So Much More Than Worth It

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1.27

This is why we adopted. How can you get more clear than that? God says religion, this whole Christian thing, is about taking care of the helpless.

When my husband and I decided we were ready to have children and wanted to do that through adoption, we researched all of our options. We wanted an infant for our first child and felt that the greatest need was in international or foster care adoption. After researching foster care infant adoption, we decided we wanted to go international this time around. Social workers we talked with told us that we could foster an infant for up to 2 years before he/she is up for adoption or placed back with the birth family. For our first child, we didn’t want to wait 2 more years and then start the process all over again. We wanted a child now though we still hope to foster, Lord willing, for our next child.

We began the process of adopting our son from Ethiopia. The entire process took 18 months and brought us to our then 8-month-old baby boy in February 2010. For me, and I think for my husband, the hardest part of the wait was the Christmas before we met him. As we near the holidays, I am reminded how difficult they were for me then.

Christmas 2009, we had received our referral, we knew who our son was, we became his legal guardians on December 16, but we still had to wait. We had to wait for our travel date in February, for paperwork to be pushed, for legalities that didn’t seem important enough to keep our son in an orphanage halfway around the world for another minute.

Christmas night. My husband and I were driving home from my in-laws after a long day of splitting time between our families. I broke down. And cried. And cried.

The hardest part was at my in-laws house as we sat around watching our nieces and nephews open their gifts. Once kids come into your family, holidays become mostly about them, as you know. Both of my husband’s siblings had kids already and each had a child the same age as our son, the son we had but didn’t have. So, my husband and I sat on the couch and watched these babies open gifts, play, get excited, be loved. We watched their parents delight in their smiles and laughs. And, our hearts broke. All we could think about was that big-eyed boy in the photos and the fact that he didn’t have us yet.

Perhaps there is a reader who is there right now? As we go through this holiday season, my heart goes out to you. Knowing that it probably won’t ease your pain or your longing, I still want to tell you that you’ll get there. You’ll hold that child in your arms, and you’ll belong to each other in every sense. The wait will end, the process will be complete, you’ll arrive home with that bundle of life, and you’ll know that every second, every piece of paperwork, every phone call, every prayer, every tear was so much more than worth it.

Because this moment cannot be explained. This moment is enough to fill a thousand Christmases with joy.


Laurel Feierbach

Laurel has been married to her husband Chris for 3 years. They adopted their first child almost a year ago from Ethiopia and plan to begin the process of adopting through foster care in the next couple of months. Chris is a pastor, and Laurel is a stay-at-home mom. You can follow their story at God Found Us You.

5 Responses to So Much More Than Worth It

  • This was a timely post for me. Thank you. We have been waiting domestically for 14 months and are praying about foster care/international adoption at this point as the wait is soooooooooo hard. Thank you.

  • Robin says:

    Thank you for this post. We are where you describe. Our two children are on the other side of the world in an orphanage, and although we have passed court, we are waiting to be able to go get them. Even our adoption agency has encouraged us that we shouldn’t be sad, because they are being well cared for and have all their needs met, and that we should continue our usual Christmas plans. We just can’t pretend that everything is great.

    Your words validate my feelings of sadness and frustration. Thank you. Sometimes we all just need to be understood.

  • shannon says:

    Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Cat says:

    Thanks for writing this! We met our son last month and are waiting…waiting…waiting…for a court date. Every time my husband and I turn around the words, “Next Christmas…” seem to pop out of our mouths. I know he is in good hands right now…but those hands still aren’t his Mama’s…

  • Theresa says:

    Your story brought tears to my eyes…tears of watching with empty arms while around you is laughter and joy and your heart is breaking and tears of happiness seeing your picture of you holding your son. As you said so beautifully “Because this moment cannot be explained. This moment is enough to fill a thousand Christmases with joy.” and heal all the hurt and waiting that came before…thank-you for sharing!

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