In light of the great waiting game we have ahead of us, I am often reminded of this quote that I heard Beth Moore share a few years ago:
Timing is more important to God than time.
(Beth credited a pastor by the name of Adrian Rogers as the original author of the quote.)
Dustin and I waited a very long time to make the decision to adopt and I often wondered why the delay. We obviously felt God's calling to reach out in some way and really felt the stirring of adoption for our family, and yet doors were not opening in a way to allow us to step forward. We attended two different adoption seminars and still nothing, no clear "GO" signal. I was confused. Why would God put something on our hearts and not make the way seem clear. Did we go ahead with this life changing event just trusting God would work out the details? And yet as anxious as I was (Dustin was a little more hesitant at times.) to get started, we did not have that inside peacefulness that said to our hearts, "It is time."
So we waited.
A year went by.
We waited some more. We contacted friends and family who had been adopted or knew someone adopted.
We waited some more. I worried that if we did not move on this calling that God would see it as a lack of faith on our part. We asked a dear friend who has done great humanitarian work in the Kibera Slums of Kenya what he thought of adopting from Africa and was it the right thing to do? Was it o.k. to remove a child from everything that is familiar, albeit utter poverty, and relocate them to our home in a rural setting with little diversity? His response helped, "If God has put this on your hearts, I doubt He will let you sleep until you do it."
Another year went by.
We mulled it over in our hearts and minds for so long, that the topic was fairly common place around our house. We knew that we wanted to adopt an older child because they are less likely to be placed in comparison to infants and toddlers. We knew that we didn't want to wait too long because it was important for Madison and Sage to be close to their new brother or sister. We wanted them to have plenty of years growing up together rather than Madison or Sage heading off to college having only spent a short time really connecting with their newest sibling. I think a few factors came together at just the right time to give us a push forward, as if God said, "O.K. Now it is time." We believe God's timing was and is perfect.
So, now we wait some more. We have one final step to complete our dossier, then it will be authenticated at the state and federal levels. At that time we will officially be placed on the waiting list to receive a referral for the next member of our family. Will we adopt a son or daughter? Or both? How old will he or she be? What circumstances in their little life caused them to become an orphan? What heartaches will they carry with them to this new country? What joys will they experience in the newness of everything? What will the depth of their loss be when they leave everything that they have ever known to live with a family that they really don't know? How much will this new way of life affect Madison and Sage? Will any or all of them have a bad day and wish we hadn't done this? Will a son or daughter wish they could go back to Ethiopia? Will Madison or Sage wish they could go back to the way things were? How long will it take to really feel like family? How long will it take to recover from a 30+ hour plane ride with three (or four) kids?! I guess these answers will come only after waiting.
We have many people ask how long until the adoption is finished. We are guessing (and I do mean guessing!) that we will be placed on the wait list sometime around Christmas. Most families are on the waiting list for 3 to 5 months. Once we accept a referral for a son or daughter, then a person goes before the Ethiopian courts on our behalf in order for the courts to approve the adoption. This process can take another three months. Once our case is approved in the Ethiopian courts, then we will travel approximately three weeks later. Adoptive blog friends, did I get all of that right? (I might be wrong... wouldn't be the first!)
While we would love to travel next summer, we are trying very hard to keep an open mind so that we do not have unrealistic expectations.
So we wait. And we pray.
Thank you, God, for this time of waiting. Some days will be difficult, we know, but thank you for these last few months with Madison and Sage as a family of four. Help us make the most out of this time and place a peace in a little person's heart in Ethiopia tonight. Help him or her to know that they will be a part of a family again. We trust you, knowing that you are working your perfect timing into this situation. We pray that it is you who is glorified and praised in the midst of our planning and preparation. Please don't let us ever forget that we, too, are orphans given a place in your family because of Jesus' amazing act of love and grace on a nasty, ugly cross. Amen.