|Click here for the back story.|
Late May 2005 -- We decided to pursue adoption.
July 2005 -- All of our adoption paperwork was complete.
January 2006 -- Sam was born.
July 2007 -- Andy came home from Peru, South America with a prayer to care for orphans.
September 2007 -- We became licensed foster parents.
February 2008 -- We were called about a sibling group of four (!) all under the age of 5.
March 2008 -- The sibling group of four fell through, but there was a sibling group of two.
Ten days later -- Hannah and Stephanie moved home.
November 2012 -- We knew there was another child for our family.
December 12, 2012 -- We completed all paperwork and were licensed foster parents.
December 17, 2012 -- We were called about a seven year old boy.
January 2013 -- Jordan moved home.
Please don't make the mistake of looking at this timeline and thinking our adoptions were speedy and easy processes. There is nothing about the wait that is easy.
Nothing. (Although I can say the first wait was the hardest. Everything since then has been tolerable.)
What you don't see in the timeline is the five years prior to pursuing adoption that we were waiting for a baby. What you don't see in the timeline are the calls for potential matches, the emails back and forth, and the not-working-out. What you don't see in the timeline is the match that fell through and the way I closed up the nursery for weeks. What you don't see in the timeline is the fear of buying anything for a baby because it will only remind you of the baby you don't have. What you don't see in the timeline is the five months of doctor visits and ultrasounds that I attended with a nineteen year old pregnant woman, only to be called a few days before birth to hear her say she changed her mind. What you don't see on the timeline is the fight for paperwork to be completed in an efficient manner. What you don't see on the timeline are the hours on the phone as we advocated for a transition into our home.
What you don't see on the timeline is the roller coaster of emotions that come with waiting for an adoption. Please don't look at my timeline and make the comparison to a nine month pregnancy. You have the advantage of hindsight when looking at my timeline. There is an entire shelf in the bookstore of expected pregnancy timelines. The only similarity of adoption timelines is there is a period of an unknown wait.
When parents are living the wait there is no timeline. This makes the wait excruciating. You never know the emotion you will be facing. One moment you are strong and the next you doubt. One day you are compassionate and the next angry. You wake up secure in the timing and you cry yourself to sleep wondering if you will be waiting forever.
It was this process of learning to live in the wait that I learned faith is an active verb. Of all the women in history, Sarah waited the longest to become a mother. I'm sure the wait was excruciating for her too. But she believed God would keep his promise. This belief landed her in the Faith Hall of Fame.
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
(Hebrews 11:1, NLT)
In the wait of an adoption timeline, look for the assurances. They are abundant. They come in scripture and song and notes and smiles. Assurances come from friends and the radio and sometimes even from infants.
If you know someone in the midst of their adoption timeline, don't underestimate your importance. Hope isn't easy. Faith becomes an active verb through the support and encouragement of others.