiting and mystery is the way of God. In the Bible, his people wait for his plans to be revealed, wait for his deliverance, wait for him to fulfill his promises, wait for salvation, wait for heaven. We are instructed to be patient and faithful as we wait for him to unveil myriad mysteries.
Lord, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God. —Psalm 38:15
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. —Psalm 40:1
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. —Psalm 130:5
And so, we all wait.
If you’ve adopted or want to adopt, I’d love to connect with you and talk about our experiences! Please leave a comment, connect on social media or email me.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™