Click here to read our adoption story from the beginning.

Waiting to Wait

"What's going on with your adoption."  That's the question I get from friends and family now days.  And here's my answer.  "We are waiting to wait."

We mailed in our paperwork on May 25th to begin our home study, and next week will be 5 months that we've been home studying.  We finished all our interviews a month ago.  We are just waiting for the finalized draft to be completed by our social worker.  Waiting.

Once we have that final notarized copy, we can finish up our paperwork and send our dossier to Ethiopia in a few weeks.  Then we will finally have a DTE.

In international adoption a DTE is like having the handstamp you need to ride the rides at Wonderland. I'm in the park, but I'm sitting on the sidelines.  It stands for Dossier to Ethiopia, and it means we will be officially on the list.  Our paperwork will be in front of the people who match kids to families.  Then the "real" waiting can begin.

When we began the home study process, they gave a timeline of 3 to 6 months to complete a home study.  When you see a timeline with such a big gap, you always hope that you will be closer to the shorter amount of time, but the reality is that we are in that later group, the 6-monthers.  I'm one of the slackers.  Really I'm not.  I promise.  I've turned in everything as fast as humanly possible.  I've never postponed a meeting with our social worker.  It just turned out that way.

We happen to be the in a group of three families that are the guinea pigs to a brand new social worker.  She is completing one of her very first home studies on us.  So you can imagine, it's not going to be clockwork.  On the plus side, we saved money because she lives closer to us than the Dallas social workers that our agency has used in the past.  God is in control of time and money.  He must have known we need the cheeper, longer home study.

Sometimes the paperwork and waiting seem just silly.  What are we doing?  Is this actually leading to something?  Then God sends me reminders of the why.  A few months ago I blogged about a young couple who were adopting from Uganda, and they had made a video asking for $2.  It happened to be the same blog that I shared we had mailed off our paperwork to begin our homestudy on May 25th.  (God has timing.  Right?)  Well that sweet young couple is home with their beautiful little Ugandan boy Finnley.  I follow the new mother on Instagram, and if you enjoy smiles, you should follow her too.  Her Instagram name is anna_at_glitter.

This week Anna shared a blog post called Grief is a Heavy Weight.  Reading this all my why questions seem silly and my paperwork and waiting seem monumental.  Thank you Anna!

grief is a heavy weight.

there has been a heaviness on my heart the last few days,
some sort of unkempt sorrow winnowing through my bones
settling in with autumn and pulling me out of one season
only to force me into another.

maybe it is because the tenth and eleventh of each month 
bring the anniversary of time spent with finnley in his first orphanage home
and the twelfth makes a mark of receiving legal guardianship of our son,
and so when these days come, swift as foxes, pieces of me grow and other pieces die.

i rock finnley to sleep every night, and as eyes were closing in the dark,
mine were crying silent tears as i grieve again for moments lost.
i grieve for finnley, for the life he lived before us,
never knowing there had to be something more.

i grieve him as a newborn boy, no snuggling, no kissing, no so close cradling.
i grieve him for the nights alone and hungry
for the days that passed so quickly for me here with worlds and dreams,
so slowly for him there, with walls and floors and bars on cribs.

how could i have known i urge him to believe me
how could i have known you were there, waiting for us?
how could i have known that while we were trying to come to terms with having no vacation money
you were spending minutes that crawled on, sitting in a stroller, staring at nothing?

but i know the words are really not for him, but for me
too scared to ask for forgiveness
because the truth is deep as graves and bitter as frost on window panes cold.
of course i knew.

i settle finn in his bed with clean sheets, cover him in chevron blankets,
tip-toe out of his room and put my knees on the scratched wood flooring,
my forehead resting on the couch. how could i have known? i lie to God,
because i cannot trick myself or God or you or finn. of course i knew.

and i know it now, the same as then, that there are orphans waiting for something
deserving more than they could ever imagine,
but living like there's nothing more.
babies without mamas. children without families. boys without daddies to teach them to be men.

in every picture of finnley that we received before we met him,
he sits in a worn out stroller. we were told he would sit there for hours on end,
sometimes forgotten in the room 
while the toddlers hustled and bustled and caused trouble outside.

we took him out of that stroller, thread bare from use,
and it felt so right to leave it behind.
we pray for finnley in the night,
God, we plead, don't let him remember that ragged old thing.

i think about it now, though, and the fragile parts of me start to ache,
the weakest parts get weaker, break clean off,
and i fight for composure, because what i truly understand is this:
when we took our baby out, another one went in.

i muster what courage i have left,
and though i feel like i've been exhausted for all my life,
i let God know i'm still listening, still scared but still willing.
i'm only small here i tell him. wind blows and leaves come down in the dark.

the smallness of me is nothing to him,
great creator of the never-ending skies,
breather and healer and life giver
who cradles us all in the palm of his mighty majestic hand.