Last year when we came home from our bonding trip with our son in Haiti, I fell into a strange, funky, unfamiliar place. One I could have never anticipated, because the magnitude of what we had just experienced is not one that we could’ve prepared for.
I fully gave my heart to my son. I (we!) bathed him, changed his diapers, fed him, played with him, laughed with him, held him for four hours straight one day as he burned with a fever, kissed him a million times on his soft forehead and smooth cheeks.
I soaked in every little thing about him. His wee fingers got me every time. They were so small, so fragile, so perfect and beautiful.
The day came when I knew I would have to hand him back, walk away, and face the year of uncertainty of when I’d be able to bring him home.
Acute, gut-sickening pain enveloped as I walked away, after about a hundred false goodbyes, because I couldn’t physically force myself to walk the opposite direction of my son.
That goodbye broke something in me. It changed me. And I felt the full force of it as we returned home and normal life simply…resumed. Everything had changed, and yet nothing had changed. I couldn’t get out of the fog. I couldn’t find how to live with one foot in each of my worlds.
God taught me much here, as God often does. Reliance, aid, breath, stillness, and eventually, He helped me find a balance of living this life in front of me while simultaneously longing for the day that I held in my arms again and goodbyes would be no more.
Today we find ourselves in the very last stages of the adoption and today I feel disappointed by God. I know the real truth to that…but I feel it nonetheless.
Last year, we left a few weeks shy of our son’s third birthday. We sent money so they could buy a cake and balloons and have a party at the orphanage. I wept as pictures came in of him eating cake by the fistful. I wasn’t there and it felt all wrong.
I was NOT going to miss another birthday.
So I began to pray. I have prayed all year long that I would NOT miss another birthday. I’ve missed every single birthday since he’s been born, I couldn’t bear to miss another. I prayed hard that we would not miss one. more. birthday.
This felt so very possible 4 months ago as we neared the end of some big steps. And I rejoiced as I knew God would answer this prayer.
Somehow…who knows how. Our paperwork sat in some kind of floating world of nothingness in between two major steps. Weeks were lost. Weeks I will never get back. And, because of those weeks, I find that we are a week away from my son’s fourth birthday. I find myself arranging the money to get to the orphanage so that he can have a cake and balloons. And I will find myself, once again, looking at pictures of him stuffing a fistful of cake into his mouth. And I won’t be there to wipe away the frosting on his mouth or take him to the bathroom to “lave main!” (wash hands!)
And I’m just plain ole’ disappointed. It was possible, so very possible. I prayed and prayed and prayed for this…and God didn’t make it happen. I don’t understand and I feel like asking God what’s up.
I complained/cried/wallowed to my fellow adoptive mama’s about all of it. They get it. We’ve journeyed this same road together for the last 3 years, and they nod their heads understandingly because they’ve been there too.
They both echoed the same sentiment, “…but he will come home. And when he does, you’ll have a hard time remembering what life looked like before him. And this part will just be the memory of pain….faded and unpleasant, but just a memory.”
And, right on cue, this morning God gave me this passage: Job 11:16-18, “You will forget your misery; you will remember it as waters that have passed away. And your life will be brighter than the noonday; its darkness will be like the morning. And you will feel secure because there is hope; you will look around and take rest in security.”
Brighter. Hope. Rest. Secure.
I told God I was sad and disappointed. I knew He could answer this prayer and yet He didn’t and I won’t ever pretend to understand why. But today He turned my chin upward and whispered, “Brighter. Hope. Rest. Secure.” It doesn’t answer all my questions (if any), but it resets my focus. And, I continue in these last days of angst and waiting and limbo in hope, knowing my son’s hand will soon be in mine. Our future together will be as bright as the noonday. My soul will find rest and a new rhythm when we are finally all together. And, these days of tears because of his absence, will be as waters that have passed away. Because God doesn’t satisfy us by giving us the answers to the “why’s,” He satisfies us by turning our chins upward and filling our longing souls with hope.